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Discuss: Do Spoilers Make You Cool or Ruin Movies?

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There are only two difficult things about my job. One is the rash that I get from wearing pajama pants all day. The other is navigating the razor-thin world of spoilers – making sure that I leave out spoilers whenever possible and properly warning readers when spoilers can’t be avoided. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I receive angry emails.

According to G.I. Joe – knowing is half the battle. According the the recent article for Wired written by J.J. Abrams, knowing is what destroys experience. I highly suggest you go read the full article. It’s well written and insightful, although some would take issue with his main points. The money quote here:

People often ask me how Lost is going to end. I usually tell them to ask Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, who run that series. But I always wonder, do they really want to know? And what if I did tell them? They might have an aha moment, but without context. Especially since the final episode is a year away. That is to say, the experience—the setup for a joke’s punch line, the buildup to a magic trick’s big flourish—is as much of a thrill as the result. There’s discovery to be made and wonder to be had on the journey that not only enrich the ending but in many ways define it.

Here’s where we can divide the world into two easy groups – the people that wish you’d tell them how the magic trick is done and those that go to the magic store to actually find out.

Clearly, I’ve always been in the latter group (even when it comes to magic) since I spend most of my life wading through movie news. I do my best to avoid any true spoilers, but even something as simple as knowing who gets cast in a sequel can be a spoiler as to who doesn’t survive a flick.

I like knowing. I like being ahead of the curve. Yes, I admit that part of the appeal is feeling in on something before everyone else. That’s what’s cool about knowing spoilers, right? Being ahead of the average joe, having inside knowledge.

But the experience of movies is far more important than that. The journey is what matters – and knowing where that journey leads before taking the first step can change or dilute the sensation.

That doesn’t stop us from trolling the web daily for information on movies that we get excited about. So it makes me wonder, as a culture of people that check out movie blogs and movie sites with regularity – are we seated firmly in the group that relishes in the awe of the magic trick or in the group who needs to know how it’s done? And does being in either group discount a love of film?

What do you think?

A veteran of writing about movies for nearly a decade, Scott Beggs has been the Managing Editor of Film School Rejects since 2009. Despite speculation, he is not actually Walter Mathau's grandson. See? He can't even spell his name right.

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