The Urban Dictionary defines NERD RAGE as a term used to describe extreme anger, offence, indignation, and other similar emotions by a nerd, geek or similar which can be triggered upon seeing a favorite film/show/comic book/etc degraded or insulted in some way.
You ever see some comic book geek or movie nerd, be it IRL or on-line, get all worked up and raging against the machine because they ran across some kernel of information that ruined the ending to something they have yet to see or do or read? Yeah, me too. I always laugh. I have a right.
Come back with me if you will to that glorious time those of my generation like to call ‘The 80’s.’ It was a magical time filled with hair metal, ‘shot in front of a live studio audience’ TV comedies, and sartorial excellence. If you need a reference point, find some hipster douche bag on Sixth Street. That’s what we looked like and we listened to what’s on their iPhone. But we were cooler because we weren’t doing it ironically.
Anyway, we end our trip back through that wonderful decade and land in late May of 1983. I was about to graduate 6th Grade. Elementary school was about to be over and 3 months later I would be in Junior High hell.
It was a Thursday, I believe. The classroom was filling with the usual suspects that fateful morning. But one young man was in a frothy state of excitement. Jason Garcia, my oldest friend since 2nd Grade, is a friend to this very day as we have, lo these many years hence, both landed in the same town working for the same state agency. He was full to bursting with information and he was about to unleash it on a group of unsuspecting young men and change their lives forever. For you see, The Return of the Jedi was 2 weeks from coming out and he knew what happened.
He proceeded to tell us that Leia was Luke’s sister and was the ‘other’ Jedi referred to by Yoda and Ghost Ben in Empire. He told us Boba Fett and Jabba the Hut died and that Vader sacrificed himself saving Luke. He told us everything. When asked how he came to be in possession of such precious information, he gleefully told us that on the previous evening he was rifling through the Maverick Market magazine section and had come across a Marvel Comic’s graphic novel adaptation of the film. He read through the book immediately upon returning home and just had to share it with his schoolyard chums.
State’s Exhibit A
A few weeks later I saw the film with my father. I had to pretend to be surprised at everything. It would be the last movie I ever saw with him. Two weeks later, he died unexpectedly while I was on vacation with my grandparents.
I’m kidding. I wasn’t mad. Never was. You see, I didn’t really care. Nothing about knowing what happened changed my excitement about actually seeing it happen. I still loved that movie. Always will. Hell, it was the last flick I saw with my dad. How could I not?
I truly doubt that the concept of spoilers is anything new. It’s just been given a name and allowed to assume a form. Everyone knows what you mean when you interrupt a conversation they are having with someone about some piece of pop culture you have yet to consume. You mutter excitedly ‘Spoilers!’ and they have to stop talking about Harry Potter cause you haven’t gotten around to reading Half-Blood Prince and you don’t know Dumbledore dies. Yes, Dumbledore dies. Snape kills him because of some blood oath and because Dumbledore was dying anyway and in the end it turns out Snape’s a good guy who was very loyal to Dumbledore and Harry admires him so much he names his kid after him.
See what I did there? Spoiled the end of The Deathly Hollows.
I wonder what the first spoiler was.
I imagine some smelly dude sitting in a pub in 1850’s Boston awkwardly reading a copy of Melville’s Moby Dick. Some ginger immigrant comes stumbling in and notices his new American friend reading the ill-received tome that he had read while he was over the pond. He grabs his pint and uninvited falls into a chair at the American’s table.
“Hey matey,’ he says. “Don’t waste your time. That book is shite. I can’t believe they kill Ahab at the end. Crikey. Faith and begorra,” and other such Irish nonsense. Now if you were heavily invested in the Ahab character, you might want to give the other 3000 pages a pass. Just saying.
Gregory Peck was a bitchin’ Ahab
Citizen Kane is widely regarded by many critics who wish to seem intelligent as THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER MADE. It’s a fine film, beautifully shot, by a great director at the height of his genius. I say it’s lofty perch atop many best ever lists is open to debate but ain’t that always the way. The film center’s on Charles Foster Kane’s dying words of ‘Rosebud’ and one reporter’s quest to discover the meaning behind them. Sixteen hours later, with the last frame of the movie, you find out Rosebud was his childhood sled. A cat I could understand. Hell, any pet. Perhaps, a plush doll of a cat or a pet. Some young girl he knew as a child who was the only one who ever truly loved him and understood him. A sled? Seriously? Not so much. A spoiler such as this could save some people valuable time.
