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Mike T
08-17-2011, 06:01 AM
Here's a fascinating news story from (Murdoch's* News Ltd. outlet) News.com.au about "spoilers" and what recent studies have concluded:

*SPOILERS* (obviously!) (http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/movies/spoilers-make-movies-better/story-e6frfmvr-1226115837045)

And, TBH, this is something I have been aware of for years. "Spoiler" was a term coined by the writers of National Lampoon magazine, and since then it's worked its way into the global lexicon. However, from my experience, the only place in the world where a ridulous amount of emphasis is placed on "spoilers"...is amongst movie nerds on the internet. Part of good, and proper, print media film journalism - which I do from time to time - is to discuss or note important plot points as part of the analysis and dissection of the film under review. It's been done like that for years in print media in the real-world, but the internet...is a whole other animal.

Out in the real world, I couldn't care less how a film pans out or resolves itself -- and even if I do know, I seldom if ever don't still watch the movie/TV show if I know what's going to happen. My wife, who comes from a culture where "spoilers" are commonplace when it comes to idle chatter about movies (as the Chinese largely, from my experience, seem to just take movies as a time-wasting stop-gap and rarely obsess over them like pockets of Western society do), always asks what a film is about and how it ends if I've seen it before her.

So there's some thoughts to bitch-slap me into next week about movies, the way we watch and discuss them, and what affects out enjoyment of them (or not). Listen out for a classic comment about "spoilers" in the following linked video...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zWNJHS9PBE

* I was tempted to write "Murdercock", but that'd just be stealing Goldberg's superior handle on Australia's collective inner-bogan

Todd Jordan
08-17-2011, 08:49 AM
Count me out. I hate when people tell me something really important about a movie I want to see.

Ian Jane
08-17-2011, 08:52 AM
I'm with Todd. It's one thing to discuss the ending of a movie with people who have seen it but I don't like having the surprise ruined for me if I can help it.

Mike T
08-17-2011, 10:10 AM
The reason it doesn't fuss me as much as younger generations (hello to the majority!), is that for twenty five years of my life the only way to read about the kinds of films I wanted to see was in magazines and hefty hardcover reference books. Back then, before the ark, it was commonplace to give away plot and surprises and stuff, as a lot of things were considered "selling points" for the movies. Here in my study, I have Issue 11 of Fangoria in reach -- on the front cover is Craig Reardon's creation from The Funhouse. Anyone who's seen the movie knows that you don't see him until the very end of the film, but there he was in all his glory on the front cover of an American national magazine. Did that spoil the movie for me? Not at all...

Once the internet came along in '95 (or at least, became more widely accessible to the public) after a few years all of that changed. Hence, for me it's a generational thing. But it's good to get feedback and see what younger folk think who have been raised on different media.

Todd Jordan
08-17-2011, 10:25 AM
My older brother (getbent is his name on this board but he never fucking posts anything) loves to tell me stuff from movies and tv shows he sees. Irritates the fuck out of me and he can't understand why. "I'll just tell you this one funny part" and it was the only funny part in the movie. UGH. I can't stand that. When I really want to see a new movie I try to avoid anything in print of word of mouth about it other than what's in the trailer.

And yeah the Fangoria cover example is a good one. When I was a kid, it didn't bother me. It wasn't until I became a movie snot that I got all uppity about it.

Ian Jane
08-17-2011, 10:33 AM
Even in my younger days I can remember getting irritated by it. I had a friend growing up who would always talk about movies he'd seen (and for whatever reason he always saw them before I did) and ruin the ending for me. Drove me nuts. I still intentionally avoid discussions of new movies I want to see, online or in print, as I like to go in with little more than a rough idea of what a movie is about. I find it more enjoyable that way, especially when it comes to horror movies where so many times the ending is the 'big twist' or some sort of reveal. I find that if I do know about it ahead of time, it takes some of the suspense and some of the fun out of the experience.

Toyboy
08-17-2011, 12:37 PM
Lately "leaked" photos and video from movie sets have become commonplace and my curiosity usually gets the better of me. Right now there's video up from DARK KNIGHT RISES and THE AVENGERS shoots and honestly nothing in them is going to ruin the movies for me when they come out. I know how movies are made and that something shot from a camera phone doesn't give a real indication of what we'll see onscreen.

As far as spoilers in print, I try to avoid reading reviews for movies I know I'm going to see. I find that I'll start looking for moments that had been mentioned in reviews and interviews and I'm no longer in the movie. Now I'm "reviewing" it in my head and making comparisons to what someone else experienced and to me that's bad. You have emotional responses to films, and you can analyze those responses and what triggered them after the fact, but it's counterproductive to take in someone else's interpretation prior to viewing a film, in my opinion.

Toyboy
08-17-2011, 12:42 PM
Now that I've spent another 10 seconds thinking about this, I wouldn't have seen half the movies I've watched in my life if it weren't for spoilers. The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of film is essentially a book of spoilers but I would make lists from it and try to see as much of the juicy stuff as possible, so...what the fuck do I know.

