Spoilers: Do Not Want. March 28, 2011 5:21 PM   Subscribe

Just a reminder I'm sure we've had before, but I guess we need a refresher. Whether you like the show or not, have some consideration for others & don't give out spoilers like candy. I gave up on this thread after reading two comments containing the same spoiler.
posted by scalefree to Etiquette/Policy at 5:21 PM (238 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Wait, you're voluntarily clicking on a thread and link that's clearly labeled as the review of a particular movie and you're concerned about spoilers?

Can you hear my head hitting my desk from there?
posted by loquacious at 5:27 PM on March 28, 2011 [34 favorites]


Why would I bother reading a review of a movie I've already seen? I read reviews to know whether the movie is worth seeing.
posted by scalefree at 5:30 PM on March 28, 2011 [11 favorites]


Yeah I'm a bit confused. When something says "a review of X," it has a non-trivial chance of containing spoilers for X, especially if it's posted on a random blog and isn't a by a major mainstream critic. We're talking about a critical review, not a "should I see this film?" review. Go to the Times or Rotten Tomatoes or something if you want to know whether it's worth seeing.
posted by zachlipton at 5:34 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Scalefree, I'm very sympathetic. I loved this deadpan LTE in the New Yorker a couple of years ago:
I’m sure by now that The New Yorker has received at least some complaints about Anthony Lane’s review of the film “Watchmen” (The Current Cinema, March 9th). I, for one, was glad to see that he clearly spelled out the end of the film and the resolution of the central mystery in the first half of his review. I can speak only for myself, but I hate having to sit through an entire movie wondering, “What’s going to happen to that guy?” or “Who’s the bad guy?” or (most annoyingly) “How is this going to end?” Luckily, thanks to Lane, I won’t have to worry about any of those inconveniences. Now I just wish he had been around before I sat through all of “Citizen Kane,” when I could have just read a review called “It Was His Sled.”
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 5:34 PM on March 28, 2011 [22 favorites]


But why would you comment on a review of the movie if you haven't seen the movie? Of course the comments are going to be full of spoilers!
posted by phunniemee at 5:35 PM on March 28, 2011 [10 favorites]


Why would I bother reading a review of a movie I've already seen? I read reviews to know whether the movie is worth seeing.

If you're worried about spoilers why are you opening a thread where people are discussing that movie? The thread is clearly labeled, and we've had this discussion before. It's not everyone else's responsibility to avoid discussing a given pop-culture item until everyone has seen it.

Seriously, I don't get this at all.

Maybe I'm weird because I'll happily read the last pages of a good book and then happily read the whole thing through, but it's my strong opinion that any story or storyline that can be ruined by revealing the ending probably isn't worth watching/reading.

Good storytelling isn't about a surprised ending, a punchline or a twist. It's a journey and process. The only way to "spoil" a really good story is to read/view the entire thing.

posted by loquacious at 5:36 PM on March 28, 2011 [13 favorites]


You don't have to participate in the discussion to click through the link and read the review in the OP. I'm generally not that sympathetic to spoiler complaints, but really not to this one.
posted by immlass at 5:38 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Come on Conrad! Haven't you ever heard of rot13! (hamburger)
posted by Jahaza at 5:38 PM on March 28, 2011


(previously)

I guess this is about as good a policy statement we'll get on the issue.

People around here are usually pretty good about being respectful about potential spoilers, but apparently not when they deem the movie in question unadulterated dreck.
posted by jabberjaw at 5:39 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Grrr... that would have been funnier as:

"Come on Conrad! Haven't you ever heard of rot13! (unzohetre)

posted by Jahaza at 5:41 PM on March 28, 2011


It's clearly labeled as a review of the movie. I don't get this fallout at all. Though I knew it was coming.
posted by rtha at 5:43 PM on March 28, 2011


Good storytelling isn't about a surprised ending, a punchline or a twist. It's a journey and process. The only way to "spoil" a really good story is to read/view the entire thing.

Of course, some people feel quite differently, and for them, a work of art or entertainment can indeed be "spoiled" by revealing the ending. People enjoy things in different ways. I respect that knowing endings doesn't bother you - in fact, sometimes I wish I were more like that! But I just happen to like not knowing endings until I get to... the end. That's just how I am.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 5:43 PM on March 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Linking to spoilers happens. We'll relocate above-the-fold spoilers if people put them in their posts, but otherwise I sort of feel that MeFi didn't spoil the movie for you, that Tumblrblog did. The MeFi thread isn't a movie review, it's a place for talking about the movie. So while I'm semi-sympathetic to spoilers in a general sense [while still being a person who reads the last page of a book first to know who isn't dead] this isn't a great example of how to navigate around them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:44 PM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


It seems like the movie was already spoiled by the director. Talking about it isn't likely to make it worse.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 5:50 PM on March 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Why would I bother reading a review of a movie I've already seen? I read reviews to know whether the movie is worth seeing.

A review and a discussion thread about a review are not the same thing.
posted by scody at 5:57 PM on March 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


Spoilas gonna spoil.
posted by malocchio at 5:58 PM on March 28, 2011


Sucker Punch was his sled.
posted by staggernation at 6:01 PM on March 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


Maybe I'm weird because I'll happily read the last pages of a good book and then happily read the whole thing through, but it's my strong opinion that any story or storyline that can be ruined by revealing the ending probably isn't worth watching/reading.

Good storytelling isn't about a surprised ending, a punchline or a twist. It's a journey and process. The only way to "spoil" a really good story is to read/view the entire thing.


I agree with this. I never understand about the whole "spoiler" thing. as a matter of fact I actually ask people who've seen movies/read books before to tell me what happens so I can get that part over with and see if I will enjoy the actual story.
posted by patheral at 6:02 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


That said, I agree with Jessamyn and I don't think this is the best hill on which to make a stand. When I know I want to see a movie or TV show or read a book that's already been released, I take every effort to avoid reading reviews or blog posts, etc. about `em. (This was a serious pain in the ass for many years with LOST, which I'd save up to watch marathon-style after each season's end. God, what a waste that turned out to be.)

I think people should try to be polite about spoilers, and post warnings where spoilers might not be expected. (For instance, in "help me find this book I once read" AskMes, it would be nice if posters noted they were going to give away the ending before doing so.) But I think it's incumbent upon the spoiler-obsessed (like myself) to try hard to avoid things we don't want spoiled. But maybe that's easy for me to say, since I seldom am interested in seeing movies (which are, according to rigorous scientific studies, the medium most likely to be spoiled).
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 6:05 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


patheral: "I agree with this. I never understand about the whole "spoiler" thing. as a matter of fact I actually ask people who've seen movies/read books before to tell me what happens so I can get that part over with and see if I will enjoy the actual story."

It's funny, because I really can't grok the worldview of folks like yourself - I take delight in not knowing certain things. But whether we understand each other or not, surely we can respect each others' preferences? I mean, if you'd never seen Citizen Kane and asked me about "Rosebud," I wouldn't withhold that information because I'd want to force you to experience things the way I do. To each his/her own.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 6:08 PM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


I read the reviews and my take is that is wasn't internet comments that spoiled the movie, but the writing & directing.
posted by GuyZero at 6:09 PM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


HERMIONE DIES!
posted by doublehappy at 6:13 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I gave up on this thread after reading two comments containing the same spoiler.

What is the significance of the second spoiler? Do you work at the Pentagon?
posted by doublehappy at 6:16 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Of course, some people feel quite differently, and for them, a work of art or entertainment can indeed be "spoiled" by revealing the ending. People enjoy things in different ways. I respect that knowing endings doesn't bother you - in fact, sometimes I wish I were more like that! But I just happen to like not knowing endings until I get to... the end. That's just how I am.

Yeah, I can sympathize with this, too... but it's really difficult. It's something I that doesn't come to me naturally and I find it difficult to understand. I'm not saying my viewpoint is the one true viewpoint at all, just that I don't get it.

I think it's partially due to having read so much fiction that I find most plot arcs to be reliably predictable, especially when it comes to Hollywood. Having read some real stinker books in the SF world, my standard approach is to skip around and read a few pages in different spots from the middle and even the actual ending. If it grabs me and engages my attention at any/all points while skipping around like that I probably want to read the whole thing.

Stuff like Citizen Kane's sled is in it's own epic class of obtuse "What!? Oh, now it makes sense." A similar but less epic plot twist would be something like the Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man."

Not even remotely in the same epic class of surprise meanings/endings for me would be, say, The Crying Game or any of M. Night Shame-a-thon's "what a twist!" crapfests.

On the other hand, I sometimes wish I did get the opposite mindset of caring about spoilers, because then I could probably actively enjoy Joss Whedon's stuff or most any given serialized drama like Lost, but I don't. Excessively overwrought and overly fluffed plot arcs just chafe me like a pair of wet and sandy burlap underpants on a fifty mile hike.
posted by loquacious at 6:16 PM on March 28, 2011


It seems like the movie was already spoiled by the director. Talking about it isn't likely to make it worse.

I read the reviews and my take is that is wasn't internet comments that spoiled the movie, but the writing & directing.

The problem is, just because you don't respect the movie doesn't mean that it's okay to disrespect your fellow Mefites that may want to see the movie without knowing its ending first.

It wouldn't have been that hard to indicate that the movie review posted in the link might spoil the movie. I agree that the discussion thereafter in the thread is up for grabs, in general, when discussing the movie. But a little spoiler alert in a post never hurt anybody.
posted by jabberjaw at 6:20 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I knew the thread was likely to contain spoilers, so I just clicked the link, thinking it was a normal review (like, say, from Ebert and most other reviewers) that wouldn't reveal key spoilers. Obviously this isn't something I'm going to lose sleep over, but at the same time I don't think a "(contains spoilers)" note by a link of that sort is really too much to ask, is it?
posted by Gator at 6:20 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


My take was that the OP here was referring to the spoilers within the thread itself. And yeah, spoiler warnings are polite but not mandated for stuff behind links.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:23 PM on March 28, 2011


I think it's partially due to having read so much fiction that I find most plot arcs to be reliably predictable

We are all not in your head. Spare us mortals your wisdom, kind sage.
posted by haqspan at 6:24 PM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Spoilers would indicate the movie experience was ruined by the information existing in the review... given that the main topic was "this movie is drek." I'm pretty certain that no matter what anyone said, they weren't suddenly going to make a good movie out of a bad movie.

The only less subtle bad review of a movie lately was the ask me that wanted to know who made the trailer for Battle: Los Angeles.
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:29 PM on March 28, 2011


We are all not in your head.

Sure you are. A cosmos that was this screwy could only be the product of a deranged, hallucinatory imagination.

Spare us mortals your wisdom, kind sage.