Yup. It’s a sled.
Upon the release of his film Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock required theater owners to not allow late admission. This wasn’t some fresh ‘Alamo Drafthouse-type’ idea to enhance the motion picture experience for the audience. He was simply concerned that people, who arrived late, would be confused because they would not see the film’s ostensible star, Janet Leigh. Why, you may ask? Cause she get’s knifed to death in the first reel in the most notorious shower scene in movie history (the only close competition is Kevin Bacon’s in Wild Things.) Shocking? Yes. Spoilerfic? Definitely.
Camera…down…just a…little? Please?!?
The modern master, and I do use the word loosely, of the twisty spoiler-ready ending is M. Night Shyamalan. He hit gold with Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense as a counselor whose patient is a kid who claims to see dead people. Over the course of the film we discover that the little moppet does indeed talk to the dead. And we watch with shock as Willis’ character suddenly realizes that he is in fact…in a shitty movie! Actually, he realizes he’s dead. Upon a second viewing, we realize that none of the other characters in the film have interacted with him. He’s a ghost. I have to admit I didn’t see this coming. I saw it opening weekend and word of mouth rapidly spread of the surprise ending.
Shamalamadingdong tried to bottle what he got with The Sixth Sense and apply it to his other films with varying degrees of success. The problem was that everyone expected a twist ending and was so busy looking for clues that they didn’t really pay attention to the story. It didn’t help that with the exception of Unbreakable, his other movies sucked. That’s not a spoiler. It’s a public service announcement.
Willis does his best dead Karnak. Good job, Bruce.
The most recent example of a film that was heavily spoiled for and by my group of friends was Duncan Jones’ Moon. In the movie, Sam Rockwell plays the lone employee of a mining company’s lunar outpost. On a routine mission on the surface of the dead rock, he crashes his rover after seeing what he thinks is an unprotected man on the horizon. He regains consciousness back at the mining facility, unsure of how he got back but assured of his health by the robotic intelligence (voiced by Kevin Spacey) that handles the life-support and critical station operations. I won’t say too much but I will say I was quite shocked when Rockwell later finds the crashed rover and discovers himself inside. Turns out he’s a clone. Or maybe the other Rockwell is a clone. Hint: They’re both clones.
What? You didn’t know that? C’mon, the movie came out like three years ago. If you’d wanted to see it by now, you would have.
Seriously though the fact that one or the other or both is a clone is irrelevant. The clone revelation takes place in the first 30 minutes. The movie is more of a study on what makes a person a person. It’s really great and you should totally see it.
So what is the statute of limitations on spoilers, anyway? How long does something have to be out before you can openly discuss it without fear of ruffling feathers? When I worked at the funny book store, we would often try to discuss the latest episodes of Lost. One of my co-workers would shush us because he wasn’t caught up. When we asked him where he was, he said, ‘Well, there was this plane crash…” This was like during season 4. I asked him nicely to go away. There was Lost to discuss.
In this wondermous age of the interwebs, one should expect stuff to get spoiled. If you don’t want to know about the latest episode of The Walking Dead don’t go to Twitter on Sunday night. Avoid the Facebooks until you’ve had a chance to see it. If you click on articles on Ain’t It Cool News that profess to discuss things you don’t want spoiled, don’t be surprised if things get spoiled.
There’s a film I’m really looking forward to. Cabin in the Woods. It played this last week at the SXSW Film Festival to great acclaim. It’s said to turn the horror genre on its ear. And there’s a twist. I want to see it yesterday but until I actually do get to see it I’m avoiding all reviews, all articles, anything having to do with the movie. I want to go in fresh. But if something goes all katawampus and shit gets ruined, I’ll still go. Try and stop me.
Well…that’s that. But I can’t help but think I’m forgetting something.
*** SPOILER WARNING ***
If something got spoiled for you in this article, what did you expect? I mean seriously it’s called SPOILERS!