To spoil or not to spoil, that is the question!
Spoilers have been a point of consternation since I started watching movies. I didn’t know that they were called spoilers back then, but I recall many a conversation on the playground of my grade school where one kid would get mad at another kid for giving away the ending of a movie. If I happened to show up at the school yard and be the kid dumb enough to give away the ending of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I was liable to get my ass beat. Such was the way of life when we were kids who didn’t know better. Now I’m old, and I know better, and I know what spoiling a movie means. I also know that there isn’t now, never was, and never will be a way of handling spoilers that pleases everyone.
The best modern example of the spoiler argument is The Cabin In The Woods. Drew Goddard’s new horror film has been the subject of much debate throughout the film community. Twitter accounts popped up that were devoted to nothing other than giving away every twist and turn of the movie. Critics opened up their reviews by giving away the major twist or the ending. Meanwhile other film lovers felt that they could not discuss the movie with anyone who had not seen it for fear of spoiling others experience with the film. It was a recent episode of The Golden Briefcase that finally got my dander up and set me to writing this piece.
On that episode of The Golden Briefcase Scott Weinberg and Brian Salisbury joined hosts Jeremy Kirk and Tim Buel to discuss all things horror. It was a great conversation, and early on they briefly tackled the idea of spoilers. The basic consensus of all present on the show was that there is no reason to spoil a movie for someone else. Any critic should be able to write about a film without giving away any twists or surprises within the film. They did allow for the opposing viewpoint, that the experience of watching a movie is very personal and when someone writes about it they are having a conversation about all facets of the film and the ways in which it affected them. Those who have read more than one of my reviews know where I will fall on this argument. While I fully understand the problems people have with spoilers, I believe that spoilers are fair game.
When I write about a movie I want to write about the movie. I don’t believe it is my job to protect others from spoilers, that is their job. If one is a responsible moviegoer then they should be responsible in what they choose to read. I do agree that it is bad play to open up a review with a spoiler or to put a spoiler in your “read more of this” section. However, I will spoil the movies I review because I have seen the movie and thus I have the liberty to speak about the movie. I’m sorry if someone gets mad at me for spoiling something, but is it not my right as a writer and someone who has seen the movie to give my unabridged thoughts?
If you are a moviegoer who is dying to see The Cabin In The Woods then by all means see it. If finding out a spoiler ruins the movie for you then you shouldn’t have read about the movie before watching it. We are adults, at least I pretend to be, and for me that means I live in a world where spoilers occur. I don’t read about movies before I see them, but if a podcast or a conversation does reveal a spoiler I’m nonplussed on the matter. I find that the best movies aren’t the best because of a twist or any sport of spoilery material, they are the best because of how well crafted they are. If I watch a movie that has been spoiled and the experience is less that possibly speaks to the overall weakness of the movie, not the impact a spoiler had on me.
The way I choose to govern spoilers on Bill’s Movie Emporium is by letting everyone reading this know that there will be spoilers all over the site. I don’t do this to be a dick, I’m not giving away the core of A History Of Violence when I relay an important turning point in the story. What I am doing is writing about that turn and why it worked for me as a film lover. When I spoil it is in the service of exploring the world of cinema and the film I am writing about. There are those who will not agree with my opinion on spoilers, and I’m okay with that. But, as long as I am able to write about movies and choose to express myself through my writing then I will be tackling whatever aspect of a film I feel like writing about. That means I may spoil or I may not, it’s up to each person reading as a responsible moviegoer to decide if they want to read my thoughts on a film they haven’t seen yet. Beware of spoilers around these parts, ya hear?