Quantcast
subscriber help

we got movie sign | by maryann johanson

Arrival movie review: how to talk to aliens and expand your consciousness

Arrival green light

MaryAnn’s quick take…
Intelligent, intense, grownup science fiction that will thrill genre lovers and satisfy fans of moving human drama. A beautiful, thought-provoking film.tweet
I’m “biast” (pro): huge science fiction fan; desperate for movies about women
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
I have not read the source material
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Gravity in October 2013. Interstellar in November 2014. The Martian in October 2015. And Arrival right now. Is autumn Hollywood’s new go-to time for intelligent, intense, grownup science fiction drama? It looks like. It’s a shame we appear to have only one slot for such a film each year, but, you know, baby steps. And each year’s installment has been better than the last: Arrival is a wonder, a beautiful movie that will thrill fans of real science fiction, of the literature of paradigm-busting ideastweet, as well as those who may have been turned off the genre because of the shallow way in which cinema too often uses it. Because this is a science fiction movie that does what SF does best: it asks us to consider what it means to be human, a reflection that surely any thinking person engages in.

Arrival does what SF does best: it asks us to consider what it means to be human.
tweet

Even better: It’s entirely possible that, should we care to imagine the SF scenario of a nonhuman alien visiting Earth deciding to check out this movie, zie might be prompted hirself to consider what it means to be a member of whatever species zie is a member of. Nothing here is about biology or DNA but about what it means to be a creature who is alive and aware, who can contemplate one’s own existence, who can plan for the future and look back to the past. The science fiction part of that, how Arrival distinguishes itself from more mundane sorts of navel-gazing, comes in here specifically through the realm of linguistics, in how language affects how we think and how we see the world (and the universe). Anyone who has chuckled over the fact that the Inuits have 50 different words for snow or how precisely philosophical Germans can get with their vocabulary is already aware of this notion. But if humans can vary so widely in the languages we have invented to allow us to get a grasp on reality, what should expect from aliens with radically different biologies from wildly different planetary environments? How do we even begin to find a common ground for communication with them?

A coffee stain? Or a sentence? Only your genius linguist knows for sure...

A coffee stain? Or a sentence? Only your genius linguist knows for sure.tweet

That is the job that linguist American Dr. Louise Banks (the always astonishing Amy Adams: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Big Eyes) is brought in to do when a fleet of 12 alien vessels arrives at Earth and settles to hover, quietly and mysteriously, over locations all over the planet. We’ve seen first-contact and alien-invasion scenarios plenty of times before on the big screen, and this one is, at first, familiar: militaries are only barely holding themselves in check, because while the aliens have not been aggressive at all, humanity is clearly hopelessly, hilariously outgunned next to whoever designed and built these sleek and beautiful and obviously faster-than-light ships. But panic quickly sets in among we fearful upright apes: “Alien Crisis,” the 24-hour TV news dubs the rioting, the stock-market crashes, the general mood of distress and uncertainty.

But that’s only on TV. Here, on the remote Midwestern American plain where humans are meeting aliens (we don’t see any of the 11 other landing locations except at a remove), Banks is a calm, sensitive presence as she goes about her work, rejecting fear and embracing the desire for a genuine connection that talking to the aliens will requiretweet. Each of her breakthroughs, every time she makes even a tenuous connection with the aliens, is absolutely breathtaking, a reminder of how much we take for granted in interacting with others and a remainder that common ground exists even between beings who are vastly dissimilar. (The aliens here, and their language, are truly alien in a way that few SF movies ever bother trying to attempt.)

The aliens here, and their language, are truly alien in a way that few SF movies ever bother trying to attempt.
tweet

Banks is brave, too, in a way that she would, I’m sure, insist is not brave, simply necessary: She is the first to throw off her protective hazmat suit in the Earth-environment chamber the aliens have prepared in their ship for human visitors. The suit is too distancing, too minimizing when communication for humans, at least, is as much about eye contact and body language as it is about speech and the written word. She shames everyone else in the story — such as the military officer played by Forest Whitaker (Southpaw, Dope) and the government agent played by Michael Stuhlbarg (Doctor Strange, Miles Ahead) — by being bold in the face of the unknown when they quaver. Banks is a wonderful treat of a female protagonist, a rarity in her brains and her dedication.tweet She’s even got a cute male sidekick, just like men onscreen usually get to have, in physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner: Captain America: Civil War, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation), who is at least smart enough for her to bounce ideas off and is here to do not much more than support her and her work.

What every heroic female scientist needs: a male sidekick brilliant enough to bounce ideas off, and cute enough to look good while doing it.

What every heroic female scientist needs: a male sidekick brilliant enough to bounce ideas off, and cute enough to look good while doing it.tweet

But the real joy and miracle of Arrival is how Banks’s work with the aliens paints a portrait of brilliance and knowledge as a whole-life thing. For she brings to her work her experience as the mother of a young daughter. That child appears to no longer be around — some tragedy befell her — but Banks’s memories of the child and of the experience of being a mother seem to be important to unraveling the secrets of communication and connection with the aliens… and maybe even to maintaining communication and connection with her fellow humans when that begins to fall apart. Among the many tropes of alien-invasion stories that get a clever tweakingtweet in Arrival is the one that presumes that an alien invasion would unite humanity: that might not be happening here, or if it is, it may not be for the reasons we expect. But there are other, more intimate connections that being faced with the awesomeness of humanity’s place in the universe might forge.

Arrival is my favorite movie of the year so far, for its powerful humanity, for its intelligent and warmhearted protagonist, for how deeply it moved me with its understanding of the heart and the mind as not two things at war with each other but working in unified tandemtweet. I also think it’s one of the best movies of the year so far (which isn’t always the same as a favorite), for how it plays with cinematic conventions of storytelling: director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Enemy) and screenwriter Eric Heisserer (The Thing) adapt American SF writer Ted Chiang’s award-winning novella “Story of Your Life” in such a way that your experience of events here beautifully mirrors Banks’s expanding comprehension of her experience here. But what I might love most about Arrival is how its theme about language changing our brain also works on a meta level: science fiction changes your brain. You will walk out of this movie with a brand-new appreciation for how the manipulations of reality that only SF can offer makes you see the world in a completely fresh way, with a wider, more encompassing understanding of your place in it.

viewed during the 60th BFI London Film Festival


green light 5 stars

Like what you’re reading? Sign up for the daily digest email and get links to all the day’s new reviews and other posts.

Arrival (2016) | directed by Denis Villeneuve
US/Can release: Nov 11 2016
UK/Ire release: Nov 10 2016

MPAA: rated PG-13 for brief strong language
BBFC: rated 12A (infrequent strong language)

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, you might want to reconsider.