Ian Jane
08-17-2011, 12:53 PM
I guess it depends how specific we're getting with the term 'spoilers' - it's one thing to divulge a particular set piece from a movie (eg - Dude, you've gotta see Cannibal Holocaust because a chick gets impaled from her ass to her mouth and it's rad) and another thing to ruin the ending (Man, the ending is awesome, because you get to learn who the real cannibals are!).

Alison Jane
08-17-2011, 12:56 PM
With me, it depends. A lot of times when I watch a movie I ask a lot of questions (even if the other person hasn't seen it, haha) and sometimes I genuinely want to know what happens next, in the end, etc. Sometimes though, I really don't want to know. Perfect example is Dexter. I love the show to death but stay out of any threads on the show because I don't want to ruin anything since I watch them on BD a season late. I've even removed Dexter as one of my "shows" on Facebook because I don't want to see any status updates that might give anything away. When the Season Five set showed up this week (yay!) I didn't even look at the box. I think what it is is that with films and shows that really mean something to me, I don't want them to be spoiled. I watch so much that I don't really care about that if I find stuff out it's really not a big deal.

I don't know, sorry, just rambling.

Todd Jordan
08-17-2011, 01:27 PM
you've gotta see Cannibal Holocaust ...ending is awesome, because you get to learn who the real cannibals are!).

Thanks a lot. I still haven't seen it. Thanks. Spoiler fuck.

Ian Jane
08-17-2011, 01:37 PM
Thanks a lot. I still haven't seen it. Thanks. Spoiler fuck.

And you probably never will and I didn't really spoil anything so quit whining, Mr. Whiner.

Mike T
08-17-2011, 01:46 PM
I guess it depends how specific we're getting with the term 'spoilers'...

Just to clarify, from my end: blowing the ending of a film others haven't seen is super uncool in anyone's books. Which reminds me, for anyone who's a regular reader of DVD Beaver, the guys there ALWAYS manage to squeeze in a screenshot from the end of just about every film they review - so, be warned. But there has been a growing contingent of internerds over the years that would argue that revealing almost anything of significance about a film, be it the basics of the story through certain setpieces etc. is a "spoiler". Of that, I have to disgree: how does one, such as myself, review a film without giving a basic plot synopsis? Every review would read: "it's about someone/some people, and stuff happens to them"...but even then, you'd have someone take you to task for revealing that "stuff happens"... :drum:

Matt has hit on something very important, which I obviously didn't articulate well enough: would many of us have seen half as many films as we have if we hadn't read something about those films that hooked us into seeing them in the first place? Obviously, me and Matt wouldn't have.

Psychotronic, Deep Red, Fangoria, Gorezone, Famous Monsters (esp. with their "filmbooks"), Video Watchdog etc etc. all made mention of content, sequences or material in films that you otherwise wouldn't have known about and might have skipped ever bothering seeing the films were it not for those write-ups. Many will say that a spoiler is a spoiler no matter what -- but without some spoilers, in many cases there's no hook to inspire many of us to seek out a lot of movies. For me, spoilers pretty much governed nearly every viewing choice I made as a movie buff before the advent of the internet, and in most cases...still do.

Mike T
08-17-2011, 01:48 PM
And you probably never will and I didn't really spoil anything so quit whining, Mr. Whiner.

And as we all know...I'm the only one who knows the answer to that question (see signature)... ;)

Ian Jane
08-17-2011, 02:11 PM
See, I was approaching 'spoilers' as giving away a big plot twist or blowing the ending, not discussing certain set pieces or stand out moments. Two different things, in my mind at least. I don't care if someone tells me 'Oh, you need to see this movie because it has rad naked swordfighting and some midgets in it' - I like naked swordfighting and midgets, so to me, that's I guess a selling point rather than a spoiler. Obvioulsy discussion of a specific movie would have to involve talk of certain plot points.

Mike T
08-17-2011, 02:23 PM
Obviously discussion of a specific movie would have to involve talk of certain plot points.

You would think that, wouldn't you? But some people seem to think saying anything about a film is a "spoiler". Remember my Lady Hermit review on HK Rewind? In a comment that never saw the light of day, by an anonymous reader who hadn't seen the film, I got railed for NOT putting a spoiler tag at the head of my review for giving away that Cheng Pei Pei's character is in fact the "Lady Hermit" of the title! I mean, c'mon, she's on the DVD cover and featured on the original poster as that very character! :drum:

Toyboy
08-17-2011, 03:10 PM
I guess it depends how specific we're getting with the term 'spoilers' - it's one thing to divulge a particular set piece from a movie (eg - Dude, you've gotta see Cannibal Holocaust because a chick gets impaled from her ass to her mouth and it's rad) and another thing to ruin the ending (Man, the ending is awesome, because you get to learn who the real cannibals are!).

Maybe what I'm talking about should be termed "subtle spoilers". I think what most people refer to as "spoilers" are, as you said, revelations of plot twists and endings, but that really just applies to films in which the enjoyment is predicated on not seeing those things coming. THE SIXTH SENSE is a prime example of that, and as someone who learned the twist prior to trying to watch the film I'd have to say that movie is pretty useless when you know what the big reveal is. In fact it's really fucking dumb in spots.

