Movies You Ought Not Spoil
I think that title is self-explanatory, don’t you? Let’s start with the “asshole” list. If you spoil these for someone who has not yet seen them, you’re an asshole. A complete asshole. Doesn’t matter if the other guy says “it’s okay, it sounds stupid and I don’t think I wanna see it”…that changes nothing. You spoil these, something terrible should happen to you.
1. The Usual Suspects. It has the best don’t-spoil-it ending of them all. Ever.
2. Primal Fear. Close second. The very first comeback vehicle for Mister Gerbil since all that ugly felching gossip came down. One single, beautiful line — five words long — changes everything. What a work of art.
3. The Skeleton Key. Underrated gem, and if someone says they saw this coming, I say they’re lying.
4. The Sixth Sense. I’m sure a lot of people are wondering about it, since a lot of people were talking about it and here it is, eight years later. The anwer is yes. You spoil this, you’re an asshole.
5. The Others. It tried to be The Sixth Sense. I think it succeeded. I saw both of these coming, but only by about a minute or two.
6. Fallen. Was there ever more of a a keystone ending than this, something that, once spoiled, causes everything else to tumble down? I think not. Just keep your mouth shut.
7. Identity. This has been widely criticized as “cheating”; you’ll understand why after you watch it. I think the criticism is somewhat legitimate. How could I not? But hey, a great ending is a great ending; it’s fooled a lot of people, who were bound and determined not to be blindsided. It deserves credit for that.
8. Unbreakable. Yes, it’s just another movie from M. Night, and it’s kind of a “Gotta Make A Boat Payment” movie. But I have to include it here because it really is hard to see coming, and yet after you watch it you’ll be kicking yourself for not catching on sooner. All the clues were there.
9. “Quitters, Inc.” segment from Cat’s Eye. So stupid. So silly. So wonderfully creepy. Shut your mouth.
Next up is the “inconsiderate” list. You’re not necessarily an asshole if you spill these, and the jury’s out even on whether or not you’re inconsiderate. These are somewhat predictable, and if the uneducated party has signaled disinterest then it’s probably okay.
1. The World Is Not Enough. It’s hardly an original spoiler by any means. But a true James Bond fan would probably mind, quite a lot.
2. Signs. I never got the impression the spoiler was the point of the movie. But I would have to say, if I was looking forward to it I’d be a little pissed if someone spoiled it.
3. Die Another Day. Again, how much can you spoil a James Bond movie? It’s pretty much the same story over and over again. But on the other hand, all Bond movies don’t necessarily have a spoiler. I mean, once you accept that “it turns out the bad guy has a secret weapon that will destroy the world” doesn’t count. So when a Bond movie has another spoiler that’s a bit more clever — and this one does — that would kind of ruin it. And for the uninitiated, yeah, this installment does have a spoiler that’s kind of hard to see coming. Well, a little. Sort of.
4. Mission: Impossible I. Okay, this one is actually pretty cool, I thought. It almost belongs on the “asshole” list. Just keep it to yourself if you’re in doubt, okay? But I do think everyone who was ever interested in seeing it has seen it by now, just about.
5. Terminator III: Rise of the Machines. This might be placed on the “asshole” list too, except the ending only really matters to died-in-the-wool nerds, and if they’re Terminator nerds they are bound to have seen this by now. But, it is a pretty clever twist on how Skynet came to be, and how it ties in to technology that we didn’t even have in 1984 when the first movie came out. Oops, maybe I’ve said too much already.
You should really quit whining if someone spoils these for you…
1. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. When the movie came out, it was a huge spoiler. But come on, it’s been sixteen years.
2. War of the Worlds. Get a grip. They didn’t even change it from the original story. It was kind of a “Boat Payment” movie, anyway. You’re just bitching.
3. The Empire Strikes Back. You really don’t know what happened to Luke’s father? And yet, I know there are some people, somewhere, complaining.
4. Soylent Green. Maybe if you were born after the movie came out, you don’t know what it is.
5. Terminator II: Judgment Day. Was this so hard? You change something, you open a different timeline. Half of all time-travel stories work this way, you really should’ve seen it coming.
I’m sure I forgot something. Too bad nobody reads this blog, so no one’s going to send in any suggestions. Cryin’ shame.
Update 7-17-07: Someone did suggest something. I can’t remember who it was, and I can’t remember where they did it, but I’ve been trying for a couple months to remember to update the list. You can’t enter comments on a “page,” you see, and that’s what this is. So you have to e-mail me…probably should have mentioned that.
The movie is Presumed Innocent, starring Harrison Ford, Brian Dennehy and Bonnie Bedelia. It goes on the Asshole List, definitely. You’re an asshole if you spoil this movie.
My diminishing memory further disappoints me on the question of whether I saw this coming or not. I think I did, but only a minute or two beforehand. I don’t think the pacing is that good…it gets a little droopy and tedious, so I wouldn’t recommend it for a Friday night. But you should consider it for weekend viewing, definitely, if you’re looking for a good mystery and you’re running into that “I think I’ve seen everything” problem with your Netflix queue.