There comes a time in every man’s life when the thought of solitude sounds like a very noble idea, at least in their own mind. Men aren’t exactly always good at decisions, either. Being alone sounds better than dealing with day-to-day drama, but is it really the best solution? Prince Avalanche is about two men, Alvin (Paul Rudd) and Lance (Emile Hirsch), that have left everything behind to live in the woods and paint lines on highways after a devastating wildfire fire has destroyed the forest. Really, that’s all there is too this film. Two dudes living the absolute dream, sort of.
Here are a five reasons why you need to check out Prince Avalanche, which is based on the 2009 Icelandic film Either Way.
5. Don’t Be Fooled by The Pineapple Express
This film is being marketed as (*monster truck rally voice*) “From the director of Pineapple Express.” This is technically true. The director is named David Gordon Green, and he did in fact direct The Pineapple Express. However, he also directed films like All the Real Girls and Snow Angels. It’s a slow film, about two guys in the woods, with some comedy beats. Think of Prince Avalanche as being a lot closer to his earlier work, with a bit of the humor sprinkled in. Danny McBride is even an executive producer, but this my friends, is not an Apatow movie.
4. Little Too Much Artsy, at Times
I’m good with arthouse films. Prince Avalanche doesn’t want to say much more than here is what would happen if two guys were stuck in the woods for a long time, but there are some pretty shots of nature. Gordon Green wants to let his actors open it up, but then he wants to do a two-minute montage of pretty images. The opening credit sequence feels like it goes on and on. It’s shot really dark, and you don’t know it’s really a credit sequence until what feels like forever when the title pops up onscreen. You open the film like that, and it feels like it’s going to be a long night.
3. Moonshine is a Bitch, but It’s Not Entirely Bad
As we all know, there is really only one way to spice up an adventure in the forest with two guys that don’t necessarily like each other. By way of a man simply called Truck Driver (Lance LeGault), the two leading men often find themselves being serviced with moonshine. Eventually, you see what it’s like to dance with moonshine, and it seems like a lot of fun here. Think of it like this, not only are they in the woods, but they are at work. Who hasn’t thought of being drunk at work before? My personal experiences with moonshine have never ended well, but that looks like a hell of a lot of fun.
On a side note, the film is dedicated to the late Lance LeGault.
2. Paul Rudd is a Gentleman
For me, and probably most people, the biggest draw of this film is the two lead actors, Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch. Alvin (Rudd) is dating Lance’s (Hirsch) sister. He hires him to come help him paint the roads as a favor to her, and to possibly help him mature. Frankly, he’s kind of a dipshit. It quickly becomes obvious she was probably just trying to get rid of him and pawn him off on Alvin. On the other hand, Alvin is very uptight, and loves getting everything he can out of being alone. He spends most of his time writing letters to Lance’s sister, and learning German. Besides Rudd’s porn-stache being incredibly distracting, this is one of his best performances. Lance goes into town for a weekend, and Alvin finds himself walking through some of the burnt down houses. At one point he tracks up and down imaginary stairs, re-enacting what it would be like to live there. It’s kind of silly, but kind of powerful at the same time. I like to see Rudd do something different and stretch himself.
1. Emile Hirsch is Just Looking for Some Ass
Alvin’s (Rudd) loneliness comes from being away from his girlfriend, but Lance (Hirsch) is lonely because he’s horny and there are no women in the woods. Emile Hirsch is awesome in this role. He isn’t the idiot that he’s perceived to be by Alvin, but he’s pretty dumb. It really starts to become obvious when he starts talking about making it with the ladies, and then he doesn’t stop talking about it. He just wants to “get the little man squeezed”. I was actually starting to get a little bored with the film at one point, but about half way through something happens. Lance gives a very long monologue that is incredible. He sums up being a twenty-something-year-old by talking about getting fat and old, and being brought to tears because he didn’t get any ass. Hirsch is the heart and the life of this party. When he’s not in the film it suffers quite a bit, and it’s definitely at it’s best when Rudd and Hirsch are sharing time on screen. Luckily, that’s probably 85% of the film.
Overall, it’s a sweet film where Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch are on full display for nearly the entire length of the film. It takes a light-hearted approach to loneliness, and never feels too heavy. I wouldn’t recommend it to the masses, but for fans of director David Gordon Green (pre-The Sitter), Rudd, and Hirsch it’s a definite must see.