If you watch Prince Avalanche looking for realism, you are going to be very confused. The movie, David Gordon Green’s reimagining of an Icelandic film Either Way (Á annan veg), follows Alvin (a mustachioed Paul Rudd) and Lance (Emile Hirsch) as they put the finishing touches on road repairs in a Texas forest that has been destroyed by a wild-fire.
There are essentially three things in this movie: Alvin, Lance, and beautiful images. I knew from All the Real Girls that Green liked to interspersed his narratives with still shots of the Texas countryside, but I didn’t know how beautiful a director can make yellow road paint look. In Avalanche these silent shots, both of nature and of the monotonous tasks of line painting and post hammering, emphasize the sense of isolation for these characters. They are alone out there, and I personally would go crazy.
Which means I have more in common with Emile Hirsch’s hornball of a character than I would like to admit. I have a longstanding, completely irrational distaste for Hirsch, that stems from a slight he supposedly made against the honor of Emma girls when he was there filming The Emperor’s Club (which was before my time, but whatever.) Based on this sketchy adolescent grudge, I’ve always thought of him as sort of skeezy, and this role allows him to exploit that. So I enjoyed his presence here more than I thought I would.
But this movie belongs to Paul Rudd for me. As it was always going to. His character is OCD and annoying and clearly losing it, but still oddly attached to Lance, almost in a paternal way. The relationship tenuously holding these two characters together, isn’t their own, but Alvin’s love for Lance’s (unseen) sister Madison, which seems to be mostly a love for a photograph. Alvin’s devotion to this idea of love, yet refusal to even go visit her on the weekends, could have been completely creepy and unrealistic, but Rudd made it somehow believable. So clearly, I had to choose him as the next link. And because I’m having a major Wendy Wasserstein fangirl moment, I’m deciding to return to The Object of My Affection, which I used to watch pieces of on TV all the time and haven’t seen in years. I’m excited.
In this chain: Breathe In – Gone Baby Gone – The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford – All the Real Girls – Prince Avalanche