One of the bad things about attending a film festival like SXSW is that there are so many movies I want to see while I’m there and that I know I’ll never be able to catch them all. Prince Avalanche was high on my list but with interview commitments and scheduling issues, I never made it into a screening.
Now that I’ve seen it, I’m sorry I didn’t watch it back in March because damn, is it good. As of this writing, it’s in my ‘Top 5 Favorite Films’ of the year. Mud and Drinking Buddies, two films that I did see at SXSW, are also on that list.
The film, directed by David Gordon Green, stars Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch as two guys who spend the summer of 1988 as highway road workers; they’re the ones who paint the yellow lines on new roads. Rudd’s character Alvin took the job so he could save up money to take his girlfriend away to Germany. He get’s Hirsch’s character, Lance (!), who is his girlfriends brother, a job because he thinks it’ll be good for him. He’s either “learning disabled or has a disease,” he says.
They rarely go home, camping in the woods because they’re so far out from civilization so it forces them to get to know each other in the awkward, guy sort of way. Alvin is learning German in his spare time. Lance talks about getting laid. Alvin tries to teach Lance what it is to be a man and Lance rebels.
And it’s just the two of them.
And it’s wonderful.
I see a lot of movies that have huge casts and have zero character development. Movies that should keep me involved for the hour and a half but don’t. But this film, which was shot in just 16 days and that has 2 characters, was damn perfect.
Rudd and Hirsch are flat-out great. They aren’t showy roles and I’m betting that no one will put them on any kind of year-end acting list and that’s a crime. Alvin and Lance are real people, living real emotional lives. They’re both hiding from the real world, convincing themselves they’re out painting yellow lines for everything but the true reasons – they are both scared of moving forward.
The film is in theaters and on VOD now. Check it out when you have a chance. If you’re a fan of acting and actors, you won’t want to miss this.