Welcome to 90 from the ‘90s; the movie-related post in which I watch, discuss and debate a film from the 1990s – a film that I’ve NEVER SEEN. This morning’s entry is…

Arlington Road (1999)

At the beginning of this long journey with ’90s movies, I compiled a list of films I hadn’t seen. Amongst this list was Arlington Road – a film I was very, very unfamiliar with.

How unfamiliar?

Until this very moment I was convinced that Arlington Road was a movie about the real-life murderer, John Christie. It is only now, during a brief moment of clarity, that I’ve suddenly remembered that Christie was associated with 10 Rillington Place – not anywhere called Arlington Road.

I’ve completely mixed these two up! I don’t know anything about Arlington Road.

Zilcho.

Zero.

Absolutely nothing at all.

I’m now quite excited that I don’t know anything about this film. I don’t even know who stars in it!

*Clicks the play button*

5mins – Jeff Bridges has just discovered a traumatised an injured boy in the middle of the street. This is a very strong, very dramatic opening. I’m hooked.

6mins – At the hospital, Bridges has met with the boys parents – Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I don’t trust these people. There’s something I can’t quite put my finger on, but these guys don’t seem like honest people.

11mins – Bridges is a widowed, single parent. He’s also a teacher. I feel like some of this information will prove important later in the movie.

14mins – Robbins and Cusack are hosting a barbecue and by the looks of it they’ve invited the whole neighbourhood. THEY MUST BE EVIL – who else would invited so many people to their house?

20mins – Bridges doesn’t trust Robbins. Bridges is on the same wavelength as me.

21mins – Is this movie about terrorism? It seems to be something that Bridges is talking about a lot. Are Robbins and Cusack terrorists?

26mins – Robbins collects sketches/blueprints of different buildings. Yeah, they’re terrorists. I mean, let’s look at the clues: Robbins wants to spend time with the entire neighbourhood, he collects blueprints and is played by nondescript actor, Tim Robbins. He’s clearly evil. By association, this makes Cusack a terrorist too.

29mins 30secs – I think I’ve got this movie pegged. Robbins and Cusack are terrorists and Bridges is going to have to uncover their secret. Now either I watch too many movies or I’ve cracked the code for determining who is most likely to be the bad guys. It’s never the moustache-twirling people in the corner of the room, it’s always the loud, happy-go-lucky people who want to be part of the community.

44mins – And now a flashback to explain how Bridges’ wife died.

45mins – So, her death had nothing to do with terrorism – it was a case of mistaken identity. There’s a message here about being certain of who you are dealing with before you rush in. I wonder if this message will be revisited before the end of the film?

54mins 50secs – “Our house is your house.” Yep – only an evildoer would ever utter that statement.

1hr 23mins – I quite like Jeff Bridges in this movie. I don’t watch enough movies with Jeff Bridges. I feel I should.

1hr 27mins – The truth is starting to come out. Robbins is admitting to being evil. As if it’s taken this long for him to admit it.

1hr 36mins – Bridges is getting frantic over this whole situation and is starting to look a little unhinged. I get this same look when I’m in a supermarket and three people ahead of me are trying to pay for alcohol through unattended self-service checkouts. WHY DO PEOPLE DO THIS? WHY?! They’re going to need someone to check their ID before they can pay, so why use self-service? WHY?!

ARRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!

1hr 36mins 30secs – Sorry…. it just annoys me.

1hr 37mins – Now where was I? Oh yes… Bridges looks unhinged.

1hr 39mins – Bridges vs. Robbins!

1hr 40mins – Robbins is trying to justify being terrorist. This is the kind of ass-hat thinking that results in him taking a bottle of Johnnie Walker through the self-service checkout. Probably.

1hr 42mins – I’m now into the final 15 minutes. The music has become very dramatic. Something important is about to happen.

1hr 44mins – Bridges is now beyond unhinged – he’s in full on insanity mode. He’s trying to save his son and stop a bomb from going off… by driving around in his car at a ridiculously fast pace. He’s definitely going to get a speeding ticket for this.

1hr 47mins – Bridges has a lead on the bomb and it looks like he’s about to save the day. Maybe he won’t get a ticket after all.

1hr 48mins – Ah, shit! The bomb was in Bridges’ car this whole time! He’s taken the device to its intended location… and it’s blown up! Bridges has just been killed! I did not see that coming!

1hr 50mins – No way. Bridges is dead, Robbins achieved his goal, and now everyone thinks Bridges was a terrorist. They think he did all this to get revenge on the FBI, who he blamed for the death of his wife. I really should have seen this coming, but I didn’t. I guess that flashback about the death of his wife WAS really important.

1hr 51mins 55secs – Now completely parentless, Bridges’ son has been taken into care. Blimey, what an ending!

*Clicks stop button*

A perfectly serviceable thriller with a very good twist at the end. I’ll be honest, that twist just saved the movie from being completely predictable, but it was a great way to conclude the film.

As mentioned above, I went into this movie 100% blind and now I’ve come out of it fairly content by the result. It’s certainly not the best thriller, but Arlington Road makes for a decent post-takeaway, pre-bedtime, Saturday night thriller…

…or in this case, an enjoyable way to pass a Sunday morning.

Of course, if you’ve never seen this movie then I’ve kind of just ruined the twist. And when I say “kind of”, I mean “I have” just ruined the twist.

Ah, well…sorry about that.

Right, that’s 80 movies down, so that leaves me with just ten movies to go.

For past entries in the 90 from the ’90s series, check out: Coneheads (1993), Disclosure (1994)The Secret Agent Club(1996)Fear (1996)Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995)Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (1996)Sudden Death (1995)Balto (1995)Another 48 Hours (1990)What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993)Saving Private Ryan (1998), Reservoir Dogs (1992)Flubber (1997)The Big Lebowski (1998)FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)Free Willy (1993)The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)Air Bud (1997)Robin Hood (1991)Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (1999)Hercules and Xena: The Battle for Mount Olympus (1998)Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story (1993)Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)F/X2: The Deadly Art of Illusion (1991)Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999)Showgirls (1995)American History X (1998)North (1994)Jack Frost (1998)Psycho (1998)A League of Their Own (1992)Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)Patch Adams (1998)My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)You’ve Got Mail (1998)Sleepless in Seattle (1993)Graveyard Shift (1990)Johnny Mnemonic (1995)Striptease (1996)Indecent Proposal (1993)My Girl 2 (1994)The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)Poison Ivy (1996)Body of Evidence (1993)Turbulence (1997)Fatal Instinct (1993)True Romance (1993)Newsies (1992)Contact (1997)The Pelican Brief (1993)Natural Born Killers (1994)Shakespeare in Love (1998)A Perfect Murder (1998)Quigley Down Under (1990)Of Mice and Men (1992)Friday (1995)Mannequin on the Move (1991)She’s All That (1999)Double Dragon (1994)Stay Tuned (1992)Murder at 1600 (1997),Weekend at Bernie’s II (1993)My Own Private Idaho (1991)Wagons East (1994)In the Line of Fire (1993)Postcards from the Edge (1990)Universal Soldier (1992)Passenger 57 (1992)Mo’ Better Blues (1990)The Client (1994)Good Will Hunting (1997)Pump Up the Volume (1990)Mr. Nanny (1993)Fargo (1996)Hudson Hawk (1991)So I Married An Axe Murderer (1993) and Timecop (1994).