  • Arthur

    I remember (1999?) when I was blown away by Chiang’s story. Yeah, the maternal angle is crucial to the story, and I can’t wait to see how this was adapted.

  • CB

    Sounds fantastic, and I hadn’t heard of this movie before. Reminds me of Contact, which I loved btw, what with the brilliant female scientist unraveling alien communication, only immediate rather than abstract. Looking forward to it.

  • LaSargenta

    This is great news. I really liked the trailer.

  • crowTrobot

    At the moment I would wholeheartedly welcome an alien invasion.

  • RogerBW

    Autumn: because spring is for rubbish that nobody wants, summer is for expensive rubbish with explosions, and winter is for potential Oscar winners and the Academy hates SF?

  • Patrick

    So “Gravity”, “Interstellar”, “The Martian”, and “Arrival” are proof positive that they could make thoughtful “Star Trek” movies again if they gave they audience some credit? Because giving their audience credit was a hallmark of that franchise back in the day (rather than re-hashing “Wrath of Khan” over and over and over…).

    Which of the aforementioned would be your pick for best SF movie of the decade so far, MaryAnn?

  • Danielm80

    I found this article by the screenwriter encouraging, especially after the election:

    http://thetalkhouse.com/how-i-wrote-arrival/

    I hope some politicians pay attention to the second lesson he learned:

    Let the smart people be smart.

    I found something more intimidating than writing for characters way smarter than I am, and that is: Writing for characters way smarter than I am as they face the biggest mental challenge of their lives.

    To acclimate myself, I socialized with linguists and physicists. I spent time around brilliant minds to hear how they talked to each other. And whether they were on or off work, they used jargon and references from their world. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t keep up, this was their normal mental gear. If I asked for clarification on some concept or theory, they were happy to oblige, but it was assumed everyone in their circle knew.

    What lit up a neurologist’s eyes, what made a rocket scientist’s day, was sharing an idea. These are people who revel in theory the way my usual circle of friends talks up a new movie or an indie game on Steam. What that meant for me was that I had to embrace the expository moments. Smart people are constant teachers, and I had to unlearn my own rule about avoiding moments where a character stopped to explain or define something. Sometimes it’s welcomed.

  • proof positive that they could make thoughtful “Star Trek” movies again

    I disagree with this premise. I’ve enjoyed the new *Trek* movies, and I do find them thoughtful. But even if you don’t, this does not compute. *Trek* is its own thing, with a long history and tons of preconceptions built in, which does not apply to the other movies you mention.

    Which of the aforementioned would be your pick for best SF movie of the decade so far, MaryAnn?

    I don’t like picking a single best: what’s the point? And anyway, why do you presume it would be one of those?

  • Patrick

    I just meant of the thoughtful hard-SF movies of the past few years that you mentioned. I was just curious.

    As for Trek, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

  • Patrick

    Actually, I screwed up about the “best of the decade” question. I’m sorry to presume…

  • They’re all good. No need to pick.

  • Aaron Jones

    I wore my Heroine Addict shirt to this one (and to others in the recent past, but I particularly wanted to represent for this movie).

  • Cool!

  • RobertP

    How do we even begin to find a common ground for communication with them?

    Does the original story address the issue that these aliens with the technology to build massive ships that can travel across time and space, who specifically picked Earth and grasped how things go on Earth, were able to detect and observe Earth remotely in the first place, can communicate with each other via some means undetectable to Earth tech – yet despite all these advanced capabilities when they get here they don’t know how to communicate in any Earth language?

    If it’s explicitly addressed in the film I didn’t catch it.

    …humanity is clearly hopelessly, hilariously outgunned next to whoever
    designed and built these sleek and beautiful and obviously faster-than-light ships…

    Which made the Chinese commander’s zeal for attacking them and the rogue soldiers’ bomb really stupid.

  • Danielm80

    There’s an easy way to find out:

    https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00L2EQODK/theflickfilosoph

    MaryAnn hasn’t read the book, as she stated above. Perhaps you’re confusing her with Cliff Notes.

  • RobertP

    She also isn’t the only one who can add input. While the question isn’t purely rhetorical, I was mostly pointing out a glaring issue. I might read it someday, it’s not going to be today or tomorrow. A film should stand on its own. If the original story addresses it, it’s a huge oversight to not work it into the film. If it doesn’t, it’s a huge oversight on the part of the author.

  • RogerBW

    The film’s job is to stand alone. So whether the director/scriptwriter cut out explanatory material, or failed to invent it, that’s still a failure of the filmmaking team.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    It seems clear in the narrative that it is important to the heptapods that the humans decipher heptapod language on their own. Given that that language is the key to the story, I’m willing to assume it’s something like the Matrix.
    https://youtu.be/Owd1p0acSOI?t=2m57s

  • RobertP

    ~Shrug~ Sure is a lucky happenstance that the authorities found the only two people on the planet who could, and only as a team, decipher the language.

    Dunno, if it were the case that they were capable of communicating in the King’s English you’d think they would have broken protocol to spell out “Yo! There’s a bomb in that case behind ya’ll!!”

  • Well, humans *can* be really stupid.

    Does the original story address the issue

    I haven’t read it, which I state right at the top of the review, so I’m not sure why you’re asking me.

    If it’s explicitly addressed in the film I didn’t catch it.

    Do you think it might be implicit in the aliens’ actions? Like, they need us to do the hard work of learning to talk to them?

  • A film should stand on its own.

    And this one does.

  • the only two people on the planet who could, and only as a team, decipher the language.

    That’s not true at all. The teams around the planet are working together and sharing what they discover.

    you’d think they would have broken protocol

    They’re alien. *Very* alien. We cannot even begin to guess at their protocol. Maybe they considered it an internal issue among this small group of humans, and no concern of theirs.

  • RobertP

    I haven’t read it, which I state right at the top of the review, so I’m not sure why you’re asking me.

    I was really asking anyone who could offer insight, just quoting the part of the review that was pertinent.

    Do you think it might be implicit in the aliens’ actions? Like, they need us to do the hard work of learning to talk to them?

    Maybe – not clear why this would be better than teaching in a faster manner particularly given that the initial miscommunication was a catalyst for bad results – the death of one of the heptapods – and easily could have had even worse results.

  • RobertP

    The teams around the planet are working together and sharing what they discover.

    I got the impression that it was Louise and Ian who were the most key in figuring it out, and Ian figured out a crucial piece of the puzzle they’d been struggling with while she was asleep. They realized something the others didn’t – the Chinese commander was going to attack until she dissuaded him with her desperate, clandestine phone call.