Did you know you can ingest LSD rectally?
posted by loquacious at 6:37 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


But does it still work as a poop transplant?
posted by elizardbits at 6:39 PM on March 28, 2011



Spoilers would indicate the movie experience was ruined by the information existing in the review... given that the main topic was "this movie is drek." I'm pretty certain that no matter what anyone said, they weren't suddenly going to make a good movie out of a bad movie.


but there's alot of YMMV going around. i've read a few reviews of Sucker Punch on sites like The AV Club, Outlaw Vern, and Roger Ebert and none of them spoiled the movie without labeling the spoilers first. that review had a big spoiler that, yes, did mess it up.

if you don't like someone's entertainment choices that's cool but this isn't Birdemic or The Room. there will still be people who want to see it
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:39 PM on March 28, 2011


and loquacious, its not about twists. its about dramatic weight, and effect, and suspense, and all that fun stuff
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:40 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Soiler alert!
posted by Burhanistan at 6:42 PM on March 28, 2011


Walt is the final cylon and is discovered while working for Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.


oops, sorry.
posted by special-k at 6:42 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was with scalefree for the first few comments...then I realized that everyone on MF expects there to be spoilers when there's talk of a movie.

Great. Enjoy the rest of the reviews...I'll be putting in the spoilers just for you in every single one!
posted by hal_c_on at 6:53 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


For those of us too lazy to read the thread (or the review) what spoiler is scalefree talking about?
posted by cjorgensen at 6:55 PM on March 28, 2011


yeah, it's pretty bizarre. also, did people ever think that we might go to MetaFilter to help us decide whether to consume some bit of media? it's a thoughtful group of people and it would be nice to get a bit of the group consensus without dropping in spoilers on a movie that's barely come out
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:55 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is why I only ever write the first few chapters of anything. Once I figure out how it's going to end, I pretty much stop giving a fuck.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:55 PM on March 28, 2011


Did you know you can ingest LSD rectally?

Actually, I knew someone who had done some volunteer medical work in some part of northern Africa. They told me that a lot of meds were given rectally. Its because the region/culture was known for eating very spicy food that would leave the anus kinda "raw" when they were pooping.

So yeah...gross...but interesting!
posted by hal_c_on at 6:56 PM on March 28, 2011


Rosebud is a sled.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:58 PM on March 28, 2011


Rosebud was his anus!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:00 PM on March 28, 2011 [9 favorites]


Good storytelling isn't about a surprised ending, a punchline or a twist

Honestly, I think I'd have been pretty pissed off if someone had informed me about Kaiser Sose. Arguably, learning the truth about Kaiser Sose was the entire journey of "The Usual Suspects," and spoiling that really would impact the journey of watching it.

But then, I didn't see that one coming at all, despite having a really good feel for plot line arcs.

But then again, too, I know not to go in threads discussing a movie I may wish to see, and for movies I may see but don't care much about at all, I'll check it out.

Regardless, there are a number of movies and books where knowing the ending could defeat the purpose of the journey and lessen the enjoyment/impact of the journey.

(And I do apologize if I spoilered anything here.)
posted by zizzle at 7:01 PM on March 28, 2011


*Soze, even
posted by zizzle at 7:02 PM on March 28, 2011


I like the idea of generally trying to avoid revealing twists in current popular media, and I try not to do so. Once some time has passed, however, or in general conversations about said media that take some effort to read (e.g., one must click through to a discussion ABOUT THE FREAKING MOVIE), I find that my sympathy gives way entirely. I take the admonition to not reveal spoilers in any conversation, or about old movies or novels, to be an unreasonable attempt to control how people are allowed to interact with the world based on the whim of people who have not come to terms with the fundamental truth that time marches on. It's selfish in the extreme to ask (as a matter of policy) people to limit conversation because YOU have not gotten around to reading that five year old novel, or have decided to participate in a discussion that has a reasonably high probability of containing spoilers.

If it's that important to you, stay off the internet. You can choose between civil engagement with those who realize that the unrevealed ending loses it's primacy after a time, and keeping your unreasonable demands to yourself by yourself. It's jerky to bring this up every time your delicate sensibilities about this get bruised, without recognizing that it's your sensibilities that are delicate, rather than, as you would have it, that others are insensitive.
posted by OmieWise at 7:03 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I read reviews about movies I've seen all the time. Because they tell me all the little things I've missed. Because I'm fucking dense.
posted by pwally at 7:04 PM on March 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


If it's that important to you, stay off the internet. You can choose between civil engagement with those who realize that the unrevealed ending loses it's primacy after a time, and keeping your unreasonable demands to yourself by yourself.

after a time. this is a film that's barely out in the States, and isn't out in Australia (and i presume other markets). a simple SPOILER WARNING on the linked review would be nice, especially since there are plenty of reviews that don't contain spoilers.

It's jerky to bring this up every time your delicate sensibilities about this get bruised, without recognizing that it's your sensibilities that are delicate, rather than, as you would have it, that others are insensitive.

you're the one coming across a bit unreasonable and insensitive here. it's not that my 'sensibilities are delicate'. it's that i'd prefer not to have the ending of a movie that ISN'T EVEN OUT HERE YET spoiled.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:09 PM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Just a reminder I'm sure we've had before, but I guess we need a refresher. Whether you like the show or not, have some consideration for others & don't give out spoilers like candy.

I honestly don't know what you're talking about. To me, it's a simple fact that a thread about a movie will reveal spoilers, because people are discussing the movie. You can't change what people do or what they talk about on the web, so it probably makes better sense to just avoid threads like that.

That said, it's just Suckerpunch, not high art or a really good story. It's kinda hard to imagine that it's possible for it to be contain spoilers.

Also, I LOVE reading reviews of movies after I've seen them. A lot of times, the reviewer will mention other movies that inspired the current film or how the director has done similar or different movies. Or they'll come up with another angle on the film that makes it more interesting. Most reviews are terrible if you haven't seen the movie because the reviewers tell you what they saw, filtered through their own fallible lens, and often screw up plot points because they missed something or didn't understand another some subtext. Reading reviews before seeing a movie? That's just crazy. Read'em after wards and you learn more.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:09 PM on March 28, 2011



I honestly don't know what you're talking about. To me, it's a simple fact that a thread about a movie will reveal spoilers, because people are discussing the movie. You can't change what people do or what they talk about on the web, so it probably makes better sense to just avoid threads like that.


not if the movie is barely out


That said, it's just Suckerpunch, not high art or a really good story. It's kinda hard to imagine that it's possible for it to be contain spoilers.


there are people on this site who love videogames, comic books, and all sorts of b-movies. this isn't a fair statement or one that's easy to back up. can you let us decide if it's a good story before we watch it? I thought Inception was pretty boring but I'm not going to spoil the twist for everyone
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:11 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


It wouldn't have been that hard to indicate that the movie review posted in the link might spoil the movie. I agree that the discussion thereafter in the thread is up for grabs, in general, when discussing the movie. But a little spoiler alert in a post never hurt anybody.

"A little spoiler alert" hurts ALL of us, because it sets up a framework that places the blame on being unaware of major plot points on everyone EXCEPT the people who want to be unaware of them. If you don't want to know about plot points in a movie, it's YOUR responsibility to avoid places where those plot points will likely be discussed. Yes, it's easy to be nice and say "SPOILER!", but it's even EASIER to take some personal responsibility and think "Hmmm, I probably shouldn't read this thread/review if I don't want to know anything about the movie."
posted by 23skidoo at 7:11 PM on March 28, 2011 [11 favorites]


I know this thread isn't really about Watchmen (the movie) but it did remind me of why I never bothered to watch it: I realized that I already knew all the spoilers.
posted by Curious Artificer at 7:13 PM on March 28, 2011


Kaiser Soze had no anus.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:21 PM on March 28, 2011


not if the movie is barely out

There is no barely out on the web. If the film is showing in theatre and ends at 4am in the morning, by 2am some has already posted about it to Twitter. Hell, advance previews of scences were probably screened months ago at some comic book convention.

If you hate spoilers, avoid web discussions about the film.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:22 PM on March 28, 2011


The best reviewers and commenters can articulate their opinions and criticisms of a film or book without giving away significant plot details. The very best reviewers and commenters choose to do so. Those who do not are nasty, selfish, inconsiderate little shitweasels who would benefit greatly from being repeatedly bludgeoned into unconsciousness with socks full of frozen toads.

I just recently had to mete out such treatment to an unutterable cackhound who dared to inform me that giving away the ending of Nic Roeg's masterful "Don't Look Now" was perfectly acceptable because "Hey, that film's been out for forty years." Oh really? What a shame there are all these teeneagers and young adults around who didn't have the decency to exist forty years ago so that they could see the film with you and your clued-in, finger-on-the-cinematic-pulse pals, EH FUCKFACE?

Don't spoil the fucking film for others who may not have seen it yet. You're a dick if you do.
posted by Decani at 7:28 PM on March 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


this isn't a fair statement or one that's easy to back up. can you let us decide if it's a good story before we watch it?

1. It was an opinion, non a statement.

2. People can decide what they like, of course, but they can dictate the conversation in discussion thread. If one doesn't want to read about a movie, then don't start reading a discussion about a movie.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:30 PM on March 28, 2011


Hey Decani, how are things?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:33 PM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


I like the cut of your jib, Decani.

You talk big, and you swing hard. I like that. Lets get banned together!
posted by hal_c_on at 7:36 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


l33tkey

It's 2011. Learn to use rot13 already, people.
posted by Eideteker at 7:37 PM on March 28, 2011


Also, I want to apologize to scalefree for coming on way too strong and dismissive with the "Can you hear my head hitting my desk from there?" fuckery. For right or wrong, better or worse I did actually slap my forehead when I read this meta, but I don't actually have to be a dick about it.

If it's any defense I've been cat sitting in a big house all alone for 6+ days, and I'm getting a little punchy. I'm actually starting to talk to the cats, because the internet apparently isn't enough.
posted by loquacious at 7:43 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Don't spoil the fucking film for others who may not have seen it yet. You're a dick if you do.

By this measure, everyone who discusses the fucking sled in Citizen Kane in public is a dick. In fact, taken to its logical conclusion, this would imply there can be no public discussion of any key plot points or endings of any work of literature, theater, film or TV -- from Hamlet to Seinfeld -- because "someone" reading or hearing the discussion may not have read or seen it yet. This is not only totally untenable, it is nonsense of such enormity that we need a bigger boat.
posted by scody at 7:46 PM on March 28, 2011 [19 favorites]


walk the cat
talk to the computer.

