Editorials,  Movies/Entertainment

To Know Or Not To Know? – The Great Spoiler Conundrum

SPOILERS!! We all hate them. Honestly, who enjoys someone else ruining the fun to be had by telling us what we’re in store for before the time? Sure we put up with a certain amount of it in trailers, hell even posters sometimes ruin a film (I’m looking at you Quarantine!). But I’m not talking about spoiling a film’s twist or ending or both. No, I’m referring to our, at times, insatiable searches from film info and am simply wondering when is enough enough? Moreover, when/how can we spare ourselves the disappointment of knowing something about a film or a character before the lights go down in the cinema or our living rooms?

The Internet, social media outlets, TV/news, print journals, advertisement billboards, advertising exist all around us and for films, publicity is everywhere. Seems we can’t take two steps in this world without being marketed to. A result of that is that many of us have developed almost ninja-like sales resistance. But for as much as we try to avoid it, sometimes we are our own worst enemies.

Let’s get back to that Internet for a second, a powerful tool in our daily lives and to many professions it’s a necessity or lifeblood. The content available for us to find is pretty much limitless and if you’re a film fan the world really can be your oyster. Want to know how many munchkins were in The Wizard of Oz? 124. Want to know what are the most commonly misquoted iconic quotes of all time? Well, Do you feel lucky punk? because you can find that too. You can even find info on movies and things that aren’t even released for public consumption yet. Chances are if you can think about it, someone has, is or will be typing it for all to read. Anytime, and now mostly anywhere.

But’s its not all fan pages, much of the info you can find about films is sanctioned in the form of advertisements to get the buzz going. “Oh a new Batman movie. Neat. Who’s in it? Oh really, who’s the villain and who’s playing him? Awesome, I can so see that!” The more we learn the more we want to know. It’s just human nature. Yet there comes a time where we just learn too much and it can ruin a movie for us. *holds up a guilty hand* I’ve done it too many times to count as knowing pretty much everything about a movie yielded little to no surprises when I finally go to see the film.

So now where aside from stating the obvious, this post becomes full-on editorial opinion based. Like our conscience, when seeking out news about films (be they new or old) we all should utilize some sort of a filter controlling and more importantly limiting the intake of info…should you want to of course. I understand that sometimes we just cannot help ourselves, but knowing just a little bit more is like playing blackjack. Sometime it’s that one click too many that does you in. “I know I shouldn’t but I simply must know what villain, vehicle, etc will be in the movie.”…*shakily clicks mouse*…Ha ha taunts the Internet, I spoiled your movie.

You clicked on it, now you can’t unsee it

I know the feeling; I’ve been there plenty times before. But it really comes down to us as film fans deciding what we’re comfortable with and leave all the rest alone. If you want to know who is playing Superman, look it up. If you don’t want to know what the suit looks like, you may be hard pressed finding sites that don’t have it plastered on their main page. But as long as you have a game plan, stick to it.

Still, you know what they say about the best laid plans. Well, if you’re a constant info hound scouring web pages for something you may accidentally and very unintentionally spoil something you had worked so hard to avoid. While you have a control level, others don’t so be careful scrolling endlessly down pages for info. Sometimes just skimming titles (or Twitter posts/Facebook updates) gives things away and it’s hard to avoid a landmine like that. We put up with it in trailers because we know the formula and sure it gets at us but we still do it anyway.

So that makes me pose the question: In the Land of the Internet is the Blind Fan King? Yes and no because it all comes down to personal preference. You want to know it all? Then have at it. You want to stay completely in the dark? Good on ya but tread softly and Godspeed. But if we choose to shut off our filter or shed our blindfold sometimes we still overindulge. My personal stance is that if I reaaally want to see something I usually go into selective blackout mode after the first real trailer. For those next 6 to 8 months I ignore everything up to the time the film hits the screen.

This, understandably, is a bold stance to take. It’s tough because as a movie blog, we feel an obligation to help get the word out about things that look good or pique our interest. I mean you can’t be called a legitimate entity if you aren’t posting what everyone else is posting on the web right? Finally, dropping off the advertising grid is not only an odd thing to do, but in this tech everywhere age it’s next to impossible to know truly nothing about something going in to the theater.

Yet, G-S-T aside, as a film fan first and foremost I can say that knowing next to nothing has served me well on countless occasions. Remember though, as I said before it’s about personal preference. Moreover the decision of if and when to control your intake.

In summation, just as film is subjective I believe so too should be advertising, well our exposure to it anyway. It’s all up to you to get what you want out of the Internet/Social Media/comment threads etc.. I guess the best way I can end this (and it gives me great pleasure anytime I get to drop a quote from Big Trouble in Little China) is to remind us to consider the words of Egg Shen when going to the Internet movie feeding troughs: “Take what you want, and leave the rest“.