    They’re alien. *Very* alien. We cannot even begin to guess at their
    protocol. Maybe they considered it an internal issue among this small
    group of humans, and no concern of theirs.

    I was thinking of the immediate danger of the bomb to all parties involved – it became the heptapods’ concern in that it killed one of them.

  • Danielm80

    Twelve different countries all sent their best linguists and their best scientists to meet with the heptapods, because that’s the smart thing to do in that situation. All twelve teams were able to make sense of the language. One team had additional insights that turned out to be important. That’s not a shocking coincidence. Their jobs specifically trained them to have insights in those areas. Odds were pretty high that at least one of the teams would solve the problem. The filmmakers chose to follow the team that did because that’s the most significant and most interesting part of the story. In fact, it’s the reason the story is worth telling.

    Does the original story address the issue that these aliens with the technology to build massive ships that can travel across time and space, who specifically picked Earth and grasped how things go on Earth, were able to detect and observe Earth remotely in the first place, can communicate with each other via some means undetectable to Earth tech – yet despite all these advanced capabilities when they get here they don’t know how to communicate in any Earth language?

    If you go to a university to learn a language or study linguistics, you’re going to go to the department that specializes in that area, probably in the humanities.

    If you decide you want to learn to build spaceships, you’re going to go to a completely different department, maybe even a different school that emphasizes science and technology.

    It’s possible that heptapod society focused its energies on the sciences and is more advanced in that area than in linguistics. They still knew enough about language skills to be confident that they could communicate with human beings.

    And that’s not a surprise, because they can see ahead to what we consider the future. They already know how the situation turns out, so they’re not taking any reckless risks. They know how the story ends.

    And, as other people have already suggested, it may be essential to the learning process that humans cooperate with the heptapod said and figure how to work and speak with each other.

    If you’re desperate to find plot holes in the movie—as you seem to be—you might focus on the time paradoxes. But I’m not sure why you’re spending so much of your life trying to tear apart an otherwise enjoyable movie.

  • RobertP

    If you’re desperate to find plot holes in the movie—as you seem to be—you might focus on the time paradoxes.

    Thanks for clarifying what Daniel80 deems acceptable to focus on.

    I wonder why you spend so much of your life vainly trying to chastise me. Discourse re: the points raised is great, the rest is noise.

  • LaSargenta

    Wow.

    Time paradoxes and all.

    Just wow.

  • Maybe they wanted to see how we deal with miscommunication. Or how different cultures on Earth with different languages that wire our brains differently deal with learning their language. There seem to be lots of possibilities.

  • Maybe they don’t have the same concern about individuals that we do.

  • RobertP

    Maybe they don’t have the same concern about individuals that we do.

    What?? The aliens are commies?!? I knew it!

    :)

  • Danielm80

    Okay, I’ll admit it. That’s pretty funny.

  • Jurgan

    Well, technically you did pick when you said “each year’s installment has been better than the last.” Yeah, I’m being pedantic, but then if there was ever a movie where it was appropriate to nitpick the intricacies of language…

  • Jurgan

    Just saw this one. I liked it a lot (not quite as much as Interstellar), but I’m not sure I saw as much depth to it as you. Everything fit together so well- at first I was thinking a lot of stuff could be cut out, like the dead child subplot, but it all paid off. And I like hard sci-fi that emphasizes the process. I’m a mathematician, and the scenes of people working together and talking about their theories felt very real to me.

    *spoiler*
    I’m not sure the themes are that new if you’ve read Slaughterhouse Five. There’s always a sort of fatalism to any story involving time loops (yes, this kind of applies to Interstellar as well). But I like the way the world fights over what to do with the aliens, and the movie emphasizes communication over violence. I was a little surprised, though, that China and the other warlike countries seemed to be preparing to attack with conventional weapons and there was no mention of nukes.

  • FlyingSquirrel42

    Disclaimer: I’m skeptical of the entire notion of “not perceiving time as linear,” at least in the sense of the perception enabling someone to see the future. It’s a bit like saying that I can throw a ball and simultaneously see it still in my hand, in the air, and hitting the ground. I can’t do that, and I find it hard to imagine that any change in my brain chemistry would allow me to do that.

    That said, if we accept the concept of them not viewing time in a linear fashion, then the entire notion of planning ahead and making choices that would change outcomes is probably something that they experience very differently than we do. They might well have known that, in the end, things would turn out OK between them and Earth aside from the death of “Abbott.” They may have considered that an acceptable trade-off. Or they may not have even thought in terms of having other options or choosing not to travel to Earth – they could perceive the future as being just as immutable as the past.

  • Radek Piskorski

    I thought this movie was great. I didn’t love it as much as I thought it would after all the hype, but that’s fine.
    But you would think the humans are the only being on Earth. Everything you wrote (and the film implied) about meeting an alien way of looking at reality is readily available whenever we meet other animals. And this possibility was ironically suggested when Hannah said she drew her parents “talking to animals”. The idea that talking to animals would reveal amazing insights is very very old in human culture and I don’t think it should be abandoned.
    For the longest time, I actually thought the aliens were trying to communicate verbally with the singing bird the humans had brought along…

  • Radek Piskorski

    I thought Interstellar was maddening. I find it offensive to compare it with Gravity, which was so great.

  • Radek Piskorski

    I find the whole idea of observing a language from afar and understanding it rather preposterous

  • Radek Piskorski

    I agree. There was no need to explain that and I think the film worked perfectly without it.
    But this is precisely the kind of thing you would complain about in a DW episode.

  • Radek Piskorski

    The future is not “something that hasn’t happened yet” for a person who can see time non-linearly. It’s like being able to see three dimensions at the same time. We experience all of them together.
    Past!Louise and Future!Louise were actually interacting with each other. It’s like Louise was experiencing all of the time at the same “time”.
    You’re right that it’s silly that this could be changed by learning another language, as this is almost an astrophysical property.

  • Radek Piskorski

    Colonel Weber frowned. “You seem to be implying that no alien could have learned human languages by monitoring our broadcasts.”

    “I doubt it. They’d need instructional material specifically designed to teach human languages to nonhumans. Either that, or interaction with a human. If they had either of those, they could learn a lot from TV, but otherwise, they wouldn’t have a starting point.”

  • Jack Strider

    Oh dear MaryAnn, now that we have established our love-hate intellectual relationship – it won’t blow you away any more I must disagree with you again.

