American Fork (2007) Poster


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Help yourself to a heap of Humble Pie.
Jon Ted Wynne (wynne-1)1 November 2009
Awhile back I received in the mail a box, much larger than that which would normally contain a DVD. Yet that is precisely what it was: a DVD—and a very imaginative press kit. There was a tin plate, a plastic fork, and all sorts of candies shaped like hotdogs, hamburgers, etc. It made me smile and think "how creative".

Well that is precisely the reaction I had to watching this sweet, tender film. Eschewing the scatology that passes as wit in Hollywood these days, HUMBLE PIE displays tremendous wit, compassion and understanding about people. It also establishes the enormous presence of hugely-talented young writer/star Hubbel Palmer, who stars as Tracy Orbison, a gentle grocery clerk who dreams of achieving a higher purpose in life.

Multiple failed driver's tests serve as a metaphor for the challenges Tracy faces in his life. He has a strange home life with his eccentric mother and mousy sister (her hobby is collecting stuffed animals—sort of a Laura character from THE GLASS MENAGERIE, except her frailty is emotional, not physical). His well-meaning boss at the grocery store (the always reliable Bruce McGill) is helpful, but only up to a point. Tracy's friends sometimes let him down. His best efforts sometimes blow up in his face. Through it all, however, Tracy maintains a sunny disposition and a determination that is positively inspiring.

Thus the film follows Tracy's adventures as he struggles to achieve his goals. His foray into drama is made positively hilarious by the inspired casting of William Baldwin as his egotistical acting teacher. I'm not a Billy Baldwin fan by any stretch of the imagination, so it was positively delightful to be won over by his spot on performance as an actor whose ego far exceeds his talent. Baldwin has the best line of the film after watching Tracy play a bit part on television.

If the film has a weakness, in my opinion, it is that the story didn't quite resolve as fully as I would've liked. When Tracy shares his poetry with a colleague from the grocery store, her reaction is not what I thought (and hoped) it would be. Of course, maybe that's the whole point: life is like that, but Tracy is so gol-darned lovable that I wanted a better payoff for him.

Another reason to see this film is to enjoy Kathleen Quinlan's outstanding performance as Tracy's mother. Quinlan was pretty high profile in the seventies before fading into semi-obscurity. Like so many actresses, it seems she was brushed aside when she became a certain age. This dismissive attitude towards women in particular and talent in general, is one of Hollywood's biggest ongoing sins. Quinlan is terrific. True, she was nominated for an Oscar for her work in APOLLO 13 in 1994, but this lady should be much better known than she is.

HUMBLE PIE has its heart in the right place. You will love these characters. Hubbel Palmer is the quintessential underdog. You'll be rooting for him from the first scene.
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Funny, original story with some great scenes
Jeff Beachnau11 June 2007
I saw this at the Waterfront Film Festival in Saugatuck, Michigan.

Tracy Orbinson (Hubbel Palmer) is an overweight grocery store worker who has dreams of becoming an actor. He takes acting classes and is greatly impressed by his acting teacher Truman Hope (William Baldwin). Along the way he befriends a group of teenagers and tries to reform them from their rowdy ways. The film is filled with a lot of entertaining scenes and funny moments, it's a good and fun movie.

I loved the first half of the movie, it was very funny ad great to watch. But I felt it lost some of its wit and comedy when the teenagers and Hubbel concocted a plan regarding the grocery store, and the film never really recovered after it. It still had some charm in the second half, but it started to become a comedy/drama, and I would have preferred the film to be a consistent comedy.

Directed by Chris Bowman and written and starring Hubble Palmer, it's a worthy effort. The first half is great, and the ending also has the same flare as the beginning of the film. Chris Bowman, Hubbel Palmer, actress Mary Lynn Rajskub, and producer Jeremy Coon were at the film festival and had some funny stories to tell about the making of the film. They were a nice group of people and obviously had a great time making the film.
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subdued dark comedy
Roland E. Zwick19 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Chris Bowman's "Humble Pie" has many of the hallmarks of the standard indie comedy: a misfit protagonist, quirky subsidiary characters, a small town setting, and a flat, ironic tone.

Hubbel Palmer, who wrote the screenplay, stars as Tracy Orbison, an overweight nerd who compensates for his loneliness and sadness by stuffing his face pretty much nonstop throughout the course of the day. His life, however, begins to look up when he enrolls in an acting class taught by an unctuous, second-rate actor, played winningly by Stephen Baldwin (whose acting is very much in the style of his brother, Alex's). He also befriends a group of local youths who pretend to welcome him into their gang. However, dark clouds are never far from Tracy's horizon, and soon he's been betrayed by the teacher and lured into a life of crime by his new-found compatriots.

"Humble Pie" wanders into some surprisingly unsettling and discomfiting areas for a comedy, even a dark one. It's not everyday, for instance, that your main character is accused – even if unjustly – of child molestation. Still, I like the chances the movie takes with its characters and its world, and Hubbell engages our sympathy and empathy throughout. The movie also features "24'"s Mary Lynn Rajskub as Tracy's levelheaded but almost equally socially awkward sister.

It's more tone-piece than out-and-out uproarious comedy, but "Humble Pie" leaves us satiated in the end.
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Comedy Drama called Humble Pie Not American Fork
paul david1 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
this is a delightful comedy drama in the mould of 'Juno' and you must see it to see the sensitive acting performance of the guy playing Tracey Orbison, actually a male grocery clerk who has higher aspirations away from the store. I agree with the earlier comment that the story could have welded Tracey better with his female counterpart at the Store, didn't start to happen until the end. Lots of weakness about the film and i think the so called friends who set Tracey up for the supermarket robbery are a bit paper-thin but overall the story worked, even the quirky bit with Traceys sister dating Traceys acting teacher and breaking his heart on a couple of occasions. don't expect a blockbuster, this is a simple entertaining funny (often sad) film which will not leave you disappointed. Hoping for a sequel of HUMBLE PIE 2 (not American FORK) please because Tracey really does have some 'acting' potential for a Captive audience.
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A decent approach
blumdeluxe29 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
"American Fork" tells the story of a young, overweight man, who is lacking a social life and seems to be on a good track finally after joining an acting class and meeting some teenagers which he befriends. But as time goes by, people start to use him for their own purposes and finally he has to decide to take a stand or continue a life as an outcast.

The movie looks professionally and even though it probably didn't have the highest budget, it doesn't look cheap. Furthermore, it comes with a lot of creativity and interesting ideas and plot choices, which keeps you entertained and makes it an easy film to watch while still avoiding banality. Unfortunately, the characters appear a bit over the top and behave a bit too much like scripted people. Otherwise there's really not much to criticise, even though some of the plot twists are a bit worn out.

All in all this is a good independent approach, that is fun to watch and professionally produced. Not a huge message behind it but sure worth a watch.
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