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    • Felicity

      I noticed that Chris posted in my Spoilerful Infinity War conversation (seriously, SPOILER WARNING) to say "Now I HAVE to go". Whoa! That's a deep end of the spoiler-pool to jump into on purpose!

      But then, people are VERY different about spoilers. I don't like them myself, and have often been careless and spoiled something for someone else, so I now try to exercise Extreme Spoiler Hygiene, to avoid removing someone else's choice in the matter.

      However, I realize my own spoiler aversion is partly irrational! There was that study that indicated spoilers increase enjoyment. And in my own life, I've still enjoyed stories that have been MONSTROUSLY spoiled for me. For some reason I listened to Terry Gross interview David Simon about just about every important death on The Wire before deciding 'maybe I WILL watch this show!' and turning it off: while I wish I hadn't known about them, I still loved the show. One of the most famous (and oft-parodied) quotes from Jane Eyre is sort of incredibly spoilery, and I knew big chunks of its plot as well before I finally read it at age ~35. And yet it still surprised me, and I really enjoyed it.

      I really enjoy the one of my close friends who prefers to have spoilers -- I can discuss just about ANYTHING with him with wild abandon -- but I also don't understand that response. Despite all of the above, I just HATE spoilers with an irrational, visceral hatred. I'll continue to spoiler-warn for, say, spoilers about the end of 20-year-old TV shows, and I'll continue to banish the Star Wars alphabet book with the offending letter L to the basement rather than giving it to any kid to read. It's irrational, but it's how I am!

    • yaypie

      When I was a kid, I had a friend who would sit next to me on the school bus and regale me with detailed summaries of the latest blockbusters my parents wouldn't let me see. He had a fantastic memory and loved acting out all the parts, and we had a long bus ride, so this was great fun for both of us.

      Movies he completely spoiled for me include Jurassic Park, True Lies, Speed, Tombstone, and more. But I did eventually see all those movies, and I loved every single one of them. When I finally managed to see Jurassic Park in a second-run theater months after everyone else had seen it, I was glued to the edge of my seat and trembling with excitement during the dinosaur scenes even though I already knew everything that was going to happen and had read a dozen behind-the-scenes articles in various magazines.

      But as an adult, somehow, things don't work the same way. Now I avoid spoilers like the plague. Now I want to be surprised; when I watch a movie or a TV show, I want to experience it fresh, for the first time, on my own terms, without outside influence. I can still enjoy something even if I know what's going to happen, but I don't enjoy it as much.

      What I enjoy most about watching a great movie or TV show are those moments when something amazing or beautiful or crushingly sad catches me totally off guard and leaves me with my mouth hanging open, or tears streaming from my eyes, or busting a gut laughing.

      To have those moments stolen from me by seeing or hearing a spoiler that I can't unsee or unhear feels viscerally painful. There are a finite number of times in life that I'll get to feel those emotions, and having those moments spoiled feels like watching that number tick down, never to be replenished.

    • Chris
      Chris MacAskill

      I love your Extreme Spoiler Hygiene. 😁The reason is that I like spoilers for movies that I may not fully understand. My sons are fanatical about superhero movies and I always walk out of the theaters and into a discussion with them realizing how many subtleties I missed. It happens with murder mysteries and my wife too. But movies like The Post? I don't miss a thing because I know all about The Pentagon Papers and stuff like that.

      In fact, in your spoilerful Infinity War conversation, I asked Google to point me to articles about the ending and what they think it means. Now I have stuff to watch for and I'll enjoy the movie more.

      What I really hate are sports spoilers. I was flying to New York last week and a passenger stood up and announced to the whole plane that the Sharks just won. Wtf?

    • Felicity

      That's very interesting, Chris! I haven't followed a sports team since a young age, so I can't really say how I feel about that kind of thing.

      I do suppose I have some situation-dependent spoiler preferences, like your liking them for comics movies. Ryan is my canary in the coal mine for certain kinds of violence I would rather avoid, and sometimes I also ask him about broad outcomes. "You promise this plot has a point and is going somewhere deliberately? If I'm going to put up with all this depressing stuff, it can't be like LOST. "

      Also, if I don't think I'm ever going to watch something but it seems pop-culturally relevant, I may read the entire plot synopsis on Wikipedia. One day I read just about every famous slasher movie plot just to recognize jokes and see broad themes, for instance. >.<

    • Chris
      Chris MacAskill

      That's the way my wife is too. I have to guarantee no terrible violence and some interesting plot for her to watch, but she'll read about popular movies. Toni likes Star Wars but won't watch superhero movies, except for Batman.

    • cvdavis

      This brings to mind a study I read a number of years ago that found people who knew the ending of the novel had higher satisfaction when reading it. I wonder how this might apply to movies. Maybe we enjoy seeing all of the pieces or clues that lead up to the climax or ending of the movie. I'm just speculating.

    • quickisstrong

      I actually don't mind knowing how something is going to go before it happens. I think there are many cases where it actually makes the viewing more enjoyable. For movies, I find that if I am watching a scary movie or something super suspenseful at home that I HAVE to fast forward to see what is going to happen and then rewind it to watch it. Otherwise, I am too affected by the unknown to actually be entertained. If I have to list it out, I would say the following:

      Movie Spoilers: Not a big deal and absolutely necessary if it is a scary movie. I'll still be entertained
      TV Shows: I don't get upset if I run across a spoiler online but prefer to be surprised
      Books: 99% of the time I won't skip to the end of the book but sometimes you can't help cheat a bit
      Sports Events: Absolutely need to be surprised. That is part of the fun of being on the edge of your seat

    • Moose408

      I think there is a relationship between spoilers and number of times you can watch a movie. I don't like spoilers and once I've seen a movie have little desire to see it again because I know how it ends. For me the enjoyment is having the story unfold throughout the movie and being surprised by were it leads.

