Back in the late 1990s, you only had two options for discussing movies. You could hang out with friends in the parking lot or late night waffle hut afterward, complaining about nipples on Batman, or you could go online to sites like Aint It Cool and Movie Poop Shoot to give unbridled, anonymous opinions slathered with as much cursing vitriol as you pleased. That’s what the internet has given us. A tool to help social uprisings, and a forum for hiding your identity while calling Joel Schumacher a “douchenozzle.”
That wide-ranging usefulness is a thing of beauty, and Kevin Smith is seeking to tap into it with his new show, Spoilers.
The set up is simple: Smith will amass a crowd of 50 movie fans to watch a film and then discuss it afterward. Smith will play ringmaster, and members of the opinion-loaded audience will get to share to their heart’s content. In short? It’s the comments section come to life.
Of course, that’s not all the show has up its sleeves.
Beyond the populist slant, Smith revealed in this Wired interview that the show will also feature special guests like filmmaker Malcolm Ingram and actor Jason Mewes (of course), a segment called Criterion Corner where they check out the classics, and interviews with icons (Smith mentions Stan Lee and possibly Joss Whedon) who will sit in a throne to discuss their work.
The show will be exclusively on Hulu, which plays into his internet prowess. “To me it’s like, go where you got the juice. And where do I have the most juice in this world? It ain’t multiplexes — it’s online. Online I’ve got some sway. I’m like Lawnmower Man in that movie, I’m god here! You take me offline and in the real world I’m a fat, schlubby idiot. There it makes more sense for me, rather than be like, “Hey everybody! Close your computer and turn on your television!” It’s way easier for me to go on Twitter and drop a link and say, “Here’s the latest episode of Spoilers — go watch it at your convenience,” Smith said.
So Spoilers should bring a lot of things full circle. People used to solely talk with friends in person about movies, and while the internet changed that, Smith will use that culture to bring people back into the room together (albeit so that it can be broadcast on the internet and offered up for the meta comments section that will ensue). Plus, as Smith notes in the interview, he was a fan before he was a filmmaker. With this show, he’ll go from fan, to filmmaker, to fan-as-critic all in one theater.
It’s unclear what kind of criteria Smith will demand for audience members. Ostensibly, they’ve got to be more actively engaged than the typical television show live-laugh-track, but will there be an essay contest to see who gets a seat? Hopefully.
The whole show is an excellent idea, but it’s one that will have to be executed in the editing room. The one fatal flaw in Smith’s ability to work a crowd is his villainous monologue-ing. Great for live shows. Great for podcasts. Potentially terrible for a program meant to focus on audience participation.
Now the big question: will movie fans enjoy watching other movie fans talking about movies?