The movie sucks.
posted by clavdivs at 7:46 PM on March 28, 2011


I just recently had to mete out such treatment to an unutterable cackhound who dared to inform me that giving away the ending of Nic Roeg's masterful "Don't Look Now" was perfectly acceptable because "Hey, that film's been out for forty years." Oh really? What a shame there are all these teeneagers and young adults around who didn't have the decency to exist forty years ago so that they could see the film with you and your clued-in, finger-on-the-cinematic-pulse pals, EH FUCKFACE?

EXACTLY. I saw that movie when i was a kid and the ending was just plain BAM! perfect

"A little spoiler alert" hurts ALL of us, because it sets up a framework that places the blame on being unaware of major plot points on everyone EXCEPT the people who want to be unaware of them. If you don't want to know about plot points in a movie, it's YOUR responsibility to avoid places where those plot points will likely be discussed. Yes, it's easy to be nice and say "SPOILER!", but it's even EASIER to take some personal responsibility and think "Hmmm, I probably shouldn't read this thread/review if I don't want to know anything about the movie."

'hurts all of us'?
'personal responsibility'?

all you need to do is take two seconds to type 'SPOILER' after the review. not everyone is a completely enlightened above it all media prophet who gazes upon all the work of man with a knowing world weariness. most normal reviews do not spoil films and, if they do, the review itself labels the spoilers. the Outlaw Vern review i linked does that, and i stopped reading before he spoiled the ending
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:56 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


without clicking the link: 'Lifeboat'
posted by clavdivs at 7:58 PM on March 28, 2011


Jaws, dam.
posted by clavdivs at 7:58 PM on March 28, 2011


This is not only totally untenable, it is nonsense of such enormity that we need a bigger boat.

GODDAMNIT!!

Rosebud's a sled, baby. Rosebud's a sled.
posted by loquacious at 7:59 PM on March 28, 2011


I was going to finally finish watching Citizen Kane tomorrow, until scody ruined everything.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:59 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, what an ass, that scody. Telling everyone about the ending of CK.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:02 PM on March 28, 2011


honestly, even the jokes about Citizen Kane are annoying. there are tons of classic movies I haven't watched yet, and it's usually pretty easy to avoid spoilers on them. but threads like these turn everyone into an ass.

and again, Citizen Kane wasn't RELEASED THIS WEEK. Nobody's reading a MeFi thread trying to decide whether to watch it.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:06 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe I'm weird ...
posted by loquacious


*Does doubletake*

Um... loq? Not quite sure how to bring this up, mate. Ahem. Cough. You do realize that the jury isn't exactly still out on this? Riiiiight? Loq?
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:10 PM on March 28, 2011


Nobody's reading a MeFi thread trying to decide whether to watch it.

Don't read threads about movies you haven't seen yet. It'll end in disappointment.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:10 PM on March 28, 2011


The whole notion of reading a review to decide if you want to see a movie is foreign to me. I always read the reviews after I watch the movie to see what everyone else's take on it was. Only at that point, I call it "film criticism" and pat myself on the back for being such a discerning cineaste. *APPLAUSE*
posted by dhammond at 8:12 PM on March 28, 2011


Don't read threads about movies you haven't seen yet. It'll end in disappointment.

so if i'm not supposed to read reviews or MeFi threads how do i figure out what films to see?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:13 PM on March 28, 2011


Don't read threads about movies you haven't seen yet.

Then I'll never see ANY movies!!!
posted by hal_c_on at 8:13 PM on March 28, 2011


so if i'm not supposed to read reviews or MeFi threads how do i figure out what films to see?

I just call Matt at home, and ask him. I thought everyone did.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:16 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Nobody's reading a MeFi thread trying to decide whether to watch it."

Well not any more.
posted by klangklangston at 8:17 PM on March 28, 2011


Citizen Kane wasn't RELEASED THIS WEEK. Nobody's reading a MeFi thread trying to decide whether to watch it.

True. But I've got the DVD sitting on a shelf at home. I keep thinking that one of these days I'll watch it. But every once in a while, someone on the Internet ruins the ending. After a few days, I get over the ruination and start thinking about watching it again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. It's been four years.
posted by vidur at 8:21 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


'hurts all of us'?
'personal responsibility'?



Yes, hurts all of us. Yes, personal responsibility. Coffee is hot enough to burn you, lawnmower blades will cut off your fingers, and many movie reviews discuss plot points. I'd say about 1/3 of the ones that I read do.

all you need to do is take two seconds to type 'SPOILER' after the review. not everyone is a completely enlightened above it all media prophet who gazes upon all the work of man with a knowing world weariness. most normal reviews do not spoil films and, if they do, the review itself labels the spoilers. the Outlaw Vern review i linked does that, and i stopped reading before he spoiled the ending

Oh, seriously, come ON. It doesn't take a completely enlightened above it all media prophet to be able to think "Hmmmm. I bet plot points might be discussed in this review." When you read a review of a movie, you're taking a chance. If you end up spoiling the movie for yourself, that's your own damn fault.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:23 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Spoiler: The vampire is actually Harry the Bastard and the guys owe him 500 quid.
posted by The World Famous at 8:26 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


You talk big, and you swing hard. I like that. Lets get banned together!
posted by hal_c_on at 3:36 AM on March 29


I also swing big and talk hard, but that's not important right now.

We will not get banned. We are smarter than that. Depersonalise all criticism. .

By this measure, everyone who discusses the fucking sled in Citizen Kane in public is a dick.

They most certainly are if they do not precede such discussion with something close to the following:

"So, hey, Citizen Kane... you've seen it? No? You want to? Yes? Okay. So... Libya, eh? Fuck!"
posted by Decani at 8:29 PM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh, seriously, come ON. It doesn't take a completely enlightened above it all media prophet to be able to think "Hmmmm. I bet plot points might be discussed in this review." When you read a review of a movie, you're taking a chance. If you end up spoiling the movie for yourself, that's your own damn fault.

strange how 3 of the reviews i read before that had no spoilers

and i was referring to loquacious and others 'i don't even care what the plot is' stance
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:29 PM on March 28, 2011


The vampire is actually Harry the Bastard and the guys owe him 500 quid.

Well. What a complete bastard.

The World Famous, have we got a video?
posted by bakerina at 8:31 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey Decani, how are things?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:33 AM on March 29


Absolutely top hole, darling. Except for a nagging and mysterious pain around the left flank, that is, but I find a daily dose of fine Islay renders that mischievous scamp at least semi-impotent. May the dark Lord bless those wily Celtic malt wizards!
posted by Decani at 8:43 PM on March 28, 2011


I agree with all of you. Except for that one jerk, up thread. Man, what a jerk.
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:43 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Citizen Kane wasn't RELEASED THIS WEEK. Nobody's reading a MeFi thread trying to decide whether to watch it.

If I recall correctly, there was an earlier spoiler discussion thread (or derail in a TV thread) in which someone suggested precisely this -- that people shouldn't discuss Citizen Kane in too much detail because there are people today who haven't seen it and who will therefore be deprived of a "pure" experience and/or discouraged from seeing it if they know ahead of time what Rosebud is. (As if the pleasure/acclaim/importance of Kane is somehow entirely encompassed in this plot point, and not the totality of the film itself.)

Additionally, if I'm reading your comment about "Don't Look Now" correctly, you seem to think it's reasonable to expect that people not "spoil" a 40-year-old Roeg film... so why wouldn't the discussion of a 70-year-old Welles film be held to the same standard?

The thing is, I'm not actually pro-spoiler; I've had a bunch of things spoiled for me (including one of the most upsetting/unexpected deaths on The Sopranos, which I will not reveal here) and I understand it's upsetting. But popular culture moves at a crazy clip these days due to the internet and social networking, and if it's that deeply important for you to remain unspoiled on something very current, then there's no real fail-safe mechanism except to avoid exposing yourself to the risk (i.e., don't click on a review of a film you haven't seen, because you don't know which ones will contain unmarked spoilers and which ones won't). Someone, somewhere, is always going to forget to label a spoiler a spoiler (or not even agree with you as to what constitutes a spoiler in the first place).
posted by scody at 8:45 PM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


YES WE'VE GOT A VIDEO!
posted by The World Famous at 8:45 PM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Additionally, if I'm reading your comment about "Don't Look Now" correctly, you seem to think it's reasonable to expect that people not "spoil" a 40-year-old Roeg film... so why wouldn't the discussion of a 70-year-old Welles film be held to the same standard?

pretty much only because Kane's spoiler is so 'memetic'. but even then it's just a standard dick move. it's part of the same 'taking something seriously? ASSHOLE JOKE' mindset
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:49 PM on March 28, 2011


Just today some asshole poster spoiled Buenos Aires for me by showing me the interior of a totally awesome book store that is in Buenos Aires and that I otherwise would have happened upon through the natural progression of my exploration of the streets of Buenos Aires, where it would have been an amazing and personal revelation. So there's that ruined. Go ahead and tell me how the world ends, why don't you?
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:55 PM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


not with a bang, but with a... OW! STOP KICKING ME
posted by scody at 8:56 PM on March 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


I find a daily dose of fine Islay renders

...everything so much more pleasant and delightful. I think I'll have some myself.
posted by rtha at 9:17 PM on March 28, 2011


If you haven't seen a movie, and you're strolling around on the internet clicking links with that movie's name in them

well

guess what
posted by chaff at 9:23 PM on March 28, 2011


again, you're claiming that people who want to see something should just avoid reviews altogether.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:27 PM on March 28, 2011


again, you're claiming that people who want to see something should just avoid reviews altogether.

People who want to be completely surprised by the plot of a movie should avoid reviews altogether. Maybe they can just stick with finding out how many stars or whatever a reviewer gave the film, or just reading the headlines. But yes, if someone wants to remain in the dark about the plot of a movie, they should avoid reading any reviews of the movie.
posted by The World Famous at 9:30 PM on March 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'd say if you need to, look at the critical response in aggregate but yeah, don't dive into a single person's critical response essay to the movie, it's probably going to contain spoilers. The reviewer has a right to deploy spoilers.
posted by chaff at 9:33 PM on March 28, 2011


again, you're claiming that people who want to see something should just avoid reviews altogether.

Well, they should avoid discussions on MetaFilter, is the point, I think. I don't see how it's my responsibility to make sure you have a great viewing experience. Nor should you be concerned about my viewing experience. There are plenty of places to read thoughtful, unspoiled reviews on the internet. I don't think it's reasonable to expect MetaFilter to be one of those places.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 9:33 PM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


So back when the LOTR movies were in full spring, I fed fake spoilers to my now enraptued friends who never read the books but desperately needed to know what happened to Frodo.

