Film Junk Podcast Episode #589: Arrival


0:00 – Intro / Reed’s Adumbrations
21:35 – Review: Arrival
45:20 – Spoiler Discussion: Arrival
1:54:50 – Headlines: Valerian Trailer, Ghost in the Shell Trailer
2:04:15 – Other Stuff We Watched: The Loner, Black Mirror, Contact, Weiner, The Arrival, Arrival 2, Predestination, Maelstrom
2:36:10 – Junk Mail: Doctor Strange Casting Controversy, How Trump’s Presidency Could Affect Documentaries, Up and Coming A-list Directors + Career Advice, Logging MST3K on Letterboxd, Most Suspenseful Movies
2:40:35 – This Week on DVD and Blu-ray / Reed’s Recommended Reading
2:49:55 – Outro

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  • Matt Gaffney

    The most painful, uninteresting opening in filmjunk history. #makefilmjunkgreatagain

  • Andrija

    You guys should make a dictionary that would translate English into “Reed English”. For example: pornography > ponogaphry.

  • Indianamcclain

    The only good thing that came out of the presidential announcement last week is that Frank doesn’t have to hear about U.S politics anymore.

  • The Ted Chiang story ARRIVAL is based on definitely involves aliens landing on Earth, and scientists meeting and working with them to learn their language.

  • devolutionary

    We really need to bring back Cantankerous (even if it’s only isolated installments). Reed can delve into his non-sympathy for Trump for hours on end w/o de-railing FilmJunk intros. Hard to believe he prepared his topics.

  • Frankie Knuckles

    This is the interview with the screenwriter that I referenced when I mentioned that:

  • Jay Cheel

    Apparently they don’t actually land on Earth, but rather broadcast signals to Earth via some sort of monitors.

  • Jameson

    I’m with Sean, I loved ARRIVAL. Probably my favorite Sci-Fi film since MOON.

  • Sam

    About Amy Adams’ lucrative house, can’t we ssume she was a pretty high standing university professor of a certain stature? Didn’t Forest Whittiker come to her specifically because she has assisted the government in the past, so she seems to be a go-to and possibly has received some kind of compensation, who knows? Amazing conversation

  • Reed Farrington

    We never get to see the salary negotiations when the government seeks help from scientists in these types of movies. :-)

  • Reed Farrington

    Haven’t seen Moon, yet, but your love of Arrival has lessened my desire to see it. :-)

  • Reed Farrington

    It will be great again next week. Stop your protests! :-)

  • Dan

    Sending much Reed love! I wish he was a regular!

  • Jameson

    Reed, I trust Moon would put you right to sleep.

  • Reed Farrington

    Right back at you, Dan, whomever you are! I’ve been told that I’m not a regular guy though. :-)

  • Sam

    I’m also in the camp of really like Arrival, and Sicario was also my favorite film of last year, as a reference point to Frank and Sean.

    I wonder if having kids helped Sean have it hit home and resonate more than it did for Jay and Frank.

  • Tommy

    Amy Adams definitely asks out loud why she’s seeing what she’s seeing (to be vague about it) during the movie somewhere around the reveal point.

  • Fair enough. I do think that the change to make them interact in person is only practical because ARRIVAL is a movie. I don’t think it represents a huge deviation from the story.

  • Lori Cerny

    If the Heptapods could see all time and space, why did Costello let Abbott die?

  • Lori Cerny

    Sorry this is off-topic, Reed, but you are the only professional Star Trek fan I know of.

    Have you been to Ticonderoga, NY, USA for the Star Trek Original Series Set Tour? If so, how was it?

  • Samb

    Sitting here thinking how much more rewarding my weekly FJ fix could be if they were able to concentrate more on movies with ideas worth discussing, like Arrival. So good to hear everyone really dig in.

  • Samb

    I say this fully understanding the realities of the marketplace, but still….

  • K.M.

    Loved the new episode of Cantankerous at the beginning. It’s been too long.

