Why I refuse to watch movies without spoilers

I love spoilers. Or, more accurately, I demand spoilers. And I don't understand why you don't. Let me explain to you what you're missing out on.

I hate reviews that mention they are "spoiler free." This isn't because I think reviews should have spoilers in them. It's because, by mentioning spoilers at all, they screw up the results of my desperate online search for spoilers. The more I look, the more I come up with results that assure me, "Don't worry. No spoilers beyond this point!"

I rage at recaps that don't actually recap anything. And I want to design a level of hell for people who recap a book nine-tenths of the way through, and then say, "I won't tell you the ending." Why would anyone who doesn't want to know the end read through a retelling of 90% of the story? Why do you care that I read those pages? Do you own the rights? Finish it, damn you! I fully believe that if those people were medieval jailers they would be the kind to hang the keys to the cell just out of reach of the prisoners. Petty tyrants, the lot of them.

There are only a few types of media I consume without spoiling myself first. For the most part, they are half-hour shows lighthearted enough that I know no one is getting murdered in the last two minutes. And while I understand, through extensive experience, that some people like to watch, or read, something without knowing the ending, I don't actually understand why. Spoilers make things so much better.

Why I refuse to watch movies without spoilers

For one thing, they save time and money, especially when it comes to horror. When horror gets really bad, I like it. I know what's going to happen and can have fun in my own way as the movie goes along. But when's the last time there was a really good home invasion movie? How about a really good movie about ghosts threatening a family? Has there been one in the last decade? Perhaps there has, but there definitely haven't been more than three.

These movies are pretty simple to get spoilers for, since the trailers are like those sadistic book reviewers, taking us through 90% of any given movie before we even lay down a dime. We know the premise, we know the aesthetic, we know the twist at the beginning of the third act. The only thing left to find out is whether or not the ghosts-slash-demons-slash-intruders-in-creepy-masks actually kill Ethan Hawke's character and his blandly forgettable family. And who considers that reveal worth wasting two hours and 12 dollars?

Why I refuse to watch movies without spoilers

Perhaps I shouldn't be too hard on the people who do this. I, too, watch crappy movies. I do it with joy in my heart. I do it because I don't go in expecting them to be great. I don't think this clever and ambitious premise is going to work out, because I know it isn't. I don't get invested in a wonderful character who is going to get their throat slit to provide the bland protagonist with motivation, because I know they are. I know when to fast-forward (if I can) and when to walk out (which I do). I can accept movies, or books, or tv shows, for what they are — because I know what they are.

You might argue that that takes away from the emotional ride of the medium. Occasionally it does, but in the end, I love spoilers because, for me, they allow me to experience the ride in ways I otherwise don't. I watch television, and I watch movies, but the medium that started me combing for spoilers is books.

Why I refuse to watch movies without spoilers

Books, as many people have noticed, take a while to get through. Often we read through them on fire for the mystery, or the key emotional element, that we spotted in the first 40 pages. I got so I literally couldn't stand the wait. I would flip to the end, but the end of most books are so complicated that they are pretty much inscrutable for someone who hasn't read the plot. I would get to the reveal, and it would mean nothing. I missed all the things that were important to understand on the way. And so began the furiously frustrating process of flipping back to get the reference, then flipping forward to reread the end, then flipping back to get the next reference.

I was so impatient to know what happened that I couldn't enjoy experience of it happening. In this way, at least, I know that I differ from many people. Some readers turn the pages anticipating the next wonderful surprise. I get too frustrated at not knowing the surprise to care what's happening in the book, or the movie, or the tv show. When I get spoilers, I can sit back and enjoy the story in front of me, not checking my watch and waiting for everyone to get to the point.

Why I refuse to watch movies without spoilers

It helps, of course, that I actually know the point. This is where the spoilerites have it over the rest of you saps. We don't have to guess at the point of a story. That can be valuable. As I recall, there was recently a television series about a couple of detectives. Half the internet went into a frenzy trying to guess the answer to the mystery of the series. The other half insisted that no, no, silly conspiracy-hunters! That wasn't the point of the series! Was it? Oh god, what if it was?

Well, now we know. And at least one side is angry about it, having been following a tv series that never was. They had imagined it one way, and totally missed that it was really something else. It dissolved on them. Now they have to go back and watch it again, bitterly, like a football player with a blown-out knee watching grainy footage of the winning pass he caught in high school. Wouldn't it have been nice to find the series spoiled in one, discreet corner of the internet so you could have focused on the meaningful part, the part the creator obviously intended you to focus on, the entire time?