Dead on Arrival? The movie everyone has raved about?

Okay — bad pun given what’s at the core of the plot.

I’d read and heard so many great things about this movie. Since we don’t do movie theaters in our household, it finally made it to on-demand (we do LOTS of on-demand), I decided to watch it.

I feel like Tom Hanks in Big: I don’t get it.

Yeah, it had to do with time and I spend a lot of time on time, pun intended, since my current series is the Time Patrol. And in Fifth Floor, I had to really ponder time and loops and parallel worlds and all that good stuff. Until my brain really hurt, but I could feel what Lara was feeling, wondering what exactly is her reality and her past, cause I kind of feel like that a lot. I feel like that right now. Like I’m sort of here, but not really here. And now.

I’ve read blogs by other scifi authors and fans raving about the movie and I’m sorry — well, I guess I don’t have to be sorry for my opinion. Hmm. Need to work on that. Who gives a crap?

I kind of feel like the guy who sat in the graduate Faulkner class where the teacher was going on about the use of the color yellow in Soldier’s Pay and I’m thinking: maybe his wallpaper was yellow when he was writing the book? Who the fuck knows? I did mention in that class that I thought Faulkner wrote better drunk than sober and you could really tell the difference and that didn’t go over well.

I do think there is a strain of literature and movies where people go “Wow, that was so good and so deep and blah blah blah” except in reality, it really made no sense but by pretending we understand it, we make ourselves seem smarter. Or maybe they just are smarter?

But that’s me. The contrarian. It’s a condition. Seriously. I wouldn’t be it if I can help it. That’s the thing about the brain. We’re born with some wiring in place, it gets softwared by our environment, our upbringing, and sometimes things crack, get wired wrong, or worse, don’t get wired at all. And you know what? You’re stuck with it. Now, you can get help. There are medications. There are therapists. You can act differently, but acting differently doesn’t mean you are different.

Also, back to the movie, being honest, using a dead child at the core of a plot sits hard with me, given our own experience. That’s an exclusive club you don’t want to be a member of.

I joke when I teach that writers aren’t in the bell curve and we’re not necessarily on the good side of that curve and I get a good laugh, but you know what? It’s not a joke. I know for certain there are things wrong in my brain. So perhaps that’s my problem with the movie. I didn’t connect the way others did. It’s like this blog. At conferences people tell me they like my blog and all that, but no one comments in real time. I sometimes read another blog and I think “Hey, that’s pretty much what I wrote” and there are like 200 comments there. And I hear the wind whispering in the empty branches in the comment sections here. So I accept it’s not like what I wrote.

I think I know some of the reasons for that, which loops back to not feeling the same about Arrival as others. My brain is a dark neighborhood where many do not want to venture.

So this blog is going to be more and more shining light on that dark neighborhood, because, well, it’s all I got. I’m not anyone else. Not going to pretend to be anyone else. Like Popeye.

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Originally published at writeitforward.com on February 5, 2017.

West Point grad; Special Ops Vet; NY Times bestseller of over 80 books; for free books and over 200 free downloadable slideshows go to www.bobmayer.com