    This movie was utterly shallow or rather, and which is even worse, it was utterly unoriginal; yet not “aboriginal”: Kangaroo, anyone? :D

    Yes, it seems to be the latest craze to piece together these “transcendental” scifi movies with a touch of immaculate and grace, some worse some better, the general trend being the latter one is always a rip off of the earlier and as such worse than its predecessor. But a surefire way to fill the cash register it is. So, until proven otherwise we are stuck with this graceful scifi genre. Good, bad or worse.

    Now that we were talking about incredible and even ridiculous plots, twists and scripts – Arrival sure offers its share of that fun. The whole shambles twists around a linguistic hypothesis named by its formulators Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf that our way of thinking and view of the world is intimately and irreducibly connected and influenced by our given (native) language; also known as linguistic relativity hypothesis. Well, why not. Yet, it just doesn’t cut it in the melodrama but only offers lots of “narm” kinda fun for an educated viewer – like me. The protagonist – the universal female genius of all and one language(s) (lol) – who the fuck she was, whatever – bridges the unbridgeable gap into the subjective order of things in the deep minds of very very alien octo-pussy aliens (equipped with cute and fucking impractical starfish type hands) and she does that “mind-blowing” feat just in a couple of days while the whole world is holding its breath – or collapsing into looting and socio-moral chaos. Funny. That much about that.

    Also, the alien (or “aboriginal”) view of time as a cyclic apparatus seems to contradict itself in the linear idea underlying their need for help from humans in “3000 years”; they sure must hurry or they will be – eh – gone, eh. Very “cyclic”, honorable aliens, very cyclic indeed. – Well yeah, they can see the future all right – thanks to their very organic logographic language on ink up in the air featured around the beautiful true and righteous and very perfect circle shape. Cool eh. Apparently a feature and trait of a linguistic idiosynrcacy rather than that of a specific alien evolutionary path. That is the most potent form and advocation of ‘linguistic turn’ in philosophy or science I have ever come across lol. And our plain but cute looking female protagonist (after all she is a scientist or something with lots of things obviously going on in her subtle troublesome mind) reaches the alien clairvoyance high above the earth of “seeing” during the few trials and errors of elementary interstellar linguistic exchange aimed to understand the alien organo-vegetative system of communication.

    Or then not. Since after all the formidable intellectual work she cries out “I don’t understand!” when she has surpassed the glass ceiling and reached the alien realm of being an alien. And then the shit just happens to enter her as a “new way” of seeing things, wow. (So much hard work for no real use. “Use your weapon”, indeed. Lol.)

    So, in the end, it is not Sapir-Whorfian notion but its direct opposite put forth in the movie. Some crypto-facist idea of a superior language again (which is also a question of math, not culture, of course). Okay. So fucking stupid, unintentional “twists” of plot and underlying “philosophy”. Congrats, guys. But sorry, I am not cheering for you. This was just bad, man. You shouldn’t have skipped your philosophy classes, just saying. Lol.

    So, yes – while you might argue I am nitpicking here and the above intellectual flaws are minor or irrelevant for the grand scheme of the drama and theme – may I disagree again. First, they are just a token of larger issues and flaws in the plot and script and second, they show the general weak, lazy, lousy and feeble nature of the whole damn opportunistic enterprise. It is both intellectually and dramatically deeply unsatisfactory piece (of semi junk) which leaves the audience of intellect and taste wanting more. But no. They won’t get it. Not in this rip off.

    Yeah, what we’ve got here is a poor, cheaply and hastily made sequence in the apparently never-ending series of transcendental sky-fidelity (aka “philosophical scifi”). A rip off. A cash in. A shameless scam for the uneducated sentimentalists.
    Okay, where did this funny series start from? My two cents: Sunshine, 2006 or something. And that was one great movie and all that has followed – rip offs (and bad “tributes”) which have fallen short compared, not reaching the level of graceful transcendence of Sunshine, the movie.

    You can get only that far with a jumble of random “deep” lines and quotes from philosophy, physics and/or poetry embedded and mixed in the very Hollywoodian simple and opportunistic style in grand scenes of CGI. Sure, one can still laugh on the way to a bank after all is said and done, no denying. Since people are quite gullible and stupid in the grand scheme of things. And they want to believe. Still. And what is easier way to make money in our pseudo-religious times than that of pseudo-religious scams like scientology and rip offs of transcendental sky-fidelity? Lol. Yes: shit is shit, nevertheless.

    And then the famous final notes of Jack Strider, the man: A) The move recycles Max Richter’s fine score The Nature of Daylight for I dunno what time. It was in Shutter Island and in many others also. It admittedly gives the movie certain authority and finesse – but only cheap and borrowed “authority” and “finesse” depending on the given beautiful and touching piece of string music (not composed for the movie) and also on the quality of all the other movies it has been used in before – like the great Shutter Island. Ergo: One opportunistic rip off in this sense also. B) Steven Spielberg (I have downgraded a tad in my previous posts, sure) directed this movie with much fresher and original touch in An Encounter of the Third Kind back in the day. So, honestly, who needs this shit? Only the series junkies, I reckon. – One star for the music and the undeveloped child loss theme. And beware of the (five) starborn junk, guys!

  • amanohyo

    Thank you for taking the time to write an honest, thoughtful response. So, you found the movie to be an unrealistic, intellectually shallow, and philosophically dissonant cash grab made to appeal primarily to gullible, uneducated people. Are there specific changes that could have made the story more believable and consistent with the principle of linguistic relativity? Are there general changes to the characters or themes that could have made the plot more interesting and enjoyable for you? The movie is broken. How might it be fixed?

  • Jack Strider

    Thanks, man. Yeah, I see the movie as one very troubled and unsatisfactory cash grab (a “plastic mass product”) on many levels and in many ways.

    The basic problem with this type of popular rip offs, feature films with populist cheapness written all over them, lies in their hasty and factitious ways of addressing and thus disfiguring the genuinely interesting, thought-provoking ideas and themes using them only as an opportunistic means to create some shallow illusion of intellectual/philosophical “depth” and specious “credibility” on the main “argument” of the movie. – “The limits of my language are the limits of my world” is a cool – Wittgensteinian – way of putting it but how could you really make it – ormaybe rather the idea of breaking out of those limits – the core idea and plot device of a dramatic motion picture? It is a difficult question and in any case needs to be answered with much finer, more meticulous and patient cinematography.

