One of the hallmarks of a bad movie is when the main character is unlikable and the movie doesn’t realize it. I saw this phenomenon over and over again in films featured in “Mystery Science Theater 3000” (“Mitchell,” anyone?), and so I was alert to it when I saw “The Arrival” in 1996. This guy, our supposed hero, is a jerk. Why would we root for him? I thought at the time that “The Arrival” would be perfect MST3K fodder, and felt vindicated when Entertainment Weekly said the same thing. And now, 13 years later, it is the subject of Eric’s Bad Movies at Film.com!
Watching it again, it strikes me more as a mediocre movie than an awful one — it might actually be one of the better films to be featured in Eric’s Bad Movies, though that isn’t saying much. There was no clear consensus among critics, either, which goes against my usual practice of spotlighting only films that are universally reviled. Luckily, since they are my rules, I’m allowed to break them.