I liked the one I came up with both Frodo and Gollum falling into the lava at the end. Good times.
posted by The Whelk at 9:36 PM on March 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


Also I remember some forum discussion about ROME when it was going on, and the general consensus that if we have both a major English language play and a month of the year named after a person, then it's not a spoiler.
posted by The Whelk at 9:38 PM on March 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


I can understand being ticked off by an egregious spoiler in a review(Despite being mostly spoiler-indifferent myself), but it's silly to expect MeFites to refrain from discussing plot points of a movie or book or show in an FPP about a movie or book or show and to be shocked! Shocked! when they do.

On preview, That's Numberwang! totally spoiled this comment.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:43 PM on March 28, 2011


People who want to be completely surprised by the plot of a movie should avoid reviews altogether. Maybe they can just stick with finding out how many stars or whatever a reviewer gave the film, or just reading the headlines. But yes, if someone wants to remain in the dark about the plot of a movie, they should avoid reading any reviews of the movie.

i'm talking specifically about the ending, not the plot. most of the reviews don't spoil the ending. the one linked in the thread did. it should have had a Spoiler Warning
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:44 PM on March 28, 2011


I don't see how it's my responsibility to make sure you have a great viewing experience.

It's really just out of basic respect. You know, kind of how we've all agreed to use the same conventions of capitalization in our posts, because this makes our text easier to read and understand? It's like that. Just simple, common courtesy, really. Not hard at all.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:45 PM on March 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yes, avoid reviews. Use imdb or rotten tomatoes number scale. Alternatively: read the critical response or reception link on any movie's Wikipedia page.

The world can and will not wait till you've the movie. Act accordingly.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:00 PM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


again, you're claiming that people who want to see something should just avoid reviews altogether.
See, when you said this, i thought you had finally seen the light, but then you wrote this:

i'm talking specifically about the ending, not the plot. most of the reviews don't spoil the ending. the one linked in the thread did. it should have had a Spoiler Warning
and I realised you still don't get it.

If you don't want to learn about any particular part of a film/book/porn compilation before you see/read/masturbate to it, then don't read reviews of it on the Internet first! Doing so will almost always leave you disappointed. It really is as simple as that. Expecting that everyone else on the Internet avoid discussion of something until you have personally seen it (which is what you are doing) is simply ridiculous.
posted by dg at 10:04 PM on March 28, 2011


"What? He goes on her face and she's all 'Oh yeah! Yeah!'??? Thanks a lot, jerk!"
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:07 PM on March 28, 2011


Damnit, I hadn't seen that one yet! Jerk.
posted by dg at 10:25 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, seriously, come ON. It doesn't take a completely enlightened above it all media prophet to be able to think "Hmmmm. I bet plot points might be discussed in this review." When you read a review of a movie, you're taking a chance. If you end up spoiling the movie for yourself, that's your own damn fault.

strange how 3 of the reviews i read before that had no spoilers

Strange how you read what I wrote and interpreted it as "If you read 3 reviews, at least one of them will have a spoiler". You can read lots of reviews that have no spoilers. You can also read lots of reviews that do have spoilers. There is no way of knowing what kind of review you will be getting if you just go around reading random reviews.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:30 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is no way of knowing what kind of review you will be getting if you just go around reading random reviews.

Unless somebody is polite enough to put a spoiler warning before the link. Which is what this thread is about.
and I knew that the publications i read generally don't spoil things out of general editorial policy.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:34 PM on March 28, 2011


Expecting that everyone else on the Internet avoid discussion of something until you have personally seen it (which is what you are doing) is simply ridiculous.

no, this is about a review with spoilers not being marked 'spoiler'
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:35 PM on March 28, 2011


You know, kind of how we've all agreed to use the same conventions of capitalization in our posts, because this makes our text easier to read and understand?

(Except there are plenty of people on the internet, and on MetaFilter, who haven't agreed to those conventions, and really, it's okay.)

It's really just out of basic respect. Not hard at all.

Well, okay. I guess. I have not seen Sucker Punch, and am spoiler-neutral in general, so it's hard for me to understand why this is a big deal. I suppose my point is not that it's too hard for me to keep from spoiling something for you, but rather that the burden is on you, not on the world at large, to keep your viewing/reading/listening experience pristine.

Having said that, I don't disagree that a "[POSSIBLE SPOILERS]" in the text of an FPP is appropriate. If for no other reason than that it potentially spares us from threads like this.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 10:36 PM on March 28, 2011


There is no way of knowing what kind of review you will be getting if you just go around reading random reviews.

Unless somebody is polite enough to put a spoiler warning before the link. Which is what this thread is about.

No, unless EVERYONE does it, there's still no way of knowing. And since THAT'S never going to happen, the for someone who doesn't want to read any spoilers to be SURE they're not going to read any spoilers is to stick to reviewers whose reviewing style they are intimately familiar with. A post without an accompanying "SPOILER WARNING" is not the same as a post that says "NO SPOILERS IN THIS POST".
posted by 23skidoo at 10:43 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's always interesting to see what kinds of things other people care intensely about. I don't like spoilers very much, but I actually dislike (LOUD EXCLAMATIONS IN THE MIDDLE OF OTHERWISE COHERENT TEXT!) more than I dislike spoilers. So I'm less likely to read a review if I see (SPOILER ALERT!) on the page. It's just disruptive.
posted by bardophile at 10:43 PM on March 28, 2011


no, this is about a review with spoilers not being marked 'spoiler'

I dunno, while the linked review has the spoiler in its first paragraph, it seemed to me that scalefree's issue was with in-thread spoiler comments.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:44 PM on March 28, 2011


so if i'm not supposed to read reviews or MeFi threads how do i figure out what films to see?

You identify a few specific movie critics or critical outlets that work for you on a sufficiently spoiler free level. Or you start reading or become a member of an online community specifically dedicated to spoiler-free or spoiler-warned discussion of creative media. You familiarize yourself with recommendation engines. You get what you can out of numeric rating systems. You take the occasional blind risk.

There are a whole lot of things a person can do to pursue their desired balance of critical analysis vs. spoiler safety regarding films and television and books and so on. Getting large groups of other people to spontaneously change their habits out of deference to that desired balance is not one of them. Metafilter threads about creative works are likely to contain explicit discussion of the content of those works. It is impractical to expect otherwise, and if it is important to you to not have a work spoiled in any way your only sane move is to avoid Metafilter threads about that work.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:56 PM on March 28, 2011 [14 favorites]


It's kind of interesting that this topic is so divisive and people have such strong feelings about it. I was thinking I didn't have strong feelings about it and I'm now thinking I was wrong. I think we can add this to the list along with declawing cats, etc.

Hey? You know what would be really cool? It'd be really cool if all of humanity that's ever existed could hang out together and experience and share the same works of art together all at the same time and just, like, riff on each other, you know? Like maybe someone finally figured out immortality and/or time travel like in and we went back or sideways or whatever and rescued everyone and all the art throughout time and had plenty of time to just hang out and maybe selectively wipe our memories and then experience every last scrap of creative work very best to the very worst all together. It would be a total gestalt scene, man. Then we could go on to make all kinds of more new art having seen all that.

But I could also totally go for a donut right now, but I don't have one of those either.
posted by loquacious at 11:09 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


God, some of you guys are being insufferable just to... well, I guess I have no clue why. The twist ending of a movie that had been out in its nation of first release was spoiled in the first couple of paragraphs of the primary link marked as a review. Also, not to be americancentric or anything, but I frequently read reviews of movies I haven't seen yet on rottentomatoes and metacritic, and not once have I had the fucking ending of a movie straight laid out like that.

All dude is asking I'd for you to type "spoiler alert." Jesus, with all this flailing around about 40 year old movies and personal responsibility and outing yourself in a goddamn Internet isolation chamber if there's any morsel of culture you haven't yet consumed, you'd think your parents told you to clean your room or something.

There may be edge cases. The link in this fpp wasn't one of them. Next time take the less than one second that it takes to type the thirteen characters in "spoiler alert" and then bask in the sensation of not being an inconsiderate dick. It takes far less effort than arguing about it in metatalk for hours afterward, AND it doesn't negatively impact anyone, at all, in the entire universe! Come up with a counterargument for this, seriously.
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 11:11 PM on March 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


Lots of phone typos, sorry. I'd = is, outing = putting, etc.
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 11:13 PM on March 28, 2011


I knew that the publications i read generally don't spoil things out of general editorial policy.

Metafilter is not a publication with an editorial policy, editorial board, or articles edited before being published.
posted by scody at 11:14 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I accept that MeFi is not a spoiler-free zone, because it's impractical and unfair to make the mods police it. But this...

I think it's partially due to having read so much fiction that I find most plot arcs to be reliably predictable

... is the exact reason I try not to get spoiled. Once in a while, someone does something surprising with plot or character. And since surprise is one of the feelings I enjoy (along with suspense, fear, amusement, etc) when I consume media, I'd prefer not to miss out on any of it. Surprise is more valuable to me because it's rare.
posted by harriet vane at 11:14 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm torn - spoilers are the worst, except for when they're not.

Few years ago, I was in a comic shop flipping through a new issue I has been pretty stoked about for awhile. Shop owner, who was a weirdo in the first place, sees me looking at it and says, "Can you believe [CHARACTER ON THE COVER] dies at the end of that?" What? WHAT? What the fuck, dude? That doesn't even make sense as a thing to do - how you reckon I'm gonna buy this comic now that you've let all the air out of it? I can't remember what was said, but I did bark at him a little. And wound up buying the comic anyhow after I started feeling bad for barking.

On the other hand, there's Buffy the Vampire Slayer - an amazing TV series that I never gave a chance while it was on the air cuz I'd only seen the movie. And the movie? Yikes. No thank you. It wasn't until I accidentally caught the VERY LAST EPISODE of the series on syndication on accident that I realized, dag, maybe there's something to this show that was on for seven years and earned the love of thousands. Seeing all the crazy crap that was going off at the end made me want to go back to the beginning and see how it all went down.

Sometimes it seems like my spoiler sensitivity depends on how serious I take a given movie or story or whatever. For instance, I've had the fate of a major, major character in Preacher blown and that's kinda been a bummer - the wind went out of my reading quite a bit after finding that out. Shit, as I type this, I'm realizing that it was Wizard magazine that did that spoiling, Wizard which ain't even around anymore. So I've definitely let one little spoiler, one little bit of information reaching my brain out of sequence, delay my full digestion of the Preacher story for far too long. Which is absurd, because I give a shit about Preacher. Glee, on the other hand, I couldn't give a shit about but will watch because it's goofy, harmless fun with singing and dancing and Jayma Mays being too foxy for life all over the place. Glee, I don't care what order I see the episodes in, cuz fuck it, it's Glee. And, consequently, I'm all caught up on it. Preacher? One spoiler bummed me out so much that I've been meaning to get around to finishing it for going on eight years or so now. In this case, increasing my investment in what's spoiled and what isn't has led to my hearing less of the story I care about and all of the story I could take or leave in any order.

