I talked about spoilers with my daughter the other day. It’s a big no-no, in case you haven’t noticed, to give away endings and other story details before people have had a chance to see the movie/tv show. Indeed, I’ve been in settings where you’re interrupted and shouted down at the mere mention of a film.
Now, some Spoiler Sams are just being jerks. I don’t care for that because I hate jerk behavior. But shutting down discussion of a movie seems a bit of an overreaction. First World concern, perhaps? All good. I have some of those myself.
I’ve never adapted to the spoiler aversion, because I’ve never cared much about spoilers. I’ve always been more interested in stories holistically—how the thing is done rather than the surprise, twisty thing that is supposed to shock me. I like to see the tapestry come together, and knowing the ending can enhance the experience. Sound weird? Maybe I’m the only one.
In 1980, I was a lad of nine years old. The Empire Strikes Back had been released. The small one-screen theater in the little town I grew up in did not have the movie to show on release day. It might have taken a couple of weeks before I had a chance to see it. This was in the days before tapes, discs, and streaming. Our best bet for inside info were film magazines at the bookstore. All I gleaned from that was Han Solo being frozen in something somehow. Didn’t look good. Point is, the film did not have “wide release” at first, so some people were seeing it, and some were not.
At a church softball gathering, some friends and I goofed around while the adults played softball. Discussion turned to the upcoming Star Wars movie and our eagerness to see it and when would it come to town, already? A friend bragged that he had seen the film while on family vacation in Denver.
What happened next? We all told him to shut up and stop talking about it. No one had seen it and didn’t want to know a single thing about it. We wanted every second to be a total surprise.
I kid. What really happened? Everyone asked at once: What happened?
Well, the big news, he informed us, **spoiler alert** was that Darth Vader cut off Luke’s hand.
This opened up the interrogation of the year. Presidents running from the press corp have never endured rapid-fire questioning like this.
We just wanted to know what happened. Spoilers spoiled nothing. The anticipation was still there. We trusted that all would be executed in an entertaining and memorable style. That trust was rewarded.
I know I’m in the minority on this. The whiz-bang twist ending is only part of it.
And by the way, the big ship sinks at the end.