Ok that title is pretty much a no brainer. I don't know anyone who actually likes spoilers... and yet every time a trailer for a big movie drops, it gets 12 million views.
One of the reasons I had no urge to see Titanic is that I already knew the damn ending.
I could never wrap my head around it. When I go to see a movie, I usually like to think. Considering I have seen thousands of movies, I am incredibly impressed when a movie surprises me. I am even more impressed when one seriously tricks me. But thanks to being inundated by spoilers everywhere, that is becoming less and less likely.
I held out as long as I could. I spent much of my life on a personal crusade against spoilers. It reached the point of mania.
When I was younger, it was much easier to avoid having a movie ruined. It seemed that the creators of theatrical trailers and television commercials prided themselves on attempting to pique the audience's interest without giving too much away. People were forced to use their brains to fill in what they thought might happen in a movie. Then they had to decide if what they imagined was intriguing enough to plop down $5 and two hours of their time (yeah I wrote "$5"... I am talking about 25 years ago).
Now THAT is a trailer. Even the main character has no idea what the hell is going on.
However, in more recent memory, it seems that these same creators are now trying to give away the entire movie in their previews. Have audiences become so stupid that they cannot possibly fill in the gaps with their own imaginations? Have they become so addicted to instant gratification that they need to see all of the best parts of a movie before they can decide if it will be worth while?
I'll let you be the judge of that. I don't want to spoil your fun of figuring that out for yourself.
Now back to my mania. For years, I made it a point to never watch a trailer on YouTube (you know that thing that used to be popular before they started censoring people and cutting off their revenue streams). I avoided every television commercial. Here's where it gets weird. In addition to these "normal" strategies, I also routinely found myself walking out of a theater if a preview for a movie I had intended to see filled the screen. When my wife and I first started dating, I played this off as me needing to hit the bathroom one last time before the movie started. But in reality I was being an obsessive loon.
Me when a preview for a movie I want to see comes on.
A new challenge presented itself after my wife and I had kids. When my children were younger and I took them to the movies without my wife, I couldn't exactly abandon them in the theater while I hid from a preview. I certainly wasn't going to get them out of their seats after spending 22 minutes getting them properly seated in the first place. Therefore, in the event that a preview for a movie I wanted to see began to play, I did what any normal adult with two children would do. I stared at the floor, or closed my eyes and covered my ears.
I wish I were kidding.
But I am not.
The journey on which I embark when I experience a movie is really that important to me. I don't want it ruined by anything. I want to think, wonder and be surprised. Even when I see a mindless "popcorn" movie, I always judge it by whether or not the creators managed to work in something I had never seen in the thousands of movies I have seen before it. All of that fun can be ruined by a 2 minute trailer.
Unfortunately, I simply can't keep up the fight anymore. I have been forced to concede defeat. Hollywood and its unstoppable advertising machine has bested me and there is only one person to blame...
My thirteen year old son Timmy.
Actually, because this happened over two years ago, to be more precise it was my ten year old son Timmy.
When you become a father, you need to make room for a whole new type of fun by setting aside some of your previous methods of entertainment. For example, I had to stop hanging out at clubs or playing video games until 6:00 A.M. However, for 10 years, I was able to hold on to my unspoiled movie fun.
Sadly, I held on a little too long.
When news broke that Disney was going to resurrect The Star Wars franchise, many of my friends scoured the web to find every piece of information they could. They counted down the days until the next preview was slated to be released. They bought tickets to movies they had no interest in seeing just to catch a glimpse of what could be included in the next installment of the saga. They followed gossip mongers on twitter and shared all of their findings.
My friends rushing to consume every preview and rumor.
But not me. I made a solemn vow to go into the theater on opening night a complete virgin. I wanted to be a totally blank slate. To make it even more fun, I included my son in this crusade to avoid the cursed spoiler.
When a preview would appear on TV, he or I would quickly change the channel. If a story popped up online I closed the window immediately. When friends started talking about the latest rumors I walked away... closely followed by my mini me. The same was true in the theater. When a preview began, I looked at him, said "come on R2, we're going"and then raced out of the theater. We crossed our arms and looked at each other in the satisfaction of knowing we were far superior to all of these fools who were ruining their Star Wars experience.
Then one day approximately 6 weeks before the movie opened, Timmy came home from school crying. His friends at his lunch table were talking about all of the Star Wars previews and rumors they had heard. He had tried to get them to stop but they were all too excited. He attempted to move tables but a teacher told him he could not. Therefore, he did the only thing he could. He put his hood up and placed his head on the table while covering his ears.
I had made my son... a crazy person.
Just like his old man.
As soon as Timmy had finished relating the story to me, I immediately apologized and told him my method was incredibly outdated. Perhaps in my day we could avoid spoilers. But now, they were everywhere. The only way to avoid them was to be an obsessed lunatic... like his old man. I felt terrible. How much fun with his friends had I robbed him of? How much fun could we have had exchanging theories leading up the movie?
I said, "You know what Timmy, if you can't beat them... join them." And we did. We watched 6 months worth of Star Wars previews, theories, and rumors in a little over three hours. It was awesome! It also didn't ruin my fun one bit.
I used this experience as a way to teach him about moderation. I explained how I had gone way overboard in my zeal to be the purest who would rise above the hype. Because of that, I had lost out on some fun times.
The next day, he joined his buddies in talking about their favorite topic.
Clearly, I still hate spoilers. That is why I never include any in my movie reviews. Some may say that this lack of detail makes my reviews superficial and hollow, but I don't care. When I write them, I am pretending that I am talking to a friend who is on the fence as to whether or not they should spend their time and money on a movie. I pride myself on being able to give them advice without ruining their experience.
Sorry. I just couldn't keep this one to myself. Everyone has a limit.
However, thanks to my son, I have learned to temper my lunacy. I am no longer a zealot who refuses to even look at a movie poster before the release. I have learned to enjoy trailers (especially the ones that resemble music videos). Sure it has ruined a surprise or two, but it has also lead to a lot less stress and embarrassing quick escapes.
When you decide to have kids, you are making a conscious choice to make sacrifices. Some are big and some are rather insignificant. Giving up my non-spoiler mania is clearly the latter. But one thing is for sure, you better be ready to make them.
Believe me, you don't want anything to spoil the fun of being a mom or dad.