Huh. That seems backwards.
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:38 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]



Metafilter is not a publication with an editorial policy, editorial board, or articles edited before being published.


No. But my point is that if it linked to one of the review sites i normally use, i'd know it was spoiler free. Conversely, if I was linking to something like Agony Booth (which recaps movies) i'd tack on a SPOILER WARNING because I wouldn't expect readers to be familiar with it.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:39 PM on March 28, 2011


Conversely, if I was linking to something like Agony Booth (which recaps movies) i'd tack on a SPOILER WARNING because I wouldn't expect readers to be familiar with it.

Which is very considerate of you (and for what it's worth, I would do the same), but my point (and the point of most of us who are all being called dicks) is that it's unrealistic to expect that the thousands of other people who use Metafilter will all uniformly abide by the same practice, nor is it realistic to expect the mods can somehow enforce such a practice with every single post or discussion concerning film, TV, books, etc. Which, as a practical matter, leaves it up to people who are particularly spoiler-averse to assume the risk in clicking on links.
posted by scody at 11:55 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


People who whine about spoilers are SPOILER crankypants crybabies.
posted by maxwelton at 12:29 AM on March 29, 2011


I can think of only one movie that I skipped because of a spoiler: people were saying the new Kevin Spacey movie was really good and had a really cool surprise, so I was all set to see it, but then someone somewhere (here? I don't remember) said that the Spacey character telling the story was also actually the unknown bad guy at the heart of the story. Well. Without that central mystery, I'm not sure that movie is all that interesting. Maybe I'll watch it one day, but the whole thing will be different and it certainly won't have the HOLY FUCKING SHIT! ending that the director had intended.

But if I had really wanted to preserve the mystery for myself, I shouldn't have been gormlessly reading online chat about it. I can't expect everyone to save or limit their chat until I've given the all clear. You guys are not my doctors or lawyers or movie reviewers.
posted by pracowity at 12:30 AM on March 29, 2011


#firstworldproblems
posted by klangklangston at 12:42 AM on March 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


take the less than one second that it takes to type the thirteen characters in "spoiler alert"
Yeah, I agree that it's a Good Thing to do, but people shouldn't get all whiny when not everyone agrees, either.
posted by dg at 12:49 AM on March 29, 2011


Everybody dies.
posted by at the crossroads at 1:48 AM on March 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


The best reviewers and commenters can articulate their opinions and criticisms of a film or book without giving away significant plot details. The very best reviewers and commenters choose to do so. Those who do not are nasty, selfish, inconsiderate little shitweasels who would benefit greatly from being repeatedly bludgeoned into unconsciousness with socks full of frozen toads.

Sorry, but that first bit just isn't true - the best reviewers engage with every aspect of the film in question. See _Sight & Sound_, where they give a full synopsis of every film under review. Reviewers in the popular press don't give away plot details because the studio's PR dept. don't want them to, and they'll lose access if they spoil some shitty blockbuster.

That said, it's just rude to spoil on MeFi, because a lot of folk feel so passionately about it. As someone said above, spoiling a film here is akin to recommending declawing a cat.
posted by a little headband I put around my throat at 2:03 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Loquacious I totally agree that meow meow is the kind of meow that meowfilter could do better but face it meow meow meow meow meow. Meow?
posted by Splunge at 2:03 AM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


That said, it's just rude to spoil on MeFi, because a lot of folk feel so passionately about it. As someone said above, spoiling a film here is akin to recommending declawing a cat.

The problem with declawing a cat is not that cats feel passionately about their claws. The problem with declawing a cat is that the cat has no say over whether or not they are diminished in this way. That is entirely unlike MetaFilter; so long as a thread is clearly marked about a thing, the user is responsible and capable of being responsible for their own experience.

Things get linked on MeFi for subjects that I don't care to know about in advance. I don't click on those links and I don't read those discussions. Now, in fairness, there really aren't that many things I care to not be spoiled about, but also in fairness, it's possible to anticipate when that's a possibility. There have been threads where people spoil completely unrelated things in a given discussion. I think that is bullshit. But spoilers in a given discussion about the topic of that discussion, or even inside of the topic of that discussion, are not taboo. Sure, it'd be nice if the users of MetaFilter marked spoilers as a rule, but there are a ton of things that the users of MetaFilter could potentially mark as difficult in this way or that that it doesn't and it probably shouldn't, as policy. MetaFilter is not a safe space.
posted by Errant at 2:27 AM on March 29, 2011


My favourite spoiler response was Barry Norman's dismissal of the woman who wrote into the BBC Film show complaining that he ruined the end of Titanic by mentioning that it sank - "It's historical fact!" (I may be paraphrasing).
posted by arcticseal at 2:49 AM on March 29, 2011


Sheesh, I normally don't even get the plot of things. What can a spoiler ruin?
posted by Namlit at 3:57 AM on March 29, 2011


Sometimes I don't care if someone tells me how a movie ends, sometimes I do. Sometimes just knowing that there might be a twist is enough to ruin the movie for me, sometimes it makes the movie for fun. The safe option is to spoiler tag everything, I guess, but who the fuck wants to do that all the time? Seriously, I'd be interested to know how often people have movies ruined for them on the internet. I browse indiscriminately (unless I've recorded the football - then I steer the fuck clear of the internet) and I would estimate that I've had perhaps two movies ruined for me in the last year; one of those was spoiler tagged but I just missed the tag, and the other one was Hot Tub Time Machine, which, well, there's a hot tub and it becomes a time machine and everyone learns a valuable lesson.

Your computer is a magical gateway to pretty much anything... you take your chances.
posted by doublehappy at 4:01 AM on March 29, 2011


"Rosebud is his sled" doesn't ruin Citizen Kane. Seriously, it's part of popular culture. People who have never seen the film know what Rosebud is. If you have any interest in watching it, you probably already know what it is. But knowing it doesn't ruin the film. There is a hell of a lot going on in the film that isn't diminished by the impact of knowing the final twist. In fact, the film is well worth watching with that knowledge just to appreciate how layered the character of Charles Foster Kane is.

It would be nice to watch all films without knowing how they end, but some are too big and too important. It would be awesome to watch The Empire Strikes Back without knowing that Vader is Luke's father, but, well, you know... now there's a whole prequel trilogy that ruins that little surprise.

But if any film is diminished entirely by knowing the final twist, I'd say it's not much of a film. Of the twist doesn't make you want to watch the film again, I'd say it's not much of a film.

Besides, the ending of Sucker Punch is just a retread of the ending of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Ooops, spoilers.
posted by crossoverman at 4:24 AM on March 29, 2011


Spoilers are a pain in the arse, but I know better than to enter a MeFi post that links to a movie review if I want to avoid spoilers for said movie.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:25 AM on March 29, 2011


True. But I've got the DVD sitting on a shelf at home. I keep thinking that one of these days I'll watch it. But every once in a while, someone on the Internet ruins the ending. After a few days, I get over the ruination and start thinking about watching it again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. It's been four years.

Forgive me if I'm responding seriously to a non-serious post, but trust me, Citizen Kane is NOT about what 'Rosebud' is. AT ALL. Literally, the guy says "Oh, I wonder what Rosebud is. I'll talk to his friends/family/coworkers and ask." Then the film is full of flashbacks bookended by "Rosebud? No idea. But since you're here, let me tell you about Charlie." And THAT'S the film.

And then the end of the film says "Oh, this is what Rosebud was by the way, for those of you who still care."
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:34 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


In fact:

GIRL
What about Rosebud? Don't you
think that explains anything?

THOMPSON
No, I don't. Not much anway.
Charles Foster Kane was a man who
got everything he wanted, and then
lost it. Maybe Rosebud was
something he couldn't get or lost.
No, I don't think it explains
anything. I don't think any word
explains a man's life. No - I
guess Rosebud is just a piece in a
jigsaw puzzle - a missing piece.

posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:37 AM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


no, this is about a review with spoilers not being marked 'spoiler'

What part of "This movie made me hate myself: A review of Sucker Punch" is confusing you? What did you think a thread about a review of movie you haven't seen would be discussing? Do you really think there would be no spoilers or that everyone would be using spoiler alerts? Were you actually willing to take that chance when it only takes one person to ruin that idea?

Look, I hate getting spoilers about movies too. I was running from any and every thread and person who looked like they wanted to talk about Inception, because it's important to me to see movies in as a blank slate as possible. It's magical and wonderful to see a movie unfold, not having a clue what's going to happen and in the hands of a good director and crew, it's great thing to experience. Therefore I don't read threads about movies I really want to see before I've seen them. IMDB's start rating seems to match my tastes a lot, so I just glance at that to give me an idea of what people in general think of the movie without talking to anyone about it. Problem solved.

Finally, a note to those who still want to see spoiler warnings on Metafilter: Ya'll would make a better case if you didn't take a condescending attitude and call people who disagree with you dicks and/or some variance of the lowest form of humanity. It doesn't help your case.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:42 AM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


My wife and I have a Tivo, and we often don't get around to watching stuff the day it tapes it, so we're often in the position of being potentially spoiled on a lot of television shows or sporting events at any given moment. What we do is if we see an internet thread that discusses one that we don't want to get spoiled on, we ASSUME THERE WILL BE SPOILERS and don't even read it.

(Where this falls down is Twitter and Facebook, where a spoiler can come out of left field by one thoughtless poster, with no warning. So if I unfollowed you, or unfriended you, you know why, dude.)
posted by crunchland at 4:47 AM on March 29, 2011


Ferris Bueller is dead the whole time.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:17 AM on March 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Rosebud Frozen Peas

SPOILER ALERT: They're full of country goodness and green peaness.
posted by SpiffyRob at 5:23 AM on March 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Did you mean to say penis?
posted by Think_Long at 5:42 AM on March 29, 2011


Charlotte dies. Frodo lives. Jesus does both.
posted by Karmakaze at 6:01 AM on March 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh. Argh. I'm not even anti-spoilerphobe.

When I have in-person conversations about media I'll often pause and do a "does anyone here care about spoilers" check before going in-depth. I don't post spoilers to twitter and put plot discussions under a fold or cut when I make blog posts. I make myself aware of spoiler policies on the fora I participate in and abide by them.

And yet, still, every time this conversation comes up, I get really annoyed at the people complaining about spoilers. And feel the desire to say rude things, like my previous post. Because something about "you are conducting your public conversation, to which I have invited myself, in a manner I don't like," just grates on me.

