Wednesday, April 22, 2009

To The Loser, Belong The Movie Spoilers.

Back in my early 20’s, I wanted to know every single thing that I could about movies.

In addition to the director, the screenwriter, the locations, the story, the plot and, ultimately, the ending, I read all of the spoilers on all of the movie geek websites. I read all of the leaked scripts and early test screening movie reviews. I wanted to be armed with all of this knowledge before I took one step in the theater to watch a movie.

Let me say that again. I wanted to know all of this information before I walked into the theater.

Why? I’m not sure. Maybe I wanted to brag about (which I didn’t too much). Maybe I was a little narcissistic thinking that I had a one-up on all of the other movie goers that night? Really, I'm not too sure what caused this crazy obsession.

However I do know one thing, in hindsight, it was dumb - and a bit of a let-down to boot.

Two years ago in September, I DVR’ed an Ohio State football game so I could participate in my son’s birth. After my healthy son was born, I called my Dad to tell me the good news and he accidentally told me the score of the game (Ohio State won). That night, I went home that night, started the Ohio State game, but wasn’t that pumped to watch it. Maybe because it was against Northwestern as well, but that’s beside the point. The excitement was gone.

That's exactly how I felt after watching a movie in my 20's...a little empty.

Which goes back to my underlying point, basically everything that you knew was going to happen in the movie, well….happened.

As I’ve stated in a previous post, when I was growing up, I remember judging a movie by the poster alone as to whether or not I wanted to see the film. It was a wonderfully innocent time, when the magic of movies surprised me at every turn.

Skip my alcohol-fueled late 20’s, and fast-forward to my current 30’s.

Maybe it’s my growing wisdom or the fact I’ve mellowed with age, but I’ve sort of turned over a new leaf when it comes to foraging for these little extra nuggets of film knowledge before I watch a film.
As a matter of fact, besides knowing the director, screenwriter, cinematographer, producers and the basic plot (e.g., A man witnesses a murder and the mafia hunts him down to silence him.), I take careful steps to avoid knowing any other information about the films I watch.

Perfect example, I was having a conversation with a fellow co-worker about Richard Bachman’s (i.e. Stephen King’s) novella The Long Walk. Good book check it out. The story reminded him of a 1969 movie called They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? about a depression-era dance contest directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Jane Fonda. Never heard of it.

He told me the basic premise and I was hooked. I tossed it into my Netflix queue, waited a couple days and watched, quite frankly, one of the best films I’ve seen in quite some time. And the cool thing was I didn’t know a god-damn thing about it. Didn't know the beginning, the ending, the actors, the actresses. Didn't know anything that was going to happen.

It was fucking awesome.

Oh, sure, I could have visited Wikipedia for a complete synopsis or visited some other spoiler websites, but - like a Biggest Loser contestant saying no to a cupcake - I shunned the temptation and decided to let the movie play out in front of my eyes with a complete blank slate in my head.

Of course, I scour critics top-ten lists and visit other movie-rating sites such as Rotten Tomatoes to get a gauge on what’s hot and what’s not. By the way, life’s too short to watch shitty movies. Most of the films I watch are chosen from critics top-ten lists, positive word-of-mouth, director, producer, screenwriter and, in a lot of cases, my intestines (that's right, the Eimer gut).

And, you know what? It’s working. I’m enjoying movies a helluva lot more than I used too. In this situation, and only in this situation, I’m going out on a limb and saying that ignorance is bliss.

That said, I came across this article in Wired magazine from J.J. Abrams, the creator of Lost and Alias, the writer/director of Mission Impossible 3, the new Star Trek and producer of Cloverfield.

It talks about the ruination of films through knowledge (i.e. internet spoilers) and the pesky vermin of geeks hell-bent upon ruining a movie with the simple goal of being the first to report on the big happening in the latest, greatest film.

It’s a good article. Hell, any article that brings up the trials and tribulations of spending useless hours trying to solve Super Mario Brothers 2 already gets kudos in my mind.

By the way, if you click the Super Mario Brothers link above, World 7-1 starts at 6:53. Read the article, you'll know what I'm talking about.

1 comment:

cbrown said...

"By the way, life’s too short to watch shitty movies."

Glad to hear you say that! :o)