The Arrival (1996)

“If you can’t tend to your own planet, you don’t deserve to live here.”

Justin’s rating: Go Charlie, go Charlie go!

Justin’s review: This is a movie about Charlie Sheen and his goatee. Sure, there are aliens and badness, but that could never come between a man and his meticulously trimmed facial hair. While normally such facial fuzz serves the purpose of allowing the wearer to blend in at trendy suburbanite bars, under duress the goatee can become a veritable powerhouse of defensive mechanisms. For instance, if a really cute girl tries to kiss Zane (Sheen) and she turns out to be an alien, the goatee leaps into action and gives her/it a serious beard burn. Later, when Zane is lost in the Sahara desert and is starving for sustenance, he can survive from the food crumbs and collected sweat pooled up in his goatee. It’s a symbiotic love story!

The Arrival is more or less the entire run of the X-Files boiled down to a snappy little movie. Radio astronomer Zane discovers proof of extra terrestrials, but this discovery sends his life plummeting into the can. All excited and wild-eyed, he’s got the makings of an internet raving conspiracist, except that Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet. In the space of a day, Zane loses his job, his credibility, his girlfriend, and his friends. Looks like a few people want to keep his discovery on the hush and hush, eh? When a man has no place left to go, he’s got the rest of the film to vindicate himself.

Zane builds a homemade radio antenna and enlists the help of a young sidekick in order to give him an excuse for blatant exposition. Together, they reacquire the signal, which leads them to the alien’s base of operation: Mexico!

Yup, thought there was nothing to fear from our neighbors south of the border, other than the rampaging Montezuma’s Revenge? Boy have you been duped. Zane discovers that the aliens have already invaded and are using the thousands of Taco Bell joints to provide employment for the crowds of immigrants. What happens next? Well, we break the aliens’ backward kneecaps, that’s what!

It’s nothing shocking or new, but I’ve always had a slight soft spot for The Arrival, possibly because of the goatee, and possibly because the aliens are so incredibly lame (their methods of assassination include falling bathtubs, carbon monoxide poisoning, a spinning ball, and scorpions) that it’s a joy to see them get what’s coming to them. Heh. Dumb aliens.

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