I guess its kind of like the thread we had a little while ago about giving up a seat on the subway. I can (and do) gladly give up my seat when I notice someone in need, and I'll especially get up if asked directly. But if someone comes on and gets all "Oh, everyone is so rude and horrible here when I so desperately want to sit," then, darn it, I'm not budging.
posted by Karmakaze at 6:26 AM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


At the risk of saying something obvious, I think that people will continue to prefer to experience things in different ways, and that a little thoughtful consideration on both sides would go a long way, you dicks.
posted by box at 6:38 AM on March 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Probably could have done with a (contains spoilers) in the post body, TBH, even if that was fairly guessable.
posted by Artw at 6:55 AM on March 29, 2011


Forgive me if I'm responding seriously to a non-serious post, but trust me, Citizen Kane is NOT about what 'Rosebud' is. AT ALL. Literally, the guy says "Oh, I wonder what Rosebud is. I'll talk to his friends/family/coworkers and ask." Then the film is full of flashbacks bookended by "Rosebud? No idea. But since you're here, let me tell you about Charlie." And THAT'S the film.

And then the end of the film says "Oh, this is what Rosebud was by the way, for those of you who still care."


Now that's what I call a spoiler.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 6:56 AM on March 29, 2011


if it is important to you to not have a work spoiled in any way your only sane move is to avoid Metafilter threads about that work.

Sure, but when the main link in a post massively spoils a brand-new movie, there should be a mention of that in the post. I'm actually surprised one of the mods didn't add a spoiler warning to that one. cobra_high_tigers was right above:

There may be edge cases. The link in this fpp wasn't one of them.
posted by mediareport at 6:58 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay.

On the one hand: most reviews do not print "spoilers" in the sense that Lovecraft in Brooklyn is meaning; they discuss some plot points, yes, but not the plot twists that draw someone in. A review would say "so it's about this guy named Luke Skywalker who get swept up in this big galactic war against evil Darth Vader," but a review would not say, "oh, and guess who Luke's father is????"

But on the other hand: Metafilter discussion threads are not reviews. They are places where people can talk about "omigod, did any of you guess who Luke's father was? That blew me away!" Or they are places where people can talk about reviews -- "say, did anyone think this review dropped some pretty big anvils about who Luke's father was?"

Sure, it'd be nice if someone mentioned "just a reminder that there may be SPOILERS HERE" in their post, but I think most people take that as a given. Because it's not a review.

So -- no one is saying people should avoid reviews. But avoiding discussion threads, even ones ABOUT reviews, may be smart.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:02 AM on March 29, 2011


most reviews do not print "spoilers" in the sense that Lovecraft in Brooklyn is meaning; they discuss some plot points, yes, but not the plot twists that draw someone in

Except for A.O. Scott at the NYT. Goddamn that fucker (and his non-editor) for routinely spoiling major scenes for no fucking reason at all.
posted by mediareport at 7:08 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sure, but when the main link in a post massively spoils a brand-new movie, there should be a mention of that in the post.

I'm gonna go with "could be" instead of "should be". I think giving a heads up about spoilers when there's a reasonable need is a nice thing to do, but it's not mandatory, there's no mefi-side "should" here, and context matters.

And the context here is a post that is explicitly about a review of a film—and from the post text pretty obviously either a very bad review or an ironic or sarcastic one. There's no hint of reverence to the film; this was not a blind link to potential spoilers, it was a pretty obviously spoiler-dangerous link. Click through with caution. Read the thread with caution.

That's basically all there is to it: whether it's could or should, it's certainly not must, and "well what if there had been a warning in case x" does not solve the general problem. If you are spoiler averse, you need to embrace your agency when it comes to reading metafilter, because that is the only practical solution to avoid spoilers consistently.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:25 AM on March 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


A friend of mine in Newcastle went to go and see Titanic at the cinema when it came out.

As she was waiting in line, two women came out of the theatre having an emotional discussion of how harrowing the scene was as the ship finally went down.

The person behind my friend in the line complained out loud - deadly seriously - "OH, THANKS FOR RUINING THE ENDING!"
posted by MuffinMan at 7:28 AM on March 29, 2011


By the way, I don't understand the "this movie is 40 years old you should have seen it by now" argument. I remember an angry discussion on this site from a few years ago about whether or not it was OK that some old short story (The Monkey's Paw, I think) had been spoiled on the Blue. People were simply lining up to say, It's a hundred and ten years old for god's sake! Like I should have read it a hundred and ten years ago.

The age of a film has hardly anything to do with whether or not everyone can be expected to have seen it. I knew Rosebud Was His Sled by the time I was ten, before I ever even had the opportunity to see Citizen Kane. Now, I don't mind that. I accept that it's just a part of the culture that everybody knows about Rosebud, Soylent Green and Keyser Soze. But since I don't wish to experience every movie through memetic osmosis, I'm glad nobody spoiled, say, Les diaboliques for me that way, even though it came out in 1955 and I should have seen it then, thirty-four years before I was born.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 7:33 AM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


> The person behind my friend in the line complained out loud - deadly seriously - "OH, THANKS FOR RUINING THE ENDING!"

I agree that sounds kind of ridiculous on the surface (no pun intended), but maybe that person was thinking the movie wouldn't end just with the ship sinking and didn't want to know the particulars so they could own the narrative in their mind as they watched it. As the movie was, it was possible to "spoil" it by mentioning the scene where the old lady held on to the jewels all that time and then finally ditched them in the same spot where they were looking for them.

But, just because we know the historical outcome of a particular movie doesn't mean it can't be spoiled.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:35 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rosebud was Phoebe Hearst. Or Marion Davies' clitoris, depending on who you choose to believe.
posted by quin at 7:40 AM on March 29, 2011


The age of a film has hardly anything to do with whether or not everyone can be expected to have seen it.

With respect, it totally does. This is not to say that you should have necessarily seen every old film, but that there's a cultural expectation that, as time passes, more people will have seen whatever cultural product is being referred to. There's a certain amount of "What's reasonable?" assessment that needs to happen in these situations and while it's considerate to try to not spoil an ending for a movie that is a week old, it's less considered a necessary caution to do for something that is a year or a decade or a century old.

I sympathize with the mimetic osmosis problem, but I feel that this is the sort of thing where if you are on the internet and you are concerned about things being spoiled for you because that is a sensation/state of being that you hate, you have to be the one who is cautious and not expect everyone to adjust their etiquette.

And in this case, if the OP had asked, we would have added a spoiler warning to the link, but honestly I had no idea there was a spoiler or how serious it was. The discussion falls squarely into caveat emptor. The OP can't add a spoiler warning to conversations that haven't happened yet [though people try to do this sometimes on AskMe and that's nice of them] and other people have a reasonable expectation that if you're reading a thread about a crappy review of a current movie, people might be discussing plot details.

Again I totally get where people are coming from, they're bummed out, they feel like a thing was messed up for them. As an easily irritated person, I totally sympathize. But realistically short of asking people to be more cautious about linked content containing spoilers [which has happened, and then people got called dicks, and then I think the liklihood of people doing that sort of thing to be nice dropped double digit percentages] you're going to have to take your chances.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:42 AM on March 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


This is not to say that you should have necessarily seen every old film, but that there's a cultural expectation that, as time passes, more people will have seen whatever cultural product is being referred to. There's a certain amount of "What's reasonable?" assessment that needs to happen in these situations and while it's considerate to try to not spoil an ending for a movie that is a week old, it's less considered a necessary caution to do for something that is a year or a decade or a century old.

Exactly.
And that is the reason why this is working at all. (as an aside, when I first saw this particular Simpsons episode, I knew nothing about Star Wars [yup], and guess what, I just didn't get it, was all)
posted by Namlit at 7:52 AM on March 29, 2011


I'm 40. I still haven't seen Casablanca. Now metafilter knows my shame I've got nothing left to hide.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:05 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


!'m 37 and I still haven't seen Logan's Run. (Now metafilter knows my shame.)
posted by 23skidoo at 8:09 AM on March 29, 2011


cjorgensen: "I'm 40. I still haven't seen Casablanca. Now metafilter knows my shame I've got nothing left to hide."

23skidoo: "!'m 37 and I still haven't seen Logan's Run. (Now metafilter knows my shame.)"

We should all arrange a massive movie night meetup. :)
posted by zarq at 8:14 AM on March 29, 2011


I'm older than both of you, and I haven't seen Gone With the Wind, and frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.
posted by crunchland at 8:22 AM on March 29, 2011


there's a cultural expectation that, as time passes, more people will have seen whatever cultural product is being referred to.

It took me so long to realise I should probably skip the introductions to classic novels I haven't read.
posted by rollick at 8:23 AM on March 29, 2011


> "!'m 37 and I still haven't seen Logan's Run. (Now metafilter knows my shame.)" We should all arrange a massive movie night meetup. :)

Don't go to that meetup! They know you're over 30 and will kill you or make you run!
posted by Burhanistan at 8:25 AM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


cjorgensen: "I'm 40. I still haven't seen Casablanca. Now metafilter knows my shame I've got nothing left to hide."

23skidoo: "!'m 37 and I still haven't seen Logan's Run. (Now metafilter knows my shame.)"


I'm 41 and I haven't seen: Gone With The Wind, Chinatown, The Maltese Falcon, Raging Bull, The Sting, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, Dracula, Frankenstein, Goodfellas, or anything directed by Hitchcock. And I only saw Casablanca this year because a movie-buff friend who was crashing on my couch pretty much ordered me to watch with him when it was on Turner Classic Movie's runup to the Oscar schedule a couple weeks ago.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:27 AM on March 29, 2011


I'm 34 and I still haven't seen Psycho, Chinatown, or The Maltese Falcon and I'm not really ashamed.

Although, I just watched the Wizard of Oz a couple of months ago. And the hell of it is, I totally thought I knew what the movie was about but I was completely wrong. I knew about the Wizard, the Wicked Witch, the water, the house, the shoes, and all that, but there was still some thematic stuff I didn't see coming. Occasionally, cultural osmosis will steer you really wrong.
posted by nooneyouknow at 8:27 AM on March 29, 2011


> or anything directed by Hitchcock.

Holy crap. I mean....holy crap. That needs some kind of intervention.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:29 AM on March 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos , I feel like we have to kidnap you for a long weekend or so.
posted by The Whelk at 8:31 AM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


To be fair, I've seen bits of things by Hitchcock. There's a lot of things I've seen half of or a quarter of, because they came on the "Saturday Afternoon Movie" screenings on TV when I was a kid. Do they count?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:33 AM on March 29, 2011


That counts as much as a quarter when you need cab fare to the airport.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:34 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm 34 and have never seen Titanic, but I pretty much know the gist.
posted by box at 8:39 AM on March 29, 2011


So, sorry if I'm an idiot, but I read the Sucker Punch review and the thread and I don't get what the spoiler was. There's no twist ending and everything in the review was something either revealed or strongly hinted at in the previews for the movie. What's the spoiler?
posted by The World Famous at 8:43 AM on March 29, 2011


No, no! The gist is that Wall Street guys are pussies and working class Americans are fast talking, self-sacrificing heroes. Same as Avatar.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:44 AM on March 29, 2011


HERMIONE DIES!