  • schizopolis

    The revelation in Arrival seemed more philosophical. Though, it was still emotional. I don’t think it was a cheap JJ Abrams’ type, gotcha reveal. The new language that supposed to rediscover their perception of time forces Louise to live more in the present. Does that make sense (without being too spoilery)? Every “vision” came during a specific moment, which affected her decisions..even thought it all seemed predetermined. It wasn’t clear (maybe intentionally) what she knew and when she knew. To the audience, they were always flashbacks. Remember when Louise came back from the ship alone and she said something like “now I know why my husband left me”. Then Ian said, “You had a husband?”. How could she not know who her husband is, right?

    When she finally got a better grasp of the language, she basically turns into a Jedi Master and becomes “enlightened”. So her big “decision” was not a big decision to her at all. Her world view and philosophy changed. It kind of blew me away.

    I can see why the Marquis de Mindfuck loved it.

  • polar909

    When I first watched it I thought that it was ambiguous enough to think that they were both flashbacks and flash-forwards, allowing for the idea of Louise being trapped in a cycle of this life. I found this to be a lot darker and more of a mind-fuck of an idea than that of them just being flash-forwards.

  • iammattz

    If one wanted to, the government of Ontario publishes the salaries of anyone who makes >$100K/yr annually. This list typically includes a number of tenured professors at universities… not sure how that would compare to where Amy Adams’ character lives but would be a decent reference point!

  • Reed Farrington

    In the flash-forwards, she didn’t know who her husband was because he never appeared in them. When she says that line about knowing why he left, I think it has something to do with her revealing to him later that she knew what was going to happen.

  • Reed Farrington

    I just wanted to add a coda to the supermoon topic. I actually got motion sickness looking through the telescope at the moon because I was constantly switching lenses and focusing. Some astronaut I would make.

  • Reed Farrington

    I think it was the best FJ discussion of a film that I’ve participated in.

  • Reed Farrington

    This is something that linear creatures like us can’t understand, Lori. For the Heptapods, everything has already happened. I’m guessing that in their language, there is no idea of being able to change things because they have no concept of change. But I suppose you could argue that to understand linear beings, they would have to know about time. Still, they can’t change anything.

  • Reed Farrington

    No, I haven’t. I guess if I was more of an adventurer then I would make the trip which isn’t actually that far away from where I live. I don’t go to conventions to meet actors anymore either.

  • I’m going to go out on a limb here and say the difference between Sean enjoying the film (and my own relationship with it) and the rest of the crew not enjoying it nearly as much, is the fact that Sean has a kid(s) and (I’m pretty sure) the rest of the guys don’t. That relationship between a parent and child is basically the entire core of the experience.

  • Reed Farrington

    I suppose if the kid had been a dog, I would have increased my rating by 0.5. :-)

  • scab

    When did you guys stop putting star ratings alongside the podcast?

    As I won’t listen to the show until after seeing the film, I’d love to know who rated what (Sean especially, as his taste aligns closest to my own).

  • Reed Farrington

    Sean was the only one to really like Arrival, so now you know, scab.

  • scab

    Good thing the internet access isn’t restricted. Thanks, Gerry.

  • Sean

    Star ratings are still in the Show Notes section, as they have always been. Sometimes I am little slow to add them but you can also check our Letterboxd pages as well.

  • Wayne Regier

    Lets not forget her security clearance. The General calls on Louise not only for expertise but due to the fact that she had a certain security clearance. These can be worth tons of money.
    I worked a short time as a contractor for the D.O.D. ( The U.S. Department of Defense) and I was not given any security clearance but worked as a “NonCleared” contractor and given a rank of E7. My Escorts needed to be within arms reach of me at all times as I was not cleared but working in a Top Secret facility.These Escorts were fresh out of boot camp and ranked around an E2-3.
    The job was incredibly simple manual labor but payed 5X what the same job payed to outside contractors. My civilian boss out ranked the Navy Chief that over saw the operation. This boss had more clearance than the Chief and often escorted the Chief around. The boss made 6 figures in a matter of months doing almost nothing but being compensated by the government for his Security Clearance.
    This can be extremely lucrative and often occurs with a “No Bid”contract where no other outside companies need to be vetted by cost or low bidding wars. 1st one to bid gets paid. Paid a lot.
    U.S tax dollars at work.