    The opportunistic way Arrival answers the given philosophical questions only turns against itself and renders its “deep” themes frivolous, ridiculous and void of their original meaning and thrust. Outrageously, the notion of language presented in the movie seems to turn to its straight opposites along the way. The facile, almost “irresponsible”, way the movie deals with the quest of bridging the
    deep and wide gap of understanding and communication between humans and an alien race is makes the movie look retarded entertainment for brain dead. It starts, first, from a silly and simplistic elementary word game and then next already the protagonist takes an easy as fuck leap onto the level of alien consciousness with the help of – eh – the “language the weapon” (which apparently couldn’t do it as a “language” only), awkward, only awkward – and
    ludicrous. And yet, being it a matter of cognitive closure or not, taking that leap should be a formidable intellectual, hermeneutic task and as such depicted in the film – barring deus ex machina kind of easy way out through something like, yes, telepathy – which is or
    should be a different story (about alien communication). And deus ex machina and nothing else it is – the desperate clueless twist the plot resorts to finally by breaking the all but unbreakable “glass ceiling” between the woman the human (whose name was what?! lol) and the aliens (whom they gave human names, cute and teenish thing to do which also presumed they had individual identities similar to humans).

    So, we have – or should have – an alien language which differs from a human one even much more and much more fundamentally than English differs from the language of Hopi people Benjamin
    Lee Whorf studied extensively and claimed it lacked all temporal reference (a claim later disputed and rejected btw). That famous claim alongside the related notion of linguistic relativity is the obvious intellectual basis of the dramatic “argument” presented in the movie. But yet, our brave female universal linguist (whose name was what?!) jumps like a bewitched frog in a fairy tale with princesses, princes and at least one boogeyman from one language and worldview to another, much “higher” one, in a flat second after the rudimentary learning and understanding process of alien logograms hadn’t exactly, eh, “opened her eyes” about the deep wisdom coded in its, eh, inkblots (reminding of Rorschach test). This is a bad, reckless move indeed. It effectively discredits and dismisses all the previous intellectual ideas and embryos of the story; for example the fundamental notion of language as a deeply complex affair
    intimately connected with culture and cognition. Language loses its medium kind of ubiquitous presence, its unescapable reality and turns into a formal, abstract, substitutable notion, a symbol game in which the mode of communication can be switched from one to another just by pushing the enter key – like in Google
    translate. But not only that; it is still presented as a fairy tale level enchantment also. Very childish and stupid.

    So: Everything should be different once the magic key has been pushed and the entering – or arrival (with no return?) – has taken place. As if language were indeed an omnipresent, omnipotent medium shaping everything it embraces and touches. Only that it is not language anymore, it cannot be – but rather a psychosis or a spell. Since you cannot have it both ways: as a translation and as an experience, so to say. Or apparently you can, in a Holy movie. Yet, it is a bogus claim and a bogus turn of events in the realm of drama also.

    Actually the problem of the movie could be expressed as follows: There happens not much anything worth noting in terms of genuine drama regarding notions and themes crucial to its
    operation like OTHERNESS, experience of TIME or COMMUNICATION – not much anything but superficial, clumsy and ridiculous things combined with explicit arguments, verbal references to the given idea(s) in the dialogue. Thus we have just a dramatically inert set of philosophical notions to be mindlessly recycled before our eyes on the silver screen, an isolated label or aside besides the
    boringly predictable, yet constrained unfolding of events. It is a dull dud; a spoken coulisse and smoke screen for nothing, nothing interesting or deeply moving. Cuz it simply betrays itself and, in the end, turns into an unintentional, stupid, ridiculous comedy act calling for deus ex machina. Yeah, sure, no denying: The thing has its short moments and fickle flashes of promise but it loses its opportunities one after another. And it is only a shame. All promises of greatness fade away and eventually there is only a regression to exploitative
    hocus-pocus scamming with clichés left. – We have a “linguistic theory of relativity”, our share of time travelling and even some non-zero-sum games – and hocus-pocus. Really.

    Thus the movie cannot come to terms with its most promising thematic and dramatic dimensions but only referentially and cursorily as it is the case with the mother daughter relationship and the loss
    (and longing) of the latter due to a rare incurable disease. The daughter thing remains an isolated islet of the work, a sentimental “music video” attachment filled with haunting beauty of Max Richter’s string melody and its function is to pump life and meaning to the otherwise shallow enterprise.

    The coherence is lost. The meaning is lost. Disjointed parts never come together. Ironically, the only thing that should look genuinely “disjointed” in the movie – the aliens – they integrate with humans only too easily (or vice versa) – awkward and narm enough
    – and by doing so manage to lose their initial uncanny alien feel and start to remind of some ridiculous octo-pussies from outer space. Quickly, only too quickly.

    And yeah, the shortcomings and flaws of the movie Arrival can also be seen as “inevitable” results of commercial compromises characteristic for Hollywood movies. Wider teen and teen-minded audience must be entertained, explosions and guns needed, clichés exploited, straightforward and ridiculous storyline deployed, mannerism of dialogue used and all originality lost. Yet, it could be done differently. And better. Much better. – But then again, how much better could have a movie like Inception also been had it not reverted to a simple shoot ‘em up and platform game.

    Shit happens. And it happens frequently indeed. In Hollywood.

  • Jack Strider

    Thanks, man. Yeah, I see the movie as one very troubled and unsatisfactory
    cash grab (a “plastic mass product”) on many levels and in many ways.

    The basic problem with this type of popular rip offs, feature films with
    populist cheapness written all over them, lies in their hasty and factitious
    ways of addressing and thus disfiguring the genuinely interesting,
    thought-provoking ideas and themes using them only as an opportunistic means to
    create some shallow illusion of intellectual/philosophical “depth”
    and specious “credibility” on the main “argument” of the
    movie. – “The limits of my language are the limits of my world” is a
    cool – Wittgensteinian – way of putting it but how could you really make it –
    or maybe rather the idea of breaking out of those limits – the core idea and
    plot device of a dramatic motion picture? It is a difficult question and in any
    case needs to be answered with much finer, more meticulous and patient
    cinematography.

    The opportunistic way Arrival answers the given philosophical questions
    only turns against itself and renders its “deep” themes frivolous,
    ridiculous and void of their original meaning and thrust. Outrageously, the
    notion of language presented in the movie seems to turn to its straight
    opposite along the way. The facile, almost “irresponsible”, manner the movie
    deals with the quest of bridging the deep and wide gap of understanding and
    communication between humans and an alien race makes it look like some retarded
    entertainment for brain dead. It does, at times. It starts, first, from a silly
    and simplistic elementary word game and then next already the protagonist takes
    an easy as fuck leap onto the level of alien consciousness with the help of –
    eh – the “language the weapon” (which apparently couldn’t do it as a “language”
    only), awkward, only awkward – and ludicrous. And yet, being it a matter of
    cognitive closure or not, taking that leap should be a formidable intellectual,
    hermeneutic task and as such depicted in the film – barring deus ex machina
    kind of easy way out through something like, yes, telepathy – which is or should
    be a different story (about alien communication). And deus ex machina and
    nothing else it is – the desperate clueless twist the plot resorts to finally
    by breaking the all but unbreakable “glass ceiling” between the woman the human
    (whose name was what?! lol) and the aliens (whom they gave human names, cute
    and teenish thing to do which also presumed they had individual identities
    similar to humans).