This is seriously the first thing I have seen that makes me in any way inclined to read the Harry Potter books.
posted by bilabial at 8:49 AM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Actually, she was dead the whole time. Keyser Söze killed her with a poisoned rosebud.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:54 AM on March 29, 2011


When I saw Titanic, it was in the middle of a huge ice storm when half of the power lines (or by then, maybe more) into the city had fallen, though most of the downtown core had power still. Nevertheless, as the boat was filling with water and the cameras were rushing through the third class cabins (equipped, I later found out, with automatic flush toilets which flushed every 15 minutes because the riff-raff couldn't be expected to know how to flush), the power cut out. Everyone sat there for 20-30 minutes because maybe the power might have gone back on and it's not like there was anything else to do, as the glass ceiling of the building made it too dangerous to actually walk along the halls.

But, eventually, a movie employee came in and told us that we would not be getting power back that day (or, at my house, for the next 10 days, though he did not mention that fact) and we should all go and pick up our free tickets to come back and see the movie when there was power. Some guy called out "Just tell us if the ship sinks!" and the employee, horrified and lacking any sense of humour, told us he couldn't spoil the movie.

When seeing that Baz Luhrmann Romeo & Juliet film in theatres, I heard a lot of complaining by the audience that the prologue spoiled the ending of the movie, and I've also seen people irritated that there are spoilers in reviews for the Jane Eyre movie. "Viewer, I married him."

That said, I think reviews should be spoiler-free for new films that are not based on classic works of literature, and if they do end up spoiling the movie, they should warn you. Criticism should be expected to have spoilers. Metafilter comments should also be expected to have spoilers. I was really disappointed to find out what ended up happening to Omar in The Wire (the only spoiler that made it through, so I guess that worked out well enough).
posted by jeather at 8:54 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lovecraft in Brooklyn: the movie is barely out

Partial containment breach is containment breach. The film is out, people have seen it, and they will discuss what they have seen. 'Barely' isn't particularly relevant.
posted by Dysk at 9:17 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


> 'Barely' isn't particularly relevant.

"Barely" isn't all that relevant inside a thread, but if it's a relatively new piece of media then any thread about it here should be well qualified with warnings for unsuspecting readers. I'm not sure what the statute of limitations is, but it's probably shorter for movies than books. Once inside a thread then all bets are off for spoilers and people should be able to comment unreservedly.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:20 AM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

So, sorry if I'm an idiot, but I read the Sucker Punch review and the thread and I don't get what the spoiler was. There's no twist ending and everything in the review was something either revealed or strongly hinted at in the previews for the movie. What's the spoiler?
I have not seen the movie, but presumably its that gur urebvar vf ybobgbzvmrq va gur raq, engure guna gevhzcunagyl rfpncvat ure cevfba.
posted by Karmakaze at 9:24 AM on March 29, 2011


As much as I personally love ROT-13 it might surprise some of you that we get emails when there's unmarket ROT-13. It's as if they think you may have just had a stroke and just kept on typing.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:27 AM on March 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


What's ROT-13 for The Castle Aargh!?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:30 AM on March 29, 2011


Heh. I remember the frenzied huff about there being text that users couldn't read without a token effort, despite that being the actual point of it.

Now if the need arises I just do naked spoilers with maybe a little warning ahead of time. Fuck it, it's what Metafilter demanded.

This business...

SPOILER
.
.
.
.
.
...is a waste of time and just draws your eye to the spoiler.
posted by Artw at 9:31 AM on March 29, 2011


I have not seen the movie, but presumably its that gur urebvar vf ybobgbzvmrq va gur raq, engure guna gevhzcunagyl rfpncvat ure cevfba.

Oh for crying out loud. That's not even a spoiler.
posted by The World Famous at 9:46 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


it's my strong opinion that any story or storyline that can be ruined by revealing the ending probably isn't worth watching/reading.

Some variation of this statement inevitably gets brought up just about every time the subject of spoilers is discussed, and frankly, it almost seems like a non-sequitur to me.

The issue isn't that a story is irrevocably ruined if revealing plot points are spoiled. It's that some people prefer to watch a film, read a book, etc. while having the plot unfold in the manner the writer intended. Whether or not the story is contingent upon a "surprise" ending is irrelevant.

(Though I agree with the general statement that clicking on a thread about a movie, be it new or old, and expecting the content to be spoiler free is a little silly)
posted by The Gooch at 10:07 AM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just a reminder I'm sure we've had before, but I guess we need a refresher

This is terribly disingenuous if you have read the mod comments in past threads.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:21 AM on March 29, 2011



Wait, urebfvar is engure's father?! That makes no sense, why would guna pretend otherwise?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:23 AM on March 29, 2011


I tend to be fairly hard-line against spoilers, particularly when it comes to discussion of a "statute of limitations" on spoilers (yes, there are people who are just now seeing Citizen Kane for the first time, and I would like to particularly commend Darth & Droids for writing a non-spoiler explanation of a "Rosebud" reference when it was used in the strip). However, as far as where spoilers may appear, it is entirely acceptable for them to appear in a thread, where it is clear from the FPP that the work will be discussed in the thread, with no additional warning or obfuscation. Essentially, the mention of the work above the fold is the spoiler warning, and all reasonable people should take it as such.

I successfully avoided spoilers for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for two years after the book was released (until the paperback came out and I read it then), not by withdrawing from the internet entirely, but simply by not clicking through to threads which were clearly HP-related (not only here but on many other sites as well) and avoiding HP-dedicated sites entirely. It seems rather common sense to me that if you do not want to be spoiled for Sucker Punch, you should not click through to a thread where Sucker Punch is clearly going to be discussed.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:33 AM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


loquacious: it's my strong opinion that any story or storyline that can be ruined by revealing the ending probably isn't worth watching/reading.

The Gooch: Some variation of this statement inevitably gets brought up just about every time the subject of spoilers is discussed, and frankly, it almost seems like a non-sequitur to me.

Not to mention the implication that everyone should enjoy a story the same way loquacious does, and if someone enjoys it in a different way then they're doing it wrong.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:36 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


True story:

When my sister was in college (in the US, in the south), a bunch of the girls were sitting around watching Gone with the Wind. One of them left at one point and didn't come back, and asked the other girls how it ended, "you know - how did the war end?"
posted by Pax at 10:43 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher: "Jnvg, herosine vf rather'f sngure?!"

YBY
posted by idiopath at 10:52 AM on March 29, 2011


[SPOILER WARNING] Some cars have a device which aerodynamically creates an additional downward force when the car is in motion, giving the tires added traction.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:00 AM on March 29, 2011 [10 favorites]


Jesus, people. The fact that rosebud was a sled wasn't a twist, and isn't a surprise ending. It didn't really matter what rosebud was. The whole point of the film is that a person's life can't be understood by a single word uttered at the moment of his death -- in fact, his entire life can't even be understood by discussing him with a single person who knew him, because people, especially big people, are many people, depending on who knew them and how they knew them, and so each teller is going to offer a slightly different story. "Rosebud" is just the macguffin that gets us started on this story, but it could have been any word. It just happens to be a sled that makes a cameo appearance in an early scene. It has a narrative moment -- the young Kane swings the sled at somebody who is coming to take him away from his parents. But it has no great significance, and couldn't have; if it was too meaningful, it would have undermined the point of the film.

That Bruce Willis was dead all the time is a spoiler. That Rosebud is a sled is not.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:01 AM on March 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


It didn't really matter what rosebud was.

That's the twist.
posted by Artw at 11:04 AM on March 29, 2011


I'm partial to the sausage macguffin with egg, myself. So long as it's not spoiled. Not that it's always easy to tell the difference.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:07 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree, Astro Zombie. Citizen Kane gets trotted out all the time in these discussions, but regardless of its age, it's not really the best example. The other movie to which you refer is a much better example of a movie that people should be able to see unspoiled, if they desire to.

And it's not that knowing the ending to the movie ruins it (and for that reason, "spoiler" is an unfortunate choice of words; the movie isn't "spoiled" in the sense of "ruined" if you know the ending in advance). It's still a good movie even if you know the ending. But it's a different experience—not better or worse, just different—to watch the movie knowing the ending in advance than to watch it without knowing the ending. And if you are one of those who don't care whether you know the ending in advance, that's fine (and I'm actually with you for about 98% of movies, where I will happily seek out spoilers; it's just a small fraction of movies, which I'm particularly excited to see, that I don't want to have spoiled).

That said, for those few movies I don't want spoiled, I make a point of not reading internet threads or reviews about the movie until I've seen it, and it would be absurd to think I could go about willy-nilly relying on explicit spoiler warnings to avoid spoilers.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:11 AM on March 29, 2011


[SPOILER ALERT] I let my 4-year-old eat candy for breakfast.
posted by The World Famous at 11:11 AM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Rosebud" is just the macguffin --- I'd be willing to bet that anyone who knows what a "macguffin" is has probably also seen Citizen Kane.
posted by crunchland at 11:20 AM on March 29, 2011


Nope.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:25 AM on March 29, 2011


Naw. I've never seen CK but know that McGuffin is that dog that takes a bite out of crime.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:25 AM on March 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


bacon is good.
posted by clavdivs at 11:34 AM on March 29, 2011


Naw. McGuffin is that kid in Superbad. SPOILER ALERT: The briefcase in Pulp Fiction contained a slip of paper with one word. It's the word that Bill Murray whispered to what's her name at the end of Lost in Translation. MacGruber.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:34 AM on March 29, 2011


Bill Murray whispered more than one word to what's her name at the end of Lost in Translation.

He whispered: "Gurer'f n cynar jnvgvat sbe hf gb gnxr hf gb Zvnzv va na ubhe, nyevtug? Qba'g znxr n ovt guvat nobhg vg."

(Jung, lbh gubhtug fur jnfa'g tbvat gb fgrny n yvar sebz ure qnq? Cyrnfr.)
posted by The World Famous at 11:39 AM on March 29, 2011


Yrnir gur tha. Gnxr gur pnaabyv.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:41 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kasper Gutman is actually Aliester Crowley, the Maltese Falcon is actually an artifact required for a ceremony to summon the Moonchild and herald in the apocalypse.
posted by Artw at 11:42 AM on March 29, 2011


Not to mention the implication that everyone should enjoy a story the same way loquacious does, and if someone enjoys it in a different way then they're doing it wrong.

