Ham on Rye
2019, 85 minutes, Digital
Presented by: Tyler Taormina
Director: Tyler Taormina
Cast: Haley Bodell, Cole Devine, Audrey Boos, Gabriella Herrera, Gregory Falatek, and Timothy Taylor
Tyler Taormina is an independent filmmaker and producer based in Los Angeles. He began his career shooting web pilots and developing children’s television shows with the Tom Lynch Company. He transitioned into filmmaking with several music videos for LA-based noise-rock bands Snowball ii, Edison Moth, Cloud and more. Tyler has since begun carving out his own path in cinema, experimenting with the capabilities of a large ensemble cast when approached with philosophical and spiritual curiosity.
Imagine, for a moment, if prom really was the most important night of a person’s life, that the night determined the full expanse, or confines, of your future. This is the central premise of Ham on Rye, a vivid and surreal dry comedy, where a bizarre gathering at a local deli serves as a pivotal initiation into adulthood for the youth of a seemingly normal suburb. Replete with poop talk, Slim Jims, dueling cliques, and cameos from Nickelodeon stars of yesteryear, Tyler Taormina’s debut feature is a patient, mass‑ensemble epoch that skillfully conjures the jittery excitement of youth’s golden hour, before descending into the mysterious nightfall of adulthood.
Featuring over 100 cast members, Ham on Rye tracks a broad multitude of characters, but listless Haley is our primary point of access. While everyone around her is focused on getting to Monty’s Delicatessen, Haley is feeling a bit skeptical about the importance of the night ahead. After a comically long stroll to the restaurant, the gaggle of teens begin performing peculiar, synchronized rituals. Then, when Haley dips out, she misses a euphoric rite of passage ceremony and is cast instead into a darker vision of the future.
Expertly choreographed, Ham on Rye is a hypnotizing collection of precisely measured scenes. The outcome is a cross between Slacker, Twin Peaks, and Pete & Pete, but one where fans of Vive L’Amour may feel at home as well. Everyone’s invited, so don’t suffer the fate of missing out. (Mitchell Goodrich)
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