Wednesday, June 26, 2013

[spoiler alert]

Not really. Well, possible spoiler about the name of one character in one recent movie. Other than that, I won't spoil anything today. 


Fair warning though, if a single character name from the new Star Trek movie is too "spoilery" for you, save reading this post until after you see the movie, since you won't get through the post without finding out.

A Facebook exchange took place after Jessika and I saw Star Trek Into Darkness, and it got me thinking. Jessika mentioned on her wall that Benedict Cumberbatch had done a great job as Khan and sparked a discussion among her friends about how much they've liked him in other roles. The following day, though, she got a comment from a friend who seemed to consider the name "Khan" a spoiler.

Two things.

1) It isn't.

2) Ok, maybe it is, but the concept of spoilers is whiny and narcissistic, so I don't care.

Yeah, you know what he's saying...

First, I should be clear. I'm not actually directing this post at any specific person. Though a single discussion sparked my thought process, I've been bothered by pedantic spoiler freaks for years. Despite the stacks of DVDs on shelves in their living rooms, movies they've seen multiple times, certain people will tell you that a movie is ruined by knowing the ending. I don't buy the logic, nor do I believe there's a perfect first experience for every movie that's somehow superior to all the repeated viewings -- you know, the viewings where you start to pick up on all the things you didn't notice the first time you saw it.

So I'm going to try (and fail) to be reasonable. I understand there was some secrecy on and around the set about the identity of Cumberbatch's character. J.J. Abrams even made an appeal via some outlets for reviewers not to spoil any surprises, but based on the previews and the names of other characters that were not secret, any rational individual should have seen it coming. The same articles I read, speculating about Cumberbatch's character, also revealed that Alice Eve would play Carol Marcus. One of the officially released previews gave a glimpse of a hand pressed against a pane of glass in a Vulcan salute. Do we have to spell it all out in excruciating detail? Anyone who has any knowledge of Khan, any suspicion he might be in the movie, would have to be brain dead to be surprised at this point. Abrams may have used words to ask for secrecy, but his approach to casting and marketing the movie was the equivalent of shouting to the poker table that he had pocket aces and was going all in.

If the character had been a nobody, another Nero or Sybok or Ru'afo or Soran, nobody would have requested secrecy. The act of working in secrecy means there is something bigger happening than the usual. So now we're left with a villain with a generic name, characters and situations closely related to Khan, and a request for secrecy. Do the math and stop complaining. Any possible surprise was spoiled by the very revelation that there might be a surprise.

That's my opinion, though, worked out all inside my own little head, and I realize the spoiler freaks will disagree. 

Which brings me to point number two, and this is extremely important to the discussion -- I don't care. The more you whine about spoilers, the more I want to spoil it just to piss you off. I already went to the movie and enjoyed it. I don't give a crap if you see it or enjoy it or are even aware of its existence. That's your deal. Don't bring me into it.

Don't get me wrong. I don't make special efforts to spoil movies or TV shows for people. I'm not the kind of guy to walk out of the first ever screening of The Sixth Sense, look at the line of people getting ready to walk in and say, "Bruce Willis is dead all along!" I'm not the kind of guy to walk into the midnight release for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and say, "Dumbledore dies at the end!" I don't shout plot points to the world just to spite the people who haven't caught up to my reading or movie-watching.

But I'm also not going to waste my time parsing every possible definition of the word "spoiler", just to avoid offending somebody's delicate sensibilities. 

Maybe you want to enter every movie experience in a state of complete ignorance. Good for you. You should do what makes you happy, as long as you don't narcissistically stand back and tell me how I'm supposed to behave to help you make those things happen, because I'm unlikely to help you. I have no interest in pussyfooting around your idiosyncrasies. Your enjoyment is up to you, and it's your job to make it a reality. 

So I'm not going to propose any middle ground. There's no statute of limitations like a week or a month or six months. I won't go out of my way to discuss the entire plot of a movie, but I will say what comes to mind, regardless of your emotional baggage. If that bothers you, you either need to re-evaluate your relationship with me, or you need to seek professional help. Those are your decisions, though, not mine. If your involvement with me in social media makes your goals harder to reach, stop bitching like a child, and mute my feed or unfriend me or unfollow me. Unless you enjoy bitching like a child, in which case, I'll give you fair warning -- I've probably already muted your feed. I don't publicize my decisions to ignore people. I just ignore them. There are fun debates and conversations to be had on any number of topics, but listening to people who whine but who never take action gives me no pleasure.

Stop putting your happiness in my hands, because I promise you, the more you piss and moan, the more I want to take advantage of my power and make you sad.

So [spoiler alert] don't get too attached to any characters created by George R.R. Martin. Keep whining, though, and I'll start spilling names.


  1. I give people 10 days. That gives them the opening weekend and the following weekend to go see a blockbuster film raking in the millions at the box office. If they can't be bothered to see the movie on the first two weekends, then I'm not going to bother avoid spoilers in their presence.

    Now, for smaller films that don't get big releases, that open in a handful of theaters before vanishing, those movies I will bend over backwards to protect any secret they might have. To this day, if someone hasn't seen The Usual Suspects, I'll encourage them to do so and I'll try not to spoil it.

    1. Not a bad strategy. And honestly, I don't go out of my way to reveal things to people. But I also feel like I'm past the point in my life where I have any desire at all to self edit.

  2. You forgot the Simpson's episode where Homer walks out and says something to the effect of "So Darth Vader is Luke's father--who would've guessed it?" and the entire queue waiting to get in is just totally crestfallen.

    1. I had totally forgotten that episode. I like it.