    So, we have – or should have – an alien language which differs from a human
    one even much more and much more fundamentally than English differs from the
    language of Hopi people Benjamin

    Lee Whorf studied extensively and claimed it lacked all temporal reference (a
    claim later disputed and rejected btw). That famous claim alongside the related
    notion of linguistic relativity is the obvious intellectual basis of the
    dramatic “argument” presented in the movie. But yet, our brave female
    universal linguist (whose name was what?!) jumps like a bewitched frog in a
    fairy tale with princesses, princes and at least one boogeyman from one
    language and worldview to another, much “higher” one, in a flat second after
    the rudimentary learning and understanding process of alien logograms hadn’t
    exactly, eh, “opened her eyes” about the deep wisdom coded in its, eh, inkblots
    (reminding of Rorschach test). This is a bad, reckless move indeed. It
    effectively discredits and dismisses all the previous intellectual ideas and
    embryos of the story; for example the fundamental notion of language as a
    deeply complex affair intimately connected with culture and cognition. Language
    loses its medium kind of ubiquitous presence, its unescapable reality and turns
    into a formal, abstract, substitutable notion, a symbol game in which the mode
    of communication can be switched from one to another just by pushing the enter
    key – like in Google translate. But not only that; it is still presented as a
    fairy tale level enchantment also. Very childish and stupid.

    So: Everything should be different once the magic key has been pushed and
    the entering – or arrival (with no return?) – has taken place. As if language
    were indeed an omnipresent, omnipotent medium shaping everything it embraces
    and touches. Only that it is not language anymore, it cannot be – but rather a
    psychosis or a spell. Since you cannot have it both ways: as a translation and
    as an experience, so to say. Or apparently you can, in a Holy movie. Yet, it is
    a bogus claim and a bogus turn of events in the realm of drama also.

    Actually the problem of the movie could be expressed as follows: There
    happens not much anything worth noting in terms of genuine drama regarding
    notions and themes crucial to its

    operation like OTHERNESS, experience of TIME or COMMUNICATION – not much
    anything but superficial, clumsy and ridiculous things combined with explicit
    arguments, verbal references to the given idea(s) in the dialogue. Thus we have
    just a dramatically inert set of philosophical notions to be mindlessly
    recycled before our eyes on the silver screen, an isolated label or aside
    besides the

    boringly predictable, yet constrained unfolding of events. It is a dull dud; a
    spoken coulisse and smoke screen for nothing, nothing interesting or deeply
    moving. Cuz it simply betrays itself and, in the end, turns into an
    unintentional, stupid, ridiculous comedy act calling for deus ex machina. Yeah,
    sure, no denying: The thing has its short moments and fickle flashes of promise
    but it loses its opportunities one after another. And it is only a shame. All
    promises of greatness fade away and eventually there is only a regression to
    exploitative hocus-pocus scamming with clichés left. – We have a “linguistic theory
    of relativity”, our share of time travelling and even some non-zero-sum games –
    and hocus-pocus. Really.

    Thus the movie cannot come to terms with its most promising thematic and
    dramatic dimensions but only referentially and cursorily as it is the case with
    the mother daughter relationship and the loss (and longing) of the latter due
    to a rare incurable disease. The daughter thing remains an isolated islet of
    the work, a sentimental “music video” attachment filled with haunting beauty of
    Max Richter’s string melody and its function is to pump life and meaning to the
    otherwise shallow enterprise.

    The coherence is lost. The meaning is lost. Disjointed parts never come
    together. Ironically, the only thing that should look genuinely “disjointed” in
    the movie – the aliens – they integrate with humans only too easily (or vice
    versa) – awkward and narm enough – and by doing so manage to lose their initial
    uncanny alien feel and start to remind of some ridiculous octo-pussies from
    outer space. Quickly, only too quickly.

    And yeah, the shortcomings and flaws of the movie Arrival can also be seen
    as “inevitable” results of commercial compromises characteristic to Hollywood
    movies. Wider teen and teen-minded audience must be entertained, explosions and
    guns fired, clichés exploited, a straightforward and ridiculous storyline
    deployed, mannerism of dialogue used and all originality lost. Yet, it could be
    done differently. And better. Much better. – But then again, how much better
    could have a movie like Inception also been had it not reverted to a simple
    shoot ‘em up and platform game.

    Shit happens. And it happens frequently enough. In Hollywood.

    a) Sorry for the lay out
    b) MaryAnn why to delete my post? Chill.

  • But you would think the humans are the only being on Earth.

    We’re the only technologically capable species on the planet, and it seems as if that was a specific requirement of the aliens. (Maybe they traded poetry with the whales.)

  • I’m not the one who saw a problem here, so why would I complain about it?

  • But if the aliens see time in a nonlineral way, they should be able to see a future point at which they understand human languages!

  • The idea that a thinky, talky, philosophical science fiction movie could be a “cash grab” is the funniest thing I’ve heard in ages. If only!

  • Jack Strider

    Mary Ann, chill.

  • You can fuck off. I mean it.

  • Jack Strider

    Maybe we got off on the wrong foot once, MA. I mean not to be arrogant. But sure, sometimes my texts might get the best of me. Sorry for that also. Let’s start over with a clean slate, woman. I mean, we don’t have to agree on movies, let alone engage in passionate discussions about them in a candle light. But you know (or I dunno if u do but whatever) writing critical texts should be independent and unbiased activity (okay, you have your own “biast” approach, fair enough) where the quality of text should be one’s sole judge and the possibe influences of personal attachments and/or animosities reduced to minimum. It is as if in pro sports where players of opposing teams can be friends after a game but during it such personal bonds are temporarily suspended. So, it is not me; not as a friend nor enemy who comes through in these writings. It is just me as a writer. It is just text. Peace? Truce?

  • Bluejay

    Let’s start over with a clean slate, woman.

    BAHAHAHA Yeah, I think it’s time to block this creep, MAJ.

  • Danielm80

    MaryAnn is responding to the “quality” of your “text.” She thinks your arguments are terrible. You seem to believe that the only reason she might object to your comments is that she’s bringing in some sort of personal bias. But she can also object to your bizarre logic, your poor sentence construction, and your tendency to call her “woman.” If you’re going to write enormous blocks of text, you need to take some responsibility for the things you say, rather than blaming the reader. Otherwise, you’re going to come across as oblivious and condescending.

