Growing up, I went to a lot of midnight movie premieres.
Dressing up in costumes and spending several hours enthusing over the latest Harry Potter movie with people just as passionate about it as I was are all treasured memories.
Specifically, watching the sixth Harry Potter movie in a theater of probably 500 people and having the entire theater go silent in a shared emotional moment during the scene where Dumbledore falls to his death still resonates with me.
Most people knew he was going to die, but at the midnight showing, we were the first people to see it on screen.
Nobody had read endless reviews debating the artistic merits of the silent wand scene or how realistic the physics of the fall were — both of which you can find lengthy discussions about — because seeing the midnight showing was insulation against having a movie spoiled.
However, it’s my belief that moments like that are no longer possible on a wide scale. Before it was even midnight on Thursday, the plot of Jurassic World was on my Facebook Newsfeed, along with reaction articles with date stamps of the week leading up to the premiere.
Many of those posts came from news sources like Variety, Entertainment Weekly, and The New York Times.
Even before that, there was a Twitter war about the sexist stereotypes portrayed in the movie; and months before, there were leaked clips and lengthy discussions of what sections were being produced by the new director and how much influence Steven Spielberg was actually having over the post-production editing process.
These days, you can spoil a movie for yourself before it even comes out.
When the latest Pixar movie, Inside Out, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, I made the mistake of reading a news post about it. Major plot points in the movie were ruined for me months before I had the chance to see it.
The Dark Knight was spoiled for me when Aaron Ekhart, the actor who plays Harvey Dent, gave an interview on The Today Show to promote the movie and talked about his characters’s downward path. Again, I had been consciously avoiding having a movie ruined for me, only to know going into things how the ending was going to turn out.
Part of why I love movies so much is not knowing what happens in the end.
There is no emotional tension when you already know what happens.
Jaws was terrifying to me growing up, in part, because when you live in Florida, shark movies are the worst thing to watch, but I can watch it now and laugh at all the points where you can see the wires or the lame special effects because I know how it ends.
I saw Inside Out at the earliest possible showing on Thursday night. There were still spoilers on my Facebook beforehand, which frustrates me to no end.
I don’t want to put myself in perpetual hermitage simply to be able to enjoy an unspoiled movie. Please, stop posting on social media the second a movie comes out with details about the plot!
Let your friends actually see the movie before expecting them to engage you on Facebook. Just because you’re the first to see something doesn’t mean you need to ruin it for everybody else who comes after.