I came across this post from a ‘fellow traveler’ I admire. He was describing what he was blogging about at this point last year. Keeping in line with this, I’ll go a step further and analyse my post from two years back. Around this time in 2016, I reviewed Arrival. I watched it in the cinemas on Saturday and I recall it being a very boring watch. The glowing reviews initially intrigued me, but a quarter through the film I realised that it wasn an errant decision. Arrival was very slow-moving and the premise, while original, didn’t tickle my fancy. We’ve seen many space flicks at the cinema, and I highlighted this in my post. From Gravity to Interstellar and The Martian, the bar was set high, maybe a little too high, for Arrival.
When other friends asked me about it later on, I’d often reply that it was ‘a rubbish movie’. Amy Adams was nominated for an Oscar with her performance. The picture likewise boasted Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker in its cast. However, I didn’t buy the painstaking drama. Someone jokingly suggested that I should’ve just seen Nocturnal Animals, the thriller production which Adams also headlined. Even though told in jest, I was convinced that Nocturnal was still an upgrade over Arrival. Meanwhile, it was quite a humid day, that I remember. I didn’t dress according to the weather, as I donned skinny cotton blend denim. I also made the mistake of drinking a beer later on; my friend and I had some merienda at the club.
While an underwhelming one, the Arrival debacle was also a learning experience. Don’t always trust the critics, and neither should you buy everything audiences say. Movie watching is a unique perception: what works for many may not work for you, and vice versa. At the same time, I must acknowledge that viewing films can be hit or miss. To some extent, trips to the cinema can be a gamble. That’s why getting as much information as possible is crucial, but be wary of spoilers.
Since Arrival, I’ve only witnessed one space-themed film: First Man, which I reviewed here last month. Both were heavy dramas and a far cry from The Martian with its uproarious humour. One writer has even tagged Arrival as ‘one of the best movies of 2017, one you’ve never heard of’.
Two years ago
2016 was a good year at the movies. I managed to see many films with the added benefit of not being sequels. These days, finding such gemstones are a rarity. I’ve highlighted this saturation in past posts as well.
We could learn some lessons from the past. In the future, through our own hindsight, we could avoid the same mistakes. Whether small errors, like the choice of movie, or bigger ones down the road, in-game adjustments are a staple of human progress.