I don't believe that at all. I pointed out upthread that I don't think my opinion is the "right" way at all, but simply that I don't understand the spoiler thing at all. I just have a different opinion and values.

That's not a quantitative statement. I don't expect people to read books starting at the back like I do. People are free to enjoy media however they want to enjoy it.

But as pointed out by many others, expecting the world (or even just MetaFilter) to be a spoiler free zone is folly.
posted by loquacious at 11:42 AM on March 29, 2011


Pbagenel gb cbchyne oryvrs, Yberz Vcfhz vf abg fvzcyl enaqbz grkg. Vg unf ebbgf va n cvrpr bs pynffvpny Yngva yvgrengher sebz 45 OP, znxvat vg bire 2000 lrnef byq. Evpuneq ZpPyvagbpx, n Yngva cebsrffbe ng Unzcqra-Flqarl Pbyyrtr va Ivetvavn, ybbxrq hc bar bs gur zber bofpher Yngva jbeqf, pbafrpgrghe, sebz n Yberz Vcfhz cnffntr, naq tbvat guebhtu gur pvgrf bs gur jbeq va pynffvpny yvgrengher, qvfpbirerq gur haqbhognoyr fbhepr. Yberz Vcfhz pbzrf sebz frpgvbaf 1.10.32 naq 1.10.33 bs "qr Svavohf Obabehz rg Znybehz" (Gur Rkgerzrf bs Tbbq naq Rivy) ol Pvpreb, jevggra va 45 OP. Guvf obbx vf n gerngvfr ba gur gurbel bs rguvpf, irel cbchyne qhevat gur Eranvffnapr. Gur svefg yvar bs Yberz Vcfhz, "Yberz vcfhz qbybe fvg nzrg..", pbzrf sebz n yvar va frpgvba 1.10.32.
posted by Splunge at 11:44 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


True, but sometimes it's nice to make reasonable efforts to help people out.
posted by Artw at 11:44 AM on March 29, 2011


Yberz Vcfhz vf n fbpvnyvfg, naq cebonoyl jnfa'g obea va Nzrevpn!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:46 AM on March 29, 2011


Kasper Gutman is actually Aliester Crowley, the Maltese Falcon is actually an artifact required for a ceremony to summon the Moonchild and herald in the apocalypse.

Alan, get off metafilter and finish LoEG: Century already.
posted by The Whelk at 11:57 AM on March 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Forgive me if I'm responding seriously to a non-serious post, but trust me, Citizen Kane is NOT about what 'Rosebud' is.

Yeah, I wasn't entirely serious. I do indeed have the unwatched DVD siting on a shelf at home. But if it were unwatched because someone kept spoling it, I would be an idiot.
posted by vidur at 12:00 PM on March 29, 2011


I thought the bigger issue with the post was that it was just some blogger's long snarkfest and pile of look-how-clever-I-am-in-criticizing-something writing. Shitty post.
posted by ambient2 at 12:09 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


V is for victuals
posted by clavdivs at 12:19 PM on March 29, 2011



As much as I personally love ROT-13 it might surprise some of you that we get emails when there's unmarket ROT-13. It's as if they think you may have just had a stroke and just kept on typing.
I'm sorry. I did not mean to alarm anybody. (Nor to start a bunch of Rot13 horsing around, but I could probably have predicted that with a moment's thought.)
posted by Karmakaze at 12:37 PM on March 29, 2011


PVPREB JNF N ANAPLOBL!
posted by clavdivs at 12:51 PM on March 29, 2011


Wolfram Alpha disappoints.
posted by Artw at 12:56 PM on March 29, 2011


Pguhyuh sugnta!
posted by ego at 1:00 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


It didn't really matter what rosebud was.

That's the twist.


If that's the twist, why do people consider saying, "Rosebud was the name of his sled!" a spoiler, instead of, say, "A person's life and identity cannot be summed up or explained by a single incident"? If anything, Citizen Kane is a great argument against concern for spoilers: A story can't be summed up or reduced to a pithy summary of how it ends. Telling someone what happens in a movie would be like telling the detective that Rosebud was Kane's sled. It's one thing about the movie, but it isn't the movie itself.
posted by Marty Marx at 2:26 PM on March 29, 2011


Well, it's not like there's many people who go in watching it unspoiled these days, but I'd guess it would be a very different experience and they'd have a different reaction to that revelation than if they weren't. ( of course, that reaction might be "what, this mystery you've been dragging me through this story with is actually never solved by the characters, and is something arbitrary anyway? What is this, Lost?" rather than the "correct" filmschool one we've all learned).

It's one thing about the movie, but it isn't the movie itself.

Well... yes?
posted by Artw at 2:36 PM on March 29, 2011


If I recall correctly, advertisements in theaters urged viewers not to reveal the identity of rosebud after they'd seen the movie. It was less a spoiler and more a marketing technique.
posted by klangklangston at 5:02 PM on March 29, 2011


BINGO!
posted by Splunge at 5:31 PM on March 29, 2011


here's a spoiler for you... anyone who took the time to read 218 comments in this thread is a frigging idiot...

Good lord, this thread shouldn't have taken more than 3 comments to resolve, and the last one would have been "guess I'm gonna close this up".

no, I didn't read them, why would I??
posted by tomswift at 6:19 PM on March 29, 2011


Now now, we can all get drunk and talk about movies now.
posted by The Whelk at 6:20 PM on March 29, 2011


pitcher shows and other such asundries, what of it?
posted by clavdivs at 6:22 PM on March 29, 2011


I like the flickers, like dreams they are.
posted by The Whelk at 6:27 PM on March 29, 2011


Well, it's not like there's many people who go in watching it unspoiled these days, but I'd guess it would be a very different experience and they'd have a different reaction to that revelation than if they weren't. ( of course, that reaction might be "what, this mystery you've been dragging me through this story with is actually never solved by the characters, and is something arbitrary anyway? What is this, Lost?" rather than the "correct" filmschool one we've all learned).

I saw Soylent Green recently. It was a really effective bit of ecological sci-fi that worked its magic really weel. the silly twist everyone parodies was barely a part of it
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:58 PM on March 29, 2011


Maybe I'm completely senile, but isn't there a shot like 10-15 minutes into Citizen Kane where you can see the damn sled's name? By definition, if the answer to a question pops up in the first 1/3 of the movie, mentioning it is not a spoiler.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:20 PM on March 29, 2011


Artw: Wolfram Alpha impresses.
posted by markr at 7:59 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm completely senile, but isn't there a shot like 10-15 minutes into Citizen Kane where you can see the damn sled's name?

Actually, Spider Robinson came up with a bigger point.

The whole "mystery" behind CITIZEN KANE is that "rosebud" was his last word, and then he dies. And people are trying to figure out what "rosebud" meant.

But think about this question for a second:

If Kane died alone, who even heard him say "rosebud" in the first place?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:53 PM on March 29, 2011


If Kane died alone, who even heard him say "rosebud" in the first place?

The Force.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:36 AM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am 29 on Saturday and I have never seen any Star Wars films bar The Phantom Menace (I was made to).

I only saw The Usual Suspects a month ago.

And I avoid all the Mad Men threads on here until I've caught up - though there was a post on Tiger Beatdown where someone chastised the author in the comments for posting a spoiler - 'I mean, mentioning that [X] did [X]'? It would have been ironic if it hadn't ruined the major event in the final episode of season 1 - one which was utterly unexpected - by RESPOILERING. Gnargh.
posted by mippy at 9:21 AM on March 30, 2011


I am 29 on Saturday and I have never seen any Star Wars films bar The Phantom Menace (I was made to).

Oh my god. My boyfriend hasn't seen any Star Wars, either. It's our biggest issue.

Him: Want to watch a movie?
Me: Sure.
Him: What is there to watch?
Me: Well, there's...STAR WARS!!!
Him: Dude, I don't want to watch Star Wars.
Me: OMG WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU, PSYCHO?!
Him: Let's watch The Big Lebowski again.
Me: Okay.
posted by phunniemee at 9:39 AM on March 30, 2011


Because, like Monty Python, everyone has gone on about it so much that the mere mention of the iconic moments makes us non-adherents want to stab ourselves in the neck.

And let us not speak of Family Guy parodies.
posted by mippy at 9:42 AM on March 30, 2011


If future technology allows for selective erasure of memories, I'd strongly consider paying a few bucks to have my brain wiped clean of Star Wars.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:03 AM on March 30, 2011


I have similar ambitions concerning, um, Monarch of the Glen.
posted by clavdivs at 4:10 PM on March 30, 2011


loquacious writes "Good storytelling isn't about a surprised ending, a punchline or a twist. It's a journey and process. The only way to 'spoil' a really good story is to read/view the entire thing."

I see your point of view but there is no way, for example, Fight Club is the same the first time you watch it vs. the second time. It's a great movie both times but in totally different ways and much of the delight of the first viewing would be removed by watching just a few minutes of the end of the film.

crunchland writes "My wife and I have a Tivo, and we often don't get around to watching stuff the day it tapes it, so we're often in the position of being potentially spoiled on a lot of television shows or sporting events at any given moment."

Metafilter is bad for this for sporting events often posting the results of big events directly to the front page within seconds of the match/game/set becoming final. I really wish we could be a bit more discrete and put the actual result in the more inside.

crunchland writes "I'm older than both of you, and I haven't seen Gone With the Wind, and frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

I got to see a remastering last year in the theatre and it was gorgeous. Not really a great film by modern pacing standards but it was a joy to watch that I would recommend to anyone.
posted by Mitheral at 4:44 PM on March 30, 2011


You mean there are people who haven't seen Star Wars? I thought it was like Brothers in Arms and hardcoded into our cultural DNA.
posted by arcticseal at 3:11 AM on March 31, 2011


You mean the Dire Straits album? Bloody fucking hell.
posted by mippy at 5:04 AM on March 31, 2011


I think "bloody fucking hell" was their collection of B-sides.
posted by arcticseal at 5:51 AM on March 31, 2011


You won't have heard Mark Knopfler's 'Why Aye Man' then.
posted by mippy at 6:13 AM on March 31, 2011


Thanks, I hadn't!
posted by arcticseal at 6:17 AM on March 31, 2011


I have similar ambitions concerning, um, Monarch of the Glen.

Monarch of the Glen helped me get through a long Sunday in the ER when I had nothing to do but watch TV and wait for the doctors. Thank you Tom Baker for distracting me from the OMG needle thing in my hand that I was trying not to look at and freak out about and rip from my skin.
posted by immlass at 7:46 AM on March 31, 2011


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