      I have friends that can watch a movie over and over. They own the movie (which has never mad e sense to me) and will watch it every week. They also don't tend to mind spoilers. For them they are getting something else out of watching the movie which eludes me.

      As for sports I often record the Sharks games if I'm not going to them or can't watch live. If I find out the score before watching I don't bother watching. I like the suspense of not knowing the outcome.

    • Shay

      some movies / tv shows could be ruined by spoilers....

      The last episode of The Sopranos would never have had the impact if I had read about it online.

      The Usual Suspects / Shawshank redemption are two movies that would have been ruined if I had read about them ...

      but, in general, you read a review about a movie before you part with your cash. Part of that review, if well written, will give you an outline of the plot. Trailers online should add to the desire to see the movie without giving away too much of the plot.

      Once a post is clearly marked as "spoilers be here" ... then it's all good πŸ˜€ and a thead with spoilers is a great place to discuss the movie / tv show.

      It took me a long time to work out all the clues that led to to the ending of The Sopranos... couldn't have done it without online discussion.

    • xorius

      I have extreme spoiler aversion. I really really don't want plot points spoiled for me, as seeing a story go in unexpected ways is the most fun.

      The most enjoyable movie experience I have had in recent memory was watching Arrival. I sat down for movie night at home, and I had completely forgotten that this movie existed. I actually thought it was going to be a different movie I had seen a preview for recently, and had no idea what I was watching.

      For that movie, much of the tone was oriented around the mystery, and gradual reveal of understanding. What a great experience.

      A great counterexample: The new Jurrassic World 2 trailer basically outlines the whole plot, including twists and turns. It also shows what are likely the most interesting visual effects in the movie. I see basically no reason to see it now 😞.

    • wx

      Hate 'em, can't avoid 'em. Watch any mainstream trailer and you can see that they draw heavily on the belief that the more you know, the more likely you are to go see a movie. Gah!

      I get Chris' point about understanding the film better. My solution is to read about it afterwards if I'm confused or I feel like I've missed the point (which happens a lot.) I got into that habit after being bewildered by Primer. (xorius, if you liked Arrival, I hope you've have a chance to see Annihilation. It's great.)

      An outright spoiler lives up to its name for me -- it spoils the experience, which for me includes delight and surprise. I love movies which take me to unexpected places. And I'd do terrible things if -- as happened to someone I heard recently -- I waited in line for hours to see The Empire Strikes Back and somebody drove by yelling "Darth Vader is Luke's father!"

      If movie spoiler are bad, then sports spoilers are worse. They quite literally kill my desire to watch any game I've recorded. There's no tension.

    • Felicity

      I believe (based on fuzzy memories of Ryan's better knowledge on the topic) that trailers are made by specialist 'trailer houses' and that's why the style is generally so consistent -- and often so heedlessly destructive of the enjoyment of the movie, for the spoiler-averse people like you and me.

      I can often mark the point in a trailer where I've decided I want to see the movie (sometimes it's right away!) and depending on the urgency of my feelings about the movie, I may plug my ears and avert my eyes for the rest. The every-twist-and-turn formula for spoilers is so prevalent now -- I've watched it become more and more so over the last, hmm, fifteen years?

      Even Star Wars and Marvel movie trailers, which I feel are a little less intensely spoilerful than, say, Jurassic World's, give stuff away they shouldn't. (MILD SPOILER WARNING, although if it was in the TRAILER for Thor: Ragnarok, does it really count?!) Thor: Ragnarok was clearly designed to build up to the reveal of the Hulk, but the first trailer blew that out of the bag. I think that sort of suspenseful reveal -- you think this is going to be Something Bad, but it's Something Good and Hilarious! -- is not amazingly rewatchable, and not very spoiler-resistant.

    • Felicity

      I was in the line for a movie on opening weekend and someone walked by and said in a conversational tone to us, "[Hero] dies at the end." I said to Ryan, "OH MY GOD, can you believe that guy said that!?" and he said "Who said what?" -- he had not heard, and thus was spared. I nursed my resentment and disappointment at being spoiled in my heart, went into the movie...and Hero did NOT die at the end, despite the movie making it look as if he had.

      So in that case, the prankster was actually working WITH the movie to fake the viewer out -- but it still ended up making me feel awful, because I didn't want to know the ending, and because it just seemed like such a petty, rotten thing for a person to do.

    • wx

      Yeah, that would have affected my enjoyment as well. I don't know how to explain it, but if you're expecting something to happen based on a spoiler (and therefore you totally believe it) the movie doesn't feel fresh, even if the spoiler is fake. Same thing with sports, I've found.

      When I read movie reviews, I read the top and the bottom of them, to get a sense of what the movie is and if the critic liked it. I usually skip over the central part of a review, which almost always contains a description of the plot. That's more detail than I want. I leave it to the makers of the film to lead me through the story, not someone else.

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