Monday, April 03, 2017

Ask JKM a Question: Arrival (2016)?

A regular reader, David, writes:

"John, I cannot believe that you have not reviewed Arrival yet on your blog! It is one of the best science fiction movies of recent years, and an award winner too.  

Do you have any plans to feature it?

Is there some reason why you are ignoring it?"

David, you are not alone in your disbelief, let me say.

I have had probably ten e-mails from readers asking me to review Arrival

I have not done so yet because I simply haven't had the time to devote to a film that I know will represent one of my most important reviews in years.  

I have seen the film -- and I agree with your assessment -- but sometimes when a movie gets so many things right, and handles matters so beautifully, I pull back. I start feeling insecure.

I want to do the film justice, and get gun-shy, or fear that I will fail to do so. 

Yes, I know this isn't a good or healthy response, but I'm being honest. I've been putting off the review since the film was released for streaming a few months back.

I've also been holding back because -- as you may or may not know -- I am a college communication instructor, and Arrival deals explicitly with my subject matter. It deals with something I teach (Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis) and even name-checks it in the body of the film  

So again, I'm doubly motivated to get my review right, and therefore putting pressure on myself.

But no more hedging. 

Look tomorrow morning, Tuesday, for my in-depth review of Arrival!

Don't forget to ask me a question at


  1. I loved your self-reflection. I've felt this way many times when tackling something with which I have considerable reverence. Blade Runner certainly comes to mind. So hard to get back to that.

    And I suspect many of us who enjoy writing feel this way at times.

    But kudos to you for pushing through those challenges.

    1. Hi SFF,

      Thank you for such a validating and supportive comment. I think we totally understand each other. We love film (and TV, and Anime...) and when we write, we seek not to tear down, but to illuminate why we love these productions so much.

      It's a terrible feeling to not hit the mark on something that you enjoy, that gives you pleasure, and that, as you say, you feel reverence for.

      I will say this: I have never felt let down, or like you missed the mark in your writing.

      But I suspect you and I both feel very much like we have to chew over things for a while, which is what is nice about the blog format. No one is pressing us for a review on the day of release.

      Kindred spirits!

      Thank you, from one writer, to another.


  2. John, wow. As always thank you for the inspiration and support my friend. Greatly appreciated sir. g