For Our Consideration: The films of Rick Alverson only drive you away because they want you close

If all of cinema was one great big party, with the Baz Luhrmann canon wantonly topping off beverages and Noah Baumbach’s filmography tossing off tipsy bon mots like fistfuls of breadcrumbs, the films of Rick Alverson would be that one guy hugging the wall. Everyone at the soirée finds this guy supremely off-putting, and all past attempts to extend the kindness of interpersonal interaction to him have been met with either outright hostility or sarcasm that sure sounds like mockery. Nobody’s really sure of who he showed up with, or who he came here to meet. Most everybody writes him off as an asshole entirely too pleased with his own cleverness, but his extremely small circle of friends swear to God that he’s really a genius.

This theoretical guy might be Alverson himself, but the description definitely fits the profoundly difficult-to-like protagonists of his last two films …

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