I hate, hate, HATE spoilers. Much the same way I hate impoliteness, I simply find spoilers rude. But in an increasingly digital. heavily marketed world like ours, spoilers - and rudeness - are everywhere. It can be a LOT of work to be culturally engaged and avoid spoilers. So what do you do? Mute every instance of the word “movie” and “film” on Twitter? Never talk to that spoilery co-worker ever again? Only if you really hate your life. Here’s what I do:
The first step is to start watching teaser trailers. Those first glimpse trailers can tell you everything or nothing about a film. What they can and usually do is show you what direction the marketing team is planning on going. X-Men: Days Of Future Past’s teaser seemed pretty ready to show us everything from the first teaser trailer. In comparison, the teaser for Godzilla seemed like they were playing it pretty close to the chest, not even really showing what the monster looked like. For me, if a marketing team is going to spoil me from the get go, I might as well bask in the spoilers and forget about trying to get to the theatre spoiler-free. There are some battles you just can’t win and recognizing that is important too.
But what happens if I’m not sold on a film after the trailer and you still want to know more about it? I’m usually pretty wary about learning too much and I don’t want to keep watching trailers. So? Where do I head? To those reviewers and critics I trust. Having a group of movie-watching junkies that I trust to not only NOT spoil me but also to help guide my movie watching experience is important to me. These folks can help you save some cash, keep you away from that spoilery material and let you know what films you may or may not be interested in. This is key to getting to a movie theatre without a spoiler and sometimes can even supersede watching that trailer.
@jayrunham Yesss you will love The Signal! Such a great little indie sci-fi film, hope it finds a good audience. Needs sequels! :X
— Alex Billington (@firstshowing)April 9, 2014
The rest of the journey comes down to being vigilant when it comes to links, social sharers and the major film studios on Social Networks. I personally have almost zero tolerance for spoilers on my Twitter feed. You tweet any major movie spoilers for a new or upcoming film and you’re out. It’s a pretty hard and fast rule but hey, I don’t like that kind of rudeness in my Twitter feed. It might be easier for you to install keyword muting software (I recommend Penalty Blox, TweetFilter or the advanced features in your Tweetdeck or Hootsuite software), in conjunction with just avoiding all those links talking about that movie you’re jonesing to see. Or you could use a movie Twitter List of some kind. I love using lists (like this one) to keep Studios out of my Twitter Feed, but close by if I need some info. Of course, the closer you see a film to its opening day, the easier it’ll be to avoid a lot of those types or links and social commentary.
There’s also there is also that commercial spewing machine in the living room (or bathroom, hey I don’t judge, put your TV wherever you want to put your TV). Of course, switching or muting the TV when those short movie spots - the worst spoiler offenders, in my opinion - come on is always doable. Ignoring the trailers in front of other movie can be tough, but with an AVX ticket (or a similar assigned seating system), it’s easy enough to be out in the lobby grabbing popcorn while the previews are dropping. Usually, though, these trailers aren’t that bad when it comes to spoiling your experience. I’ve found that most of the time they just show the teaser trailers in front of films. Though from time to time that isn’t true and I get caught plugging my ears, closing my eyes and going “blah blah blah” for 5 minutes. My friends hate it. In the end it’s all about how badly you don’t want to be spoiled on your film.
It’s almost impossible (especially for a movie-obsessed guy like me) to try and get to EVERY movie unspoiled. It’s just not going to happen. There’s no point in trying to avoid the hype for the upcoming Star Wars movie for example. If we’re all lucky, Disney/Lucasfilm might take it easy on the spoilery material for Star Wars VII, but if we’re all be honest with ourselves we’re all realize that movie is going to be EVERYWHERE. Your time can be better spent making sure you don’t get spoiled on that new Brad Pitt film than it will be trying to make sure you don’t see any of those Transformers 4 TV spots (and trailers, and radio ads, and in-theatre pre-movie trivia/news/talk stuff… etc.). It’s a battle we’re not going to win and that’s ok when films like Interstellar keep mum on spoilers in their marketing (so far anyways). Make sure you choose your battles wisely or else you’re sure to lose the war. Currently, I’ve got about 3 movies I’m trying really hard to not get spoiled on, 3 or 4 that are on the bubble, and another 3 that I’ve given up on and just let the spoilers flow.
How do I choose which films to get spoiled on and which to try and guard my brain from? Mostly personal preference and experience. I’ve found Indie films are much easier to go into spoiler-free. Less marketing (usually) means less footage shown (again, usually). I’ve almost given up on trying to go into those bigger blockbusters without being spoiled, though as of writing this piece I’m trying my damnedest to get into Guardians Of The Galaxy without hearing or seeing Bradley Cooper’s Rocket Racoon or Vin Diesel’s Groot. Like I’ve mentioned before, avoid the TV commercials, especially if you didn’t get to go see a film opening weekend. Studios seem to really push that second weekend box office for some reason. You’ll really have to figure out your own system though, as everybody’s film tastes, watching habits, and online experiences are different. Hopefully some of my advice helps you out in your battle.
Just remember: You win some and you lose some. At the end of the day even the best films can’t be entirely ruined by a spoiler. It’d sure be nicer to able to see films without them, though.
Maybe when we’ve all collectively won this spoiler war we can make a deal with Hollywood during the treaty negotiations: they stop rudely showing anything from the last 2/3rds of the film in their trailers and marketing material and we’ll stop rudely making fun of their movies on Twitter. Or maybe I’ll just have to keep battling on.
Edited by James Leask