    But at least you’ve stopped upvoting your own comments.

  • Jack Strider

    I haven’t seen many of MAJ’s arguments concerning my “terrible” arguments tbh. Yet they are most welcome. But as of now – nothing but the little laugh about the “cash grab”. And that is nothing. – But maybe she is sharpening her pencil as I am writing this. And we can read her comments here soon. Hopefully so. – But you Danielm80, could you clarify your “bizarre logic” on your turn, grazie.

  • bronxbee

    oh god. make him stop.

  • amanohyo

    I feel the same – if making contemplative sci-fi is a cash grab, then keep the grabs coming. It did make a nice profit, so hopefully we’ll see more like it. I thought maybe Jack Strider would elaborate on what an intellectually deep first contact movie with a consistent philosophical core would look like. Widely released sci-fi movies don’t get much more thinky and introspective than this.

  • Let’s start over with a clean slate, woman.

    “Woman”?

    Jesus.

  • I have no interest in debating you.

  • Jack Strider

    Basically, I don’t ask that much: Only coherence, a decent script with no deus ex machinery, compelling and touching drama, deeper (and more nuanced) than cardboard figure characters, absence of the worst clichés, sophistication in
    philosophical affairs dealt in the given work of cinema.

    Arrival couldn’t deliver (even) this. It bit more it could chew. And made all the wrong turns. Too bad.

    Okay, as mentioned earlier the core idea of the piece and the philosphical argument advertised in the thing stems from nowhere else but Benjamin Lee Whorf’s work and findings among Hopi indians and their langugage. Faiir enough.
    But full stop here. The makers of this movie would have done wisely and well and deserved all the credit and praise and applause if only they had given up on the illusory idea or “hope” of bridging the deep dark gap into the mindsets of the aliens via language proper. And thus had chosen either or,
    meaning being explixit about the choice between linguistics and means thereof and then a messy thing called telepathy. I mean it. What follows or would have followed from this
    choice only, from acknowledging the existence of this principal demarcation and the need to make this choice would have been more coherence, lots of it, and
    less, much less, ridiculous twists and other tokens of silliness in their precious piece of transcendental sky-fi.

    And had they chosen to stick with the language as we know it and thus with the perennial challenge of reaching the mind and meaning of another being – they would have chosen well. And the encounter with the aliens would have got along without resorting to a paranormal leap into mind reading. Yeah, no sudden enlightenment had occurred in this plot scenario but the drama had happened for real.

    (Or then we would have quite a different movie about telepathic abilities and what not. – Sounds awful yeah but maybe you could get something out of it.)

    Even better if they – the screenwriters – had concluded in the writing, preparation, planning phase to abandon the sky-fi genre altogether and make a completely different movie around the same themes and ingredients. I entertain
    now an idea about a movie taking place in two or three different time periods. One of them would have been the Benjamin Lee Whorf story Benjamin losing himself in the wonders of Hopi language and caring bees in the pastime – either in New haven or then in Arizona desert. The other time layer would tell a story about a (possibly former) mother and a researcher of linguistics studying Whorf’s writings and his theory about the “timeless” Hopi language; she would live in Rhode Island, in a fascinating old white villa of Gregorian colonial style and take an interest in oil painting, especially of objects of nature like flowers and bees. The third level would deal with the near past of the woman and her loss of a daughter due to a brain tumor or then,
    alternatively, the child would still be alive but suffer from a deeply autistic mental state so that the mother (maybe Alice) would struggle every day to reach her daughter. She would be a professor of linguistics in Harvard, probably. Divorced (related to the child thing).

    This premise should yield some wonderful drama. Maybe I should write it out and send to mr. Spike Jonze, personally – and with a personal preface. What do you say, guys?

  • Jack Strider

    Sorry for the wording. I only tried to sound brisk and cheerful and suggest we – eh – start over with a clean slate, so to speak. Bygones are bygones. Let’s turn our semi-professional non-debate into a PLUS-SUM-GAME in which all win. Okay?

  • Jack Strider

    Well, anyway. Sounds cool. Just insert Arrival, the movie, to run in TV in the background in some scene and you will be good and cool, man. – Sure. I will. Grazie, guys. (And MAJ, there we will have a genuine FIVE star flick!)

  • amanohyo

    So you would prefer a dramatic movie solely about human relationships over a speculative plot about an alien encounter because you feel it is impossible to believably bridge the gap between human language and an imaginary form of alien telepathic communication? If this is the case, then there is probably no way the plot of this film would have worked for you.

    Have you read Solaris, or more recently, The Southern Reach trilogy? They attempt to realistically depict the possibly unbridgeable linguistic gap between humans and other forms of intelligence. They illustrate that the writing style of a work has to become dreamlike and hallucinatory, even borderline nonsensical, in order to deal with believably inhuman entities. It’s unlikely that a script written primarily in that style would ever be greenlit.

    It’s kind of a paradox – the more realistic the alien communication gets, the less intelligible and relatable it is to audiences and readers. You can see this in all of the Solaris film adaptations (particularly Soderbergh’s) which focus far more on the human relationships than the abstract, bizarrely unfathomable nature of the ocean.

    In a similar way, your own writing style is an almost unfathomable shifting mix of informal banter and academic philosophical jargon. It appears to be human communication on the surface, but there is some mysterious emotional core struggling to rise to the surface and constantly being pushed down beneath the weight of needlessly complex textbook excerpts that interrupt each other with no clear transitions. As others have noted, you also pepper your writing with condescending asides (“their precious piece”) which might indicate some insecurity. I did this quite a lot in my early 20’s too.

    This style of writing places a large burden on the reader – they must care enough about what you are writing to look past the patronizing tone, translate your thoughts, rearrange them in a logical order, fill in the missing transitions, and then respond to the wide range of unfocused topics that are addressed. The average person is not willing to put that much effort into reading a random comment. You have an imagination and incorporate what you read into your thoughts which is cool, but take it from a fellow stream of consciousness rambler – try to get a handle on the emotional motivation for your message first, and then focus on clearly and plainly communicating a small, coherent chunk of information that will accomplish that emotional goal.

  • Jack Strider

    Nope, oh man of Ohio. My emotional motivation for my writing(s) here and else where is as much aesthetical, intellectual and poetic as “emotional” motivation. – You can’t do that, mr. Ohya, Eddie Vedder sings in Society. And he is right: You cannot divide undividable which is the process of writing. That is the case even with academic texts.