Or THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY - I saw that opening weekend without having read a thing about it and every one of the big gags just killed. I got home that night and there was a message on my answering machine from my mom telling me I had to go see the movie before anyone ruined it for me. It sucked that after the huge success the film had in its first few weeks the studio put out TV spots that showed most of the surprise moments from the film, like the cum on Ben Stiller's ear. The idea may have been to get people who'd already seen it back in the theater - "Remember how funny this part was?" - but anyone who hadn't seen it now had the impact of those parts lessened, or "spoiled".

Most of the profound and effective movie viewing experiences I've had came from going into it blind - PEEPING TOM, THE TENANT, IRREVERSIBLE, A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE, FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! - those were all films I saw with little to no knowledge of what they were. There was the time I was at a friend's house and he asked if I'd seen TURKISH STAR WARS. I didn't know there was such a thing and what I saw floored me. If I had seen stills, seen clips, or read a small review that detailed some of the crazier moments I would have gone into it with a map, and that's a journey best taken on your own.

So a subtle spoiler, for me, is one that sets you up with a guide on what to look for or suggests how to feel and react. I recall reading that VALHALLA RISING was slow and dull so I avoided it, feeling that it might be a chore to sit through. Having pretty much forgot about reading those comments years ago I finally watched it last week and was completely sucked in by the pacing, ambient music and limited dialogue. It was like seeing AGUIRRE: THE WRATH OF GOD, which I'm sure now others have compared it to, but I just happened to read the comments that implied it was boring. I had to wait until those subtle spoilers had exited my brain before I could take the film on its own merits and not worry what others thought of it.

Mike T
08-17-2011, 03:18 PM
I recall reading that VALHALLA RISING was slow and dull so I avoided it, feeling that it might be a chore to sit through. Having pretty much forgot about reading those comments years ago I finally watched it last week and was completely sucked in by the pacing, ambient music and limited dialogue. It was like seeing AGUIRRE: THE WRATH OF GOD...

Thank you kindly for that recommendation! I have been tossing up (UP, Mr. Casey, UP - not "off") over this one for ages. Now that I read that I will be sure to investigate it sooner rather than later, once I can squeeze it into the budget... :)

You guys are doing well for my wallet today! Ian sold me on Clash of the Titans, and Matt with Valhalla Rising. Nice work! :up:

Ian Jane
08-17-2011, 03:24 PM
It's a fine line to walk - there's so much stuff to watch and so much of it is so easy to get that you don't want to waste time with something you know you're not going to like, so discussion of plot points and key scenes can definitely help there. But as Matt says, going in blind to something like Irreversible is absoultely the best way to see a movie like that.

Toyboy
08-17-2011, 04:05 PM
...going in blind to something like Irreversible is absoultely the best way to see a movie like that.

Adding to that, I realize that it's virtually impossible to not know something of importance about a film before seeing it. I didn't show up at the theater and pick IRREVERSIBLE at random and buy a ticket; the person I went with asked if I had heard of the movie and when I said that I had not his response was something along the lines of "It's told in reverse and it's supposed to be really violent and intense", so I knew that much. However, I didn't know who starred in it, what it was about, where it took place, what the runtime was, what the soundtrack would be like, etc...

I've mentioned this elsewhere but my dad used to go through the newspaper and make a calendar highlighting movies showing on TV and at the drive-in that sounded like stuff he'd like. If it had bikers, monsters, or hot rods in the title and/or ad art he'd give it a shot. He bought Famous Monsters every now and then but he wasn't a movie buff who read books on the subject and made lists like I do now, but he liked freaky fun shit and would go out of his way to see that kind of movie whenever he could. I would imagine he sat through a lot of stinkers at the drive-in and in our living room but I would also guess that a huge chunk of enjoyment came from parking and watching something without any idea of what he was about to see, and maybe finding something worthwhile in a shitty movie. Now, I spend hours clicking through pages on Netflix trying to figure out which of the thousands of titles available I should stream, and if something doesn't grab me within the first 10 minutes I move on, not really giving the films a chance. If I see something I'm not familiar with I Google it and can read multiple reviews from professionals and amateurs alike, or pull up clips and trailers on Youtube. I can grab any number of magazines and film books and prep myself for pretty much any viewing experience, and while there is a value to that I almost wish I didn't have that luxury at times.

Barry M
08-17-2011, 04:21 PM
I don't even much like spoiler-free reviews in advance: I dig that moment of radar contact, but other people's opinions bug me until I've seen something for myself, and I'm perverse enough to avoid a movie where the recommendation's been in my face. A quick google for orientation in the landscape of the noosphere, and that's about it for my interest in previews.

I've developed a sort of sidelong glance technique, where I register something as interesting, but avoid looking at it straight on, as that might reveal too much. Never make eye contact. It's probably rooted in adolescent mating. Not that I ever mated as an adolescent, of course. SPOILER!!!