  • Brian.M

    Hah! Initially I thought you were insinuating the original poster was a scab, but it’s their handle…so that’s that.

  • Glen

    It could be part of her divorce settlement too.

  • Mister Quigley Jr.

    Nice to hear Reed again. Hope him and Greg can come back for Rogue One.

  • Reed Farrington

    Assuming she had been divorced…

  • gibson8

    Fuck you Matt!

  • gibson8

    That’s pronunciation not translation fuckface. What you are suggesting is essentially prejudicial discrimination whether you’re joking or not.

  • Reed Farrington

    Take a downer, gibson8. I’m not offended.

  • Reed Farrington

    Take another downer, gibson8. Thx for the support, but I don’t mind a jibe, good-natured or not.

  • no one important

    This is my non sensical rant on Arrival.

    I have to side with Sean on liking this more then Interstellar. That was a massive disappointment. I certainly didn’t love this and the more I think about it, those cracks get bigger and bigger. The rules of the time language thing for starters was kind of silly and not explained really well. The aliens, with their time traveling abilities obviously knew our language, and their purpose for being here was to teach their language to us for their own gain in the future. Why not just use our language to tell us that is why they are here. An alien race with such amazing technology cant squirt out a few words in english? “Hey humans, calm the fuck down, we just want to teach you our groovy speak, you are gunna dig it”

    Disclaimer, I was dozing off toward the end but was Amy Adams job at the end to teach everyone how to do this? Is that what her book was about? She used information from the future to influence the present so wouldn’t, for example, the Chinese leader, once he learnt the language react in a completely different way on the aliens arrival. Wouldn’t everyone now having this knowledge?

    No one seemed excited that aliens had arrived. Me personally.. I’d be super excited if aliens arrived. An alien race arriving, only two scenarios can result. They kick our arses, or they want to be our friend. No way would a species capable of intergalactic travel land on a planet that would pose any significant threat. “They have bigger guns, umm let’s try the next one.” It would be absolutely idiotic to think we could defend ourselves. We are at their mercy. Why wasn’t anyone excited? If they were here to kick our arses they wouldn’t diddle daddle about it.

    All the news reports in this movie at the beginning were annoying, all the early footage looked like they were filmed on VHS tape. Really, that’s the best footage the tv stations could get? Doesn’t anyone have a smart phone?

    A good time travel movie, probably the most perfect is Timecrimes. It makes sense and follows rules. Check it out.

  • Sean

    The aliens couldn’t speak our language initially. That was part of Amy Adam’s job and why she was holding up signs and using Jeremy Renner to demostrate things.

    Amy Adams is seen teaching everyone the alien language in the future but when she talks to the Chinese general, he did not understand the language at that point in time. She just had to convince him to trust her.

  • Jameson


    In regards to Amy Adams’ decision to not change her future seeming obvious, I think you can look at it as her decision was no while Jeremy Renner’s was yes in that he would not have wanted to have a child knowing they’d die of cancer. To me it plays into the entire theme of communication and how vital it is to communicate to understand one another, yet we tend to lack communication in our personal choices which leads to consequential actions…in this case divorce.

  • Eric D

    I’m with Sean on this one, I loved it and can’t wait for a re-watch… but the only real issue I had with the entire movie was the weird narration by Jeremy Renner thrown in the middle of the movie for that montage. They never showed who he was talking to; was it a recording for notes, was he talking directly to the audience? Kind of weird. They might as well have thrown in a Tarantino voice over halfway through the movie to sum up what was going on.