Website: Official Humble Pie site
Starring: Hubbel Palmer, William Baldwin, Kathleen Quinlan, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Vincent Caso, Bruce McGill
My Review: Humble Pie is the story of Tracy Orbison, a severely overweight guy who can’t seem to catch a break. He has a lame job as a clerk at the local supermarket, he still lives at home with his overcritical mother, he admittedly has no real friends, trying to pass his driver’s test is a never-ending quest, and he yearns to be a poet in a middle-of-nowhere town who has little need for poetry since it will never pay the bills.
His moment of revelation occurs when attending a local theater production starring Truman Hope—a “real” actor whose biggest credit is a three-episode stint on J.A.G.—who also teaches an acting class for the local wannabes. With his trusty notebook of poetry tucked in his pocket,
Pulling double duty in Humble Pie is Hubbel Palmer, who both wrote the screenplay and stars as
As local thespian Truman Hope, William Baldwin is an inspired casting choice as he manages to unironically portray an actor who is deluded enough to not see that he’s going nowhere. We don’t know if he’s a has-been or a never-was, but that certainly doesn’t bother him. His small classroom of local acting students hang on his every word, and when Tracy approaches him with awe and admiration, you can practically see his ego grow three more sizes. All he’s ever wanted in life is the ability to wow people by just being there, and if remaining the big fish in this incredibly small pond is the only way to do that, so be it.
Where Humble Pie falters is in its lack of direction during the third act. It sets everything up nicely with
Bottom Line: As a first foray into screenwriting, Palmer does a commendable job. His main strength obviously lies in developing characters, as the performances are what stuck with me most after watching the movie. The structure of the story tends to falter in places, and it seems to have trouble deciding what genre it wants to fall into—it’s not uproarious enough to be a comedy, not serious enough to be a drama, and not bizarre enough to fall into the beloved “quirky indie romp” category. But the characters are well-drawn and well-cast, and their situations solidly established, which is more than can be said for a lot of big-budget