November 11, 2016, - 4:26 pm

Weekend Box Office: Arrival (Pretentious, OVERRATED!), Almost Christmas

By Debbie Schlussel


So we’re into November and, usually, at this time of year, the movies are supposed to get better. Right now, it seems like it’s just hype getting bigger. (I did not see “Shut In,” which was not screened for critics and didn’t have any nearby early showings–both bad signs.)

* Arrival – Rated PG-13: This movie is waaaay overrated. Liberal movie critics are falling all over themselves to gush about this nothing movie. Don’t believe the hype. In fact, it’s a crappy movie. This movie emperor wears no clothing. It’s long, slow, and boring, and nothing really ever happens. I never thought I’d hate an aliens-from-space movie, but this managed to induce me to that state. This is how liberals idealize dealing with aliens and fellow humans. It’s soooo pretentious. And so dumb. It will also be confusing to most moviegoers.

This is a snoozefest chick flick parading as something else. If you enjoy constant flashbacks to a single mother playing with and lamenting over her young daughter who died of cancer, then this is for you. For everyone else, this is a dud.

And there are a couple of cheap tricks used at the end of the movie to explain what is unexplainable. It doesn’t pass the smell test. I felt ripped off. On top of that, the script hides the relationship between some of the characters. Like I said, the whole thing makes for a confusing ending for the average moviegoer. It’s almost like you need a movie whisperer or a Cliffs Notes aide to help you figure it.

The story: twelve pod-style spaceships from outer space land all over the world. Well, they don’t really “land,” so much as they hover. There’s one hovering over a field in the United States. U.S. government officials can’t communicate with the aliens aboard the pods because they can’t understand the alien language, which is essentially a bunch of pictures that look like puffs of smoke in the shapes of circles.

Amy Adams plays the aforementioned single mother of the young daughter who died of cancer. She’s a linguistics professor who is recruited by the feds to go to the alien pod over the U.S. and try to figure out their language. This is necessary to tell the aliens we are peaceful and to find out if the aliens are peaceful (and why they are here). There, she and a physicist (Jeremy Renner) try to communicate with the aliens.

The movie is supposed to be a statement on miscommunications between humans. It’s a “statement” I could do without. There’s nothing enlightening or the very least interesting here. Anyone who says otherwise is delusional or a pretentious, phony intellectual.


Watch the trailer . . .

* Almost Christmas – Rated PG-13: It seems every year around this time, there is a dopey movie about a dysfunctional large family that gets together for Christmas while feuding, hiding secrets, and ultimately making amends toward a happy ending. I usually hate these movies because they’re mostly incredibly dumb. Often these movies feature a Black family with a typical racist caricature: the token moronic idiot White character–usually a girlfriend or husband or something. This one is the Black family version, and this time around the White dummy is a campaign manager to one of the characters. In this, the White idiot wasn’t as stupid as usual and is very minor to the movie. That said, I enjoyed this movie and laughed a lot. It was very funny and could’ve been any family, Black or White.

A couple of caveats: one star of the movie is America-hating shoulder-chip wearer Danny Glover. Also, it features the forever annoying Mo’Nique. And you know what I always say about her: we need less Nique, not Mo. In this, though, she was well cast. And the movie features the ever-hilarious J.B. Smoove (who made me laugh endlessly as Leon in “Curb Your Enthusiasm”).

The story: Everyone in a large family–and their spouses and kids–return home for Christmas with their widowed father (Glover). They are constantly feuding, and their father has to constantly lecture them that they just need to get along for five days–the five days leading up to and including Christmas. But, of course, they don’t listen. There are the two feuding sisters. One sister is a single mother whose old high school suitor wants to romance her again, but she’s not interested. The other sister is married to Lonnie (Smoove), a former pro-basketball player who can’t move past his glory years in sports. And there are two sons. One of them is a star college football player who pops too many pills. The other is running for Congress and is married with two Youtube-video-obsessed kids. Finally, there is the aunt (Mo’Nique), a back-up singer who can’t cook. She is the sister of Glover’s deceased wife.

This isn’t a “great” movie. Not even close or even in the same galaxy. And there’s nothing new in it. The stuff in here has been done to death, frankly. But, still, I couldn’t stop laughing (even though some laughs came cheaply) and was entertained.


Watch the trailer . . .

17 Responses

I agree about Arrival. In fact this lover of science fiction actually closed my eyes twice because it made me sleepy. The story is not unique, however, the writer needed to cut about twenty minutes. FOrest Whitaker was wasted as a one dimensional person.

SPOILER ALERT- giving her the gift of non linear thought and then saying humanity needed to work together so they can help the aliens 3,000 years in the future. Seemed to come of to hokey.

Glen Benjamin on November 12, 2016 at 8:31 am

    I couldn’t agree more re. arrival. Proof positive that internet ratings are just advertising. Boring, insipid, nonsensical story line. Oh and right on cue somehow Hollywood managed to squeeze in there that we the good guys and the Russians and Chinese are the baddies. Puerile. There is no spoiler. There’s nothing to spoil!! Wasted 2 hours of my life.

    Greg on February 24, 2017 at 4:27 pm

As always, thank you Debbie for your honest reviews.

