With the Lost finale coming up tonight, it seems like now is a good time for a discussion about spoilers.
No, not the fins you see on the backs of cars, designed to improve aerodynamics (or in some cases, simply to look cool). I’m talking about intricate plot details of movies and television shows. For some, nothing is more irritating than having a much-anticipated viewing experience ruined by blabbermouths who give away plot details.
The Toronto Star has an article up about this very issue. It details the way people literally isolate themselves from their co-workers and friends in an effort to remain “unspoiled”. Fortunately for me, I’m not a devotee of Lost, so I’m not affected.
I have, however, fallen victim to the dreaded spoiler on many occasions. Usually, it happens on the Internet, although I’ve also had it happen from podcasts, books, or print reviews. You tell yourself, “Oh, I’ll just read this one review,” or “Let me have a look at this thread.” All of a sudden, your eyes stumble across those horrifying words: “Snape kills Dumbledore,” “It was all in his mind,” “Soylent Green is people,” “Rosebud is the sled’s name,” and on and on. There are some movies I still haven’t seen because I know the ending (Hitchcock’s Rebecca being one example). Maybe I’m just hoping someday I’ll forget what I know.
But at some point, you have to ask yourself: what’s the big deal about spoilers? On the one hand, going into a movie fresh can be a great experience. You get to savour every new development, and feel the emotion of being shocked by every twist. On the other hand, if a movie is really worth your time, there’s a good chance you’re going to see it more than once anyway. Movies like Chinatown, Fight Club, and The Usual Suspects are on my list of all-time favourites. Even though they contain twists, they stand up to repeat viewings.
In the end, going in unspoiled may be the preferable option, but I’m starting to recognize the silliness of avoiding movies just because I feel I know too much.