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Spoiling for a Fight: Thoughts on Contemporary Spoiler Culture…

It’s happening again.

Last year, to mark the release of Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos demanded your silence. This year, to mark the release of Avengers: Endgame, audiences are being told not to spoil the endgame. These campaigns are indicative of how a lot of modern pop cultural discourse works; for example, discussions around Game of Thrones or Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker. There’s a strong push in modern pop culture towards the concealing plot details from these big monumental works, these pop cultural events. There is a strong push to preserve surprise and to avoid direct discussion of the material in any real detail, for fear that such discussions might possibly reach the eyes of somebody who would rather remain uninformed of any details about these phenomena.

To be fair, it is possible to sympathise with such a position. People want to enjoy media on their own terms. People do not want to have their responses to media shaped by outside factors like the opinions of others or the details of the plot. While one can readily cite studies suggesting that spoilers can actively improve enjoyment of a film, it is also entirely possible to find studies that argue the exact opposite. More than that, it is increasingly difficult for a person to avoid coming into contact with media talking about these pop cultural phenomenon; social media is built on the concept of immediacy and relevance, and so anybody connected in anyway to the internet is bound to have some contact with Star Wars, Game of Thrones or Endgame.

At the same time, there is something slightly suffocating in all of this. There has always been mass culture. There have always been people writing about mass culture. There has always been media that could be spoiled. There have always been press screenings. There was a seven month gap between the premiere of The Usual Suspects at Sundance and its release to the American public, and its twist remained a surprise to the general public. Generally speaking “just use your common sense” has always been good advice when talking about a particular film or television show. As such, the modern panic over “spoilers” seems unnecessary and counterproductive.

Note: This article contains a variety of spoilers, most heavily for Avengers: Infinity War and Captain Marvel. Put proceed at your peril.

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New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2019) #10!

It’s time for the Scannain podcast!

This week, I join Ronan Doyle and Jay Coyle to discuss the week in film. Because Varda season never ends, both Ronan and Jay have a new film to discuss from the legendary French director. Meanwhile, in film news, we mark the passing of veteran Irish character actor Pat Laffan, study the recent funding decisions of the Broadcast Authority of Ireland, discuss the opening of applications to the WRAP fund, navigate the line-up of the Belfast Film Festival, and discuss the availability of Ross Whitaker’s Katie on Netflix.

The top ten:

  1. Cold Pursuit
  2. A Dog’s Way Home
  3. The Hole in the Ground
  4. The Aftermath
  5. Fighting With My Family
  6. How to Train Your Dragon III: The Hidden World
  7. Green Book
  8. Instant Family
  9. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
  10. Captain Marvel

New releases:

New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2019) #4!

It’s time for the latest Scannain podcast!

This week, I join Jay Coyle and Graham Day from Speakin’ Geek to discuss the week in film news. It’s a fun and wide-ranging discussion, covering everything from the growth of Dreamworks as an animation studio to the extended cut of Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life. There’s also discussion of Dragonball Z and Destroyer. In film news, we mark the passing of Dick Miller, the coverage of Sundance, February at the Irish Film Institute and the thirtieth anniversary of the Cork French Film Festival.

The top ten:

  1. The Favourite
  2. Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet
  3. Stan and Ollie
  4. Second Act
  5. Mary Poppins Returns
  6. The Mule
  7. Vice
  8. Mary Queen of Scots
  9. Glass
  10. A Dog’s Way Home

New releases:

You can download the episode here, or listen to it below.

113. Once Upon a Time In America (#70)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, The 250 is a fortnightly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America.

Drawn back to New York City from a decades-long exile, retired gangster David “Noodles” Aaronson discovers that the past is not buried nearly as well as he might like. Navigating a complex web of secrets and betrayals, “Noodles” is forced to confront sins past; both his own and those dearest to him.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 70th best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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Online Film Critics’ Society Awards, 2018

Christmas is over, but awards season keep right on truckin’.

I’m a member of a couple of critics’ organisations, so we’ve been releasing a couple of these lists upon which I voted. I’ve also released my own top ten as part of a Scannain end-of-year podcast.

In the meantime, the Online Film Critics’ Society have released their end of year awards. Thrilled to be a part of the group, who are voting on films released internationally during the calendar year of 2018. As such, it will be a different pool of films than the Dublin Film Critics Circle awards.

Anyway, without further ado…

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Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards, 2018

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Snow! Christmas! Terrible but enjoyable (and apparently, this year, controversial!) music! End of year “best of” lists!

I’m a member of a couple of critics’ organisations, so we’ll be releasing a couple of these lists upon which I voted. I’ll also hopefully be releasing my own top ten as part of a Scannain end-of-year podcast some time this week.

In the meantime, the Dublin Film Critics Circle have released their end of year awards. Thrilled to be a part of the group, who are voting on films released in Ireland during the calendar year of 2018. As such, it will be a different pool of films than the Online Film Critics Society awards.

A massive thanks to the wonderful Tara Brady for organising the awards this year, balloting members and collating results.

Anyway, without further ado…

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108. Slender Man – This Just In (-#57)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, This Just In is a subset of the fortnightly The 250 podcast, looking at notable new arrivals on the list of the 250 best(and the 100 worst) movies of all-time, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Sylvain White’s Slender Man.

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