Watching two movies a day can be a chore. So to liven things up during Movie Week, I try to come up with thematic double features. Yesterday it was “New York stories.” Today, it’s “two man acts.”
I knew nothing about Prince Avalanche, other than it starred Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch. I’ve only seen a few films that Hirsch has been in, but Rudd can be tough to peg. He can be a in an indie comedy like Wet Hot American Summer or in Neil LaBute’s The Shape of Things. You never know what to expect from him.
Prince Avalanche was an experience.
Prince Avalanche is about Alvin and Lance, who are spending the summer of 1988 working on the highway in Texas. They paint the traffic lines and post highway markers. Alvin enjoys his time away from the city, while Lance is counting the hours until he can return. And in addition to working together they share another connection; Alvin is dating Lance’s sister.
The film is an exploration of two characters, forced to be together and isolated from everyone else. It’s also a snapshot at a simpler time, before personal technology was omnipresent and kept everyone connected.
It’s nice to see Rudd stretch his dramatic muscles as he does here as Alvin. He’s not over-the-top but he does fully inhabit the character. Hirsch does an equally good job, though he has the benefit of period specific accoutrements, including an awesome haircut, a radical watch and some bitchin’ shades.
Some sequences, specifically the scenes involving the remains of a burned house, felt as though they were trying a bit too hard, but overall the film has a pretty consistent feel to it. It feels like we’re following these characters and charting their journey. As such, when they finally cut loose it’s cathartic.
Prince Avalanche is not for everyone. In fact, it’s probably not for you. It was barely for me. People who think that they’re Paul Rudd fans will probably hate it. But people who know they like Paul Rudd movies will appreciate it.
I don’t even know if anyone would consider themselves Emile Hirsch fans, but if they do, they should give it a shot.