DinaK on November 12, 2016 at 8:53 am

Debbie once again thanks for your spot on reviews. I like both Lois Lane and Hawkeye as the leads in Arrival but I’ll just wait until it becomes a rental. As for Almost Christmas as a general principle I will never see a movie with the old America hating racist Obama sycophant Danny Glover. He has made it his mission to denigrate this country and anyone who disagrees with his sanctimonious lefist dogma. Typical Black liberal knucklehead. As a result my mission that I choose to accept will be not to give one red cent to anything he’s involved in.

Ken B on November 12, 2016 at 11:12 am

Thank you Ms Schlussel for an enlightened appraisal of Arrival. What a waste of time.

Ted Travis on November 13, 2016 at 11:51 am

Because of my interest in S.E.T.I. (i.e., the “Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence”), which I run on my computer (among other scientific research programs), I had looked forward to seeing, “ARRIVAL”.

But, I was hospitalized for major lumbar spinal surgery, so I missed it, along with all the other Veterans Day activities, including my free meal at the local Golden Corral Restaurant.

Thanks for letting me know that I didn’t waste my money going to the theater for nothing.

Now, if I can only get over this terrible pain!

I keep falling down, and at one point, I had to use the emergency 911 call button clipped to my shirt collar to summon the ambulance to pick me up from off the floor.

Anyway, I almost NEVER go to movies or eat at restaurants.

John Robert Mallernee on November 14, 2016 at 7:07 am

Hey Deb, did you get a chance to see “Hacksaw Ridge”, saw it this weekend with my mom, it is a fantastic movie, sacrifice, courage, faith, conviction. True story. Also a reminder of the horror of war, getting a visual of WWII Okinawa hand to hand is brutally educational.

DC: I saw it and had mixed feelings about it. The director is a Jew-hater who is also anti-war. And the movie was very anti-war (when WWII–which it is about–was a war which we were righteous to enter and morally required to fight). The hero of the movie, however, is a righteous guy. I will post my review soon. Thanks, DS

DaveC on November 14, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    I also see similarities between the fight until the death, never surrender philosophy of the WWII Japanese (I remember seeing clips of them jumping of cliffs rather than surrender), and the jihadists of today. Death culture.

    DaveC on November 16, 2016 at 7:50 pm

There are a handful of liberal actors that are so obnoxious and hateful that I will not pay to see any movie with them in it.
Danny Glover is one of those actors.
End of discussion as far as I’m concerned.

Steve G on November 14, 2016 at 9:27 pm

I have not seen the movie “Arrival”.

Nor am I going to see it.

One would think that in what ever the span of time is in the movie, the aliens and us wold figure out neither one of us will cause harm to the other.

Panhandle on November 17, 2016 at 1:51 pm

Wish I’d read your review before wasting our money on the movie, “Arrival”. We trusted the Rotten Tomatoes good rating, which was a mistake. I nearly fell asleep. If someone wants flashbacks with time theme and aliens, then I’d recommend the old movie, “Slaughterhouse Five”.

Meg on November 26, 2016 at 3:36 am

Not enough transforming robots for you Debbie? First time to your website, but within 1 paragraph of your review I just HAD to hit your “About Debbie” tab to see if I was right about you, and sure enough…there it was. Fox News Muslim hating conservative who hates anything that even resembles an olive branch.

Kevin on December 27, 2016 at 5:41 pm

Dont care about the political implications….This was a boring movie. I’d admit I was a little tired when i saw it but I didnt like Arrival at all

Patrick on January 27, 2017 at 4:29 pm

The media is definitely liberal, and embrace anything that has a message of diversity, unification and tolerance.

But taking out all the left wing right wing crap, this movie was just bad. It’s a snorefest where nothing happens. Interstellar has the same theme and style but was far superior.

It’s crazy how this is getting a near perfect score on Rotten, but again that’s the liberal media for you.

Mochan on February 16, 2017 at 5:29 am

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Robot 2.0 Movie 2017 Official Trailer on February 27, 2017 at 8:26 am

I completely agree with your Arrival review. I just watched it and it totally sucked. Exactly like you said it’s a chick flick in disguise as a sci-fi. It’s full of cheap tricks and subliminal tactics only morons will fall for. Liberals in particular. They make a big deal out of the bereft linguist who isn’t actually bereaving yet. But you aren’t supposed to know that. The plot twist is not INHERENT to the story but simply because they TOLD it that way. I hate movies that do that. It’s cheap. The story should control/contain it’s own structure, not because filmmakers decide to show only certain things at certain times. It’s all ambiguous and nothing is every really resolved. The story is paradoxical to the point everything is destined anyways. It’s ridiculous. And it’s so typically liberal. Yuck. I cannot think of the right words to explain all my sentiments about this film and I could go on and on trying to figure out the best way to get it all out so I’ll just end it with this which pretty much sums up my general thoughts on it: Arrival was designed from conception to appeal to the dumb masses and is in NO WAY an intelligent movie.

Peter on April 15, 2017 at 3:13 am

This movie had a nice premise but then it threw it all away by becoming AWFUL. This is the truth.

Abyx on January 30, 2018 at 8:37 am

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