Tag: Denis Villeneuve

Dead On Arrival

There’s a great irony in Arrival that screenwriter Eric Heisserer left on the table. The film is ostensibly a story about communication and trust, and—spoiler—at its conclusion the protagonist declines to trust her lover and communicate with him that any child they have together will die before high school.

This could make for a great dark irony that explores why cowardice and selfishness can reduce us, in spite of our intelligence or convictions, to become nothing more than vermin scuttering around in the dark cannibalizing each other. But nothing about the script or the direction suggest that anyone involved is even aware this conflict of message exists. Banks’ decision to “keep” a doomed child is treated as something to be celebrated, outright ignoring the horrendous immorality of hiding the child’s inevitable death from her prospective father. Most writing about the film celebrates it as an especially timely message of hope, comforting Americans who don’t know what to expect from the idiot they elected to lead them. And that is fucking insane, and could explain why we’re stupid enough to have elected a schmuck like Trump to the presidency in the first place.

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Episode 17 – Is The Squid Who Is Tall Boring?


The Hard Boys have cornered the market of Not Enjoying Arrival, that movie where two-dimensional characters wade through a nonsense plot to a morally abhorrent resolution played like Hallmark schmaltz, which everyone unaccountably loves.

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Arrival

Arrival is terrible. I don’t want any confusion on this point. It’s sitting on a 90+% fresh rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, and that is a shocking failure of the film criticism community. If you look through the positive reviews for this film, you’ll find a common theme: it gets lauded for being “cerebral” or “intellect-stroking” or some other nonsense. Which essentially means critics will feel their intellect is validated by praising a movie that is, on its surface, about linguistics. (Noam Chomsky is a linguist, isn’t he? And he’s smart as hell!) In reality, Arrival is exactly as devoid of character, plot, or narrative logic as any summer blockbuster garbage that critics trip over each other to condemn. But it’s slow and boring and scored with sad string music, so critics that don’t deserve their jobs will tell the public it’s “smart sci-fi.”

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