IHAO on ... Prince Avalanche - READER REQUEST

Requested by Jason Schmidt

Prince Avalanche.  The title to a film that doesn't really have anything to do with anything that title could even begin to suggest.  Another indy drama.  Another film that is not generally my cup of tea.  I love reader requests!  I really do!  This is the kind of thing that I enjoy having to slog through, because I legitimately like finding more films and seeing what I like or hate.  And this ... I mostly like.

Prince Avalanche tells the story of a blue collar fella, Paul Rudd, and his girlfriend's brother, Emile Hirsch, who are working on cleaning and repainting the roads after a huge fire in 1987.  The two have a relationship that grows as we watch the course of these 8 days or so, and they get to know each other, go through difficult things, and all that.  The film is beautiful shot, and uses its landscape to help really push the overarching theme: things growing from the ashes.  Not just plants and animals and life continuing, but also society, family, and personal growth through difficulty.

This is a film that touches on a lot of topics, like solitude v. lonliness, pregnancy, loss, break-ups, cheating, anger, friendship, it touches on a lot of those ... just briefly.  It does a lot of things a very small amount.  It is very theatrical like that.  In fact, other than the very nice landscape cinematography, I wish this was a play.  It would be a much stronger presentation if it was.  There is nothing about this film that actually truly succeeds with it being a film.  We have two guys talking ... that's it.  We watch these characters grow and lie and come clean and be friends and get in fights and learn who each other are, with only two other characters that show up.  One of them is absolutely crazy and is the worst thing about the movie.  The other is pretty sweet and poignant, until she gets rolled up into the crazy terrible character.

I hate to say that the film doesn't need to exist.  I just wish it existed as a stage show.  It would be so much stronger, it would have so much more resonance that way.  Rudd and Hirsch both do very well, and help elevate a very basic script and very basic characters to something much more interesting.  But in the end, while I basically liked it, all I can do is ponder on its purpose, and wish a better medium for this style of storytelling was used.

No joke here.  Just a Paul Rudd gif for Paul Rudd's sake.

I can't really suggest it, as it is a mostly boring sit with occasional good acting beats thrown in.  But if you love Rudd or Hirsch, or are just really into this style of film, there are way worse out there, and I can suggest this one to you.

Grade: B

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