    Sure, I do see your point. But your armchair diagnosis is wrong and my writing is not anything like a side-product of some unsettled emotional “turmoil”. I write my way and I write with hilarious style and in addition on many levels also, quite often. The thing known as humour is running with my text all the time; in the margin. And there, in the margin, I make asides as well, constantly. My writing is an act, not just pouring thoughts on paper in civilized manner.

    And what comes to the movie Arrival. Uuh. In the final analysis, simpliciter – it just isn’t a very good movie;frankly, it is quite bad. And I could tell it immediately when it was rolling before my eyes (I sat on the second row middle in a theatre near me). And then I had to ask – wtf was that? Why was it such a disappointment? And why the hell had the critics been so generous towards it and its blatant problems. (Maybe one answer is that at least some of them get financial gain by puffing, pimping and promoting this flawed thing.)

    And regardless of my original and idiosyncratic writing style, I laid out solid and clear arguments and anwers (in my previous posts) concerning the movie and its failures.

    Also, your interpretation of my position is a bit skewed. I am not replacing an alien encounter with a basic relationship drama but rather I am about to write the movie which Arrival failed to be; a reinterpretation of its core ideas and themes. I will replace extra terrestrial aliens with terrestrial aliens of native and primitive tribes and their language.
    And work from there onwards.

    You see, Arrival was a failure in its attempt to dramatize Whorf’s key notions of language as it was a failure on the human drama scale. – What did it try to say, eventually? That we should hug each other no matter what colour we are or what language we speak? Or maybe that life is unique and once in a life-time – only that it comes around again? Or even: Would you live the “same” life again even if you saw it happening before your eyes before you lived it? Perhaps, after all: We do live even if we know we are gonna die some day, sooner or later. And the beauty about it lies in the fact that so did all the generations that preceded us as will do all the generations that will come after us. And we must not forget it: That we are not alone but one loop, one ring in the great chain of being and we must appreciate it. Well, what? Is it this then? Not that original but then agian what is nowadays? Anyway, it is poorly constructed and presented thesis in the flick and is only a token of a loose end.

    Maybe the movie only promotes cyclic worldview. Maybe indeed.

    Nevertheless, what comes to the telepathy thing. You put it ambigiously. My point was that Arrival pretended to be about linguistic communication between humans and aliens but it no, then it wanted something more, something grand. And used deus ex machina after the inkblots started to get boring and make rounds in the eyes of people. So, our cute and plain looking female linguist rises finally to heavens of aliens in a stony elevator to get some psychedelic vibes which needs no useless boring language. A bit like changing a sophisticated conversation to the real intercourse as the night progresses with your date. Okay, by all means. But do it better then and focus on sex on the beach of the dawn.

  • Jack Strider

    P.P.S: Mr. Oh Hoy, you seem to claim also that the decision done in Arrival were somehow inevitable due to the nature of the genre and subject matter. I don’t think so. You didn’t have to resort to telepathy or mind transfusion or whatever; on the contrary, it did spoil the movie alongside all the other bad decisions (like the stupid explosion with ten minute timer jesus). You can do this stuff without regressing to idiocy and without driving your plot to an impasse like they did here.

    Arrival could and should have been content with the signs and their interpretation; the needed breakthrough should have been just in a correct interpretation and in following tentative communication with an alien species. You can do it and do it well and with style. Arrival lost its way and faith, stumbled, panicked and resorted to a cheap shortcut: a stone lift into a cosmic mind fuck.

    Others have succeeded in what Arrival failed. I mean succeeded enough. There are pretty good movies in this category of scifi, nevertheless of the need to “forget realism”.

    Hence, my top 3 in transcendental scifi: 1) Sunshine; 2) Moon; 3) Gravity. – And then in an arbitrary order the rest of the bulk.

    One should study these movies in detail and as unities and use the result as a standard and measure stick for assessment of later candidates challenging the top 3.

    And no, I haven’t managed to see the Martian ever. Sorry. But I might give it a try. Someday.

  • Jack Strider

    Okay, guys. I think I “won”; that is, got the last word, and the last word is everything in this game called argumentation and criticism. And it does please me, I must say.

    Now you finally see my point, and the power of my vision and sophistication thereof. Even my “bizarre logic” turned out to be lucid and acute as I warned you, friends.

    By the same token, my sketch for a movie THE ART OF CARING BEES got your silent approval which is quite encouraging given your highly critical, to the point of “unfair”, attitude towards me and my ideas and writings here.

    Yeah, I will work on the script THE ART OF CARING BEES as a sideline to my more urgent undertakings and projects. And hopefully we can enjoy the fruits of this work in due course on the silver screen.

    I use this opportunity to address also all the potential somebodies and big shots of movie industry if some of you happen to read this site (and this post btw; this is a good place to be; lots of good guys write good stuff here as well as one superb critic even if our views about quality flicks and criteria for such diverge more often than not – so, you would do wise to frequent here regularly even if only to keep up with the fickle and changing tastes of audience and the currencies and trends in movie criticism).

    So, be it mr. Spike Jonze himself or, say, Paul Thomas Anderson (I salute you both; also, I salute you, Charlie Kaufman) or then some other director of artsy flair combined with a firm commercial grip of things, a producer or studio executive; his wife, assistant, secretary or lover but not cat or dog or cleaner lady – if you saw the light while reading my storyline sketch for THE ART OF CARING BEES and/or my critical comments on the movie Arrival out of which the idea emerged for writing THE definitive script on the budding themes not fully developed in that inconsistent and largely disappointing sci-fi film, feel free to contact me here and we are destined to make a homerun of a motion picture; a box office sensation and an art-house kind of a masterpiece.

    Once we have come to terms with and agreed upon the advance and possible other details of relevance I am ready to prioritize this writing project known at the moment as THE ART OF CARING BEES; a working title, no doubt, but I like it and its implications and cannot see any strong reasons to skip it even later. Anyways, you will be hearing about me rather sooner than later, if heavens don’t fall! Cheers, guys.

    Jack Strider

    author, critic, screenwriter

  • You may be the most obnoxious person ever to post comments at this site. You are gone.

  • Bluejay

    Heh. Gotta love assholes who think that continuing to talk while others have stopped engaging with them equals “winning.” And of course he didn’t get the last word anyway; YOU did. Nice Henry Fonda move.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzhH2hlNSfs

  • bronxbee

    and that was a pretty high bar to beat, considering some past commentators that overstepped the line.

  • amanohyo

    I swore I caught a glimpse of an interesting thought drifting in that ocean of anger and insecurity – it crystallized briefly in the distance before dissolving into condescending sarcasm.

  • GibsonGirl99

    As I have come to expect, you once again hit it outta the park, MaryAnn. Blessed be, and may you continue ad infinitum.

Pin It on Pinterest