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Story Talk or: How to Stop Crying and Appreciate the Spoilers
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I’ve never cared for spoilers due to the simple mindset that a good story always holds up despite the element of surprise being stripped away. When I tell people this, I get one of two responses: (A) my opinion is received relatively well in a genuine manner and I witness some innocent fire within their eyes extinguish as a result of me speaking, or (B) the person in front of me emits their best statement of false agreeance and I am vindicated in my regular assumption of believing that I am simply boring for my own good
(that is to say that I regularly have no bitches). However, despite the social coinflip, I am firm in this assumption and regularly proven right whenever I go out to see a movie—I’m certain that I’m coloring myself as that guy right now but bear with me here—or read a comic. With all that said, I’m here to make a brief case in that people should not only not care for spoilers when talking about stories but that we should be encouraging people to regularly talk about stories, spoilers and all, so that we can better help prospective audiences determine which stories are worth their time and money as well as attempt to make some sense with the ongoing matter of determining what is “good” at an artistic level and “entertaining” at a commercial level.
Christ, that was a mouthful. Allow me to transition into something more interesting while making my case here. Oh, and just so I’m clear, don’t be a dick and recklessly spoil things just to ruin other people’s day. I mean this to be within the context of civil discussion of the internet (that might as well be theoretical but I’m trying here anyways).
There is value in spoiling a story, both literally and figuratively. The best personal example I have of this comes from a few days ago when a couple of friends of mine came across a rather high-profile leak of the screenplay for the last (for now) Star Wars film—and it was bad. Quite plainly, it was a textbook example of what not to do from a creative standpoint: writing without direction, writing to respond to criticism, writing to appease critics, etc. Everyone within my close circle of homies knew that this thing was an absolute disaster and that was before I realized that a crucial story detail to The Rise of Skywalker was exclusive to some in-game event in Fortnite.
I will reiterate: the ominous and completely bullshit message from beyond the grave that J.J. Abrams and the dude who wrote Zack Snyder’s DC films which serves as the catalyst for the events of the final Star Wars film was shown exclusively in Fortnite
( “We got a number one victory royale / Yeah, Fortnite, we ‘bout to get down).
We studied that damned script and realized that it was special in its own way, kind of like a suspiciously human turd steaming under seedy streetlights at 3 AM. And so, instead of leaving things as is after ridiculing the script, we made a better decision and chose to get drunk and watch that thing in theaters. To the surprise of nobody in our group, not only was the movie bad but it was exactly as bad as that leaked script showed it to be (it managed to sober up the gentleman sitting next to me who reeked of cheap weed and mid-grade gas when Rey decided to heal a space worm out of nowhere). Needless to say, it was a great time for the reasons that the filmmakers probably weren’t expecting.
My point here is to go sifting through the sand in the expanding desert of media, go and enjoy the good and bad, ponder on both, and then go ahead and talk about it freely—just don’t come crying about the story being “ruined” just because you know more about it. Instead, invest those tears in the realization that the story might not have been as great as you expected it to be in the first place.
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