Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tuesday Talkback - Do you seek out spoilers?

We live in a world where the internet has made it harder and harder for film and TV spoilers to be preserved. News travels at the speed of a tweet. Two decades ago, if a Batman movie was shooting out in the open in a metropolitan area, there might have been some local news coverage and a few lookey-loo passerbys, but the public at large wouldn't have a front row seat to the proceedings. Now with YouTube, Twitter and dedicated spoiler sites, all it takes is one guy with a camera phone and suddenly footage of Batman and Bane fighting before the cameras is there for all the world to see. Studio lots aren't safe either. All it takes is one visitor to snap a picture of an actor wandering about in costume and suddenly the world gets a sneak peak at the latest villain in a franchise.

And that's not even getting into the whole issue of people posting scripts or script reviews of films still in production.

But at a certain point, doesn't this rob the movies of their fun? I admit I took a look at a few of the Bane pictures from The Dark Knight Rises shoot, but I've made it a point to avoid all of the video and most of the other paparazzi shots. If someone sent me the script today, I probably wouldn't read it until after I saw the film. I don't need to unwrap my Christmas presents early. I'd rather be surprised.

So who's like me and who's the opposite of me? And to those people who do make it a point to hunt down every illicit spoiler and try to snag a copy of the script a year before it comes out, why do you do that? Curiosity? Bragging rights to saying you saw it first?

If you've sought out spoilers before, have you ever felt they hurt your enjoyment of the film (or TV show)? Have they ever enhanced your opinion of the final product?


  1. I'm totally in agreement. If I'm investing my time to a season of a show or a movie I've been waiting a year or more to see - the last thing I want to do is see what happens ahead of time. That's kind of getting a Christmas gift already knowing what's inside. There's no joy - and no point in wrapping it. But, today's generation is totally 'wired' differently. They want it now - but they moment they have it - the thrill is already 'yesterday.'

  2. I'm like you. I avoid spoilers because there is no point if I know I'm going to see the movie. It can be difficult though. Like for The Avengers or TDKR, every time I see anything related to it I want to consume it. But I usually convince myself that whatever is out there it isn't worth it.

    I feel like I inadvertently see spoilers when I watch previews for comedies. They aren't spoilers in the sense that they give away big plot points. But when I hear a joke from a preview 10 times before I see it in the movie I end up being pissed off about it and the fact that the rest of the theater is laughing. I just sit there and wonder if these people watch tv at all.

  3. I was tweeting about this the other night:

    I don't want to see pictures of Tom Hardy as Bane, I don't want to see footage from the set or a leaked scene of whoever doing whatever...

    I don't even want to see an 'extended' trailer...

    I want to see the whole movie, all at once, and be thoroughly engaged and surprised. #ComeOn #StopTryingToSpoilMe

  4. I don't care about spoilers, because for me it's about the creation and the execution.

    If I read a plot line to a movie I'm interested in, the first thought that comes to mind is "How are they gonna do that?".

    If I see a trailer or even a scene, I'm thinking how does this fit into the rest of the movie.

    And if I see an on-set photo, say of Anne Hathaway in her leather Catwoman costume, I'm gonna be interested in a lot of things...

    At the end of the day, it doesn't matter because so much of what ends up on screen is facile and predictable. 90% of the time you can tell what's gonna happen within the 1st 10 minutes.

    Still, good writers can take even the simplest plots and turn it into unpredictable action or intelligent screenplay, and every once in a while, we get one of those movies, which makes sifting through the rest worthwhile.

  5. Spoilers don't "ruin the fun" for people who seek out spoilers, because the people who seek out spoilers "have fun" by tracking a movie from its inception to creation to release. That's what they like about movies.

    I also think spoiler culture is tied-in with brand identity marketing, where the product is sold as a lifestyle. Spoiler tracking is a lifestyle choice for a certain caucus of cinemaphiles.

  6. I only seek out spoilers to see if I really want to see the movie. It's like when I go looking for a book. I want to read the plot to see if I'm interested, not a bunch of book reviews. So then I have to go searching for the plot someplace else. If I can't find a summary of the plot, I don't buy the book. Sometimes trailers can be so ambiguous that they annoy rather then tease or tantalize me into watching.

    If the spoilers are interesting enough, then I'll go see the movie.

    I take it back, I don't look for spoilers for JUST that reason. I also look for it for movies I have no intention of seeing but I want to know about because everyone's talking about them. For instance, The Human Centipede. Not my kind of movie. But I wanted to know why it got everyone talking.

    Spoilers don't ruin things for me in movies. If it did then I wouldn't be able to rewatch them. Or watch movies based on books I've read.

    Now when I can predict a twist ending, that ruins it. I just new five minutes in how The Others would end. (I swear to this day I saw the exact same plot somewhere else like a Twilight Zone episode or a short story in some book of ghost stories.) It ruined the whole thing for me.

  7. I usually don't seek out spoilers, but when the opportunity arises to read/watch material likely filled with spoilers, I take it about half the time. I'm generally talking about facebook links from show home pages, with interviews for new seasons and such. I just get really curious and can't help myself. But when it's a movie or show that's really important to me and I know there's a big spoiler? I manage to stay away so as not to ruin the experience.

  8. Not only do I avoid spoilers but I seldom watch trailers, I decide what movies I'm going to watch based on the director, actors, writer, source material etc so I don't need to see a 30 second (or two minute or whatever) highlight reel to convince me.

    Some of the best movie watching experiences I've ever had have been going to see a movie knowing nothing about it, Adaptation and The Rules Of Attraction for example I hadn't heard a single word about either.

  9. This seems apropos.


  10. Spoilers? Sure, I'd like to dilute the carefully crafted effect of the sequence of events created by the writer and editor. But seriously, nope, not for me thanks. If I reckon it's going to be at least an 8 out of 10 I'll avoid the trailer too. My brain will do its best to hold on to any fact that will undermine the plot that I've garnered from trailers, write ups, stills. My subconscious is out to get me, knock my coffee onto my lap and leave the gas on when I go on holiday. When I'm plonked down in front of the screen, the real world goes away. I'd be interested if you spoiler watchers feel 100% involved in a film while your watching it or not or are comfortable watching the film but being also partly in the room, aware of your surroundings? In a previous post here, I suggested a spoiler rating system for trailers so spoiler prudes like me could avoid damage to our fragile cinema experience. One can but dream...