“I don’t want to spoil it for you,” someone told me, regarding the movie Alien. This happens often to me, where someone will mention a classic film, then withhold the major plot points from me in order to preserve the magic of consuming the story for the first time. I’ve stopped caring about spoilers for most things, especially if they are older than three months.
I know how Breaking Bad ends, even though I have never seen it. I haven’t watched Westworld, and honestly I probably won’t because the window of relevance is closed. If I want to see something and be legitimately un-spoiled, I will usually see the movie/show within the first month is comes out.
At the rate that new movies and TV shows come out (and considering the volume of how much media exists), I struggle to care that The Wire is reportedly the best show ever to air on television, especially when there are so many other new shows to watch. I am not going to put myself through a TV show or movie that I reportedly should watch just because it’s great, instead of having a personal interest in seeing the film.
Blade Runner 2049 is coming out this year, and so my friends urge me to watch the original Blade Runner. I’ll probably do it just to pacify them, but before my friends started hounding on me to watch the original Blade Runner, I had no reason to see it at all. I pick the shows and movies I want to see based on trivial whims and feelings. I am not going to be more likely to see a film if you tell me that I have to watch it. Since Everyone at one point or another is telling me that I have to watch something, the recommendation loses its weight. I don’t have to watch anything.
In his new book, Chuck Klosterman X, Chuck shares that he has never read the Harry Potter books, nor has he seen the films. He realizes that there will be a huge part of popular culture that he will be ostracized from because of this, but he finds this to be acceptable. It’s not a strong enough reason for him to read the books, which would feel more like a cultural homework assignment than a legitimate entertaining experience.
If you recommend a book, a movie, or a TV show that has existed for more than three months, I will ask you to just tell me how it ends, because this saves me a lot of time. Sometimes, oddly enough, hearing how the film ends is enough to compel me to watch something. My girlfriend had no interest in seeing Ex Machina until she heard that the male protagonists get murdered at the end. (Is this actually how it ends? I’m too lazy to check). My point is that there are some films, regardless of their cultural impact, that I will miss, and you are actually doing me more of a favor than a disservice by telling me how it ends.