This thing that happened to me, this inconsiderate and asinine thing, happened a month ago. I haven’t written about it because I didn’t want to risk spoiling any of you. So, here we are, a month later. Gravity had a huge opening weekend and, presumably, a good number of you managed to go see it. But if you didn’t. If you haven’t seen one of the most talked about, anticipated and highly regarded films of the year? Well get the fuck out of here. We’re about to talk “spoilers” and the last thing I want to do while complaining about being spoiled is inadvertently spoil something for you. So go. Leave. Don’t let the pod bay doors hit you on the way out.
Are they gone? Good. Okay, so Bret Easton Ellis is a controversial and intermittently successful/respected author best-known for writing “Less Than Zero” and “American Psycho.” I’ve enjoyed following him on Twitter because of his occasional feuds with repulsive entertainment writer Nikke Finke and his truly bizarre fascination with “50 Shades Of Grey.” But a month ago, on September 5th to be precise, that shitbeard tweeted out the following:
GRAVITY: completely interminable and lacking in suspense because it's so seriously miscast. Do you REALLY think Sandra Bullock is gonna die?— Bret Easton Ellis (@BretEastonEllis) September 6, 2013
Oh brother, fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck you. I immediately unfollowed Ellis and, I know, I know, I’m sure he’s crying into his vault of doubloons about it. Now let’s all be clear and have some perspective: getting spoiled for a movie is not the worst thing that could happen to you. Not by a long shot. It’s not even the worst thing that could happen on that mixed bag of wit and idiocracy,Twitter. So when I say this was done “to me” I don’t want to sound too much like a victim. But we can all admit that this was a dick move. One month before the movie hits wide release? Dick move.
But is it even a spoiler? I mean, this isn’t the ending of The Sixth Sense or the plot of the Breaking Bad finale. Oh it is friend. It’s a major spoiler. And while Gravity wasn’t ruined for me, my viewing experience was absolutely damaged. Here are two reasons why. 1) Cuarón, as a writer and director, has shown he’s not afraid of killing his leads. [SPOILERS FOR CHILDREN OF MEN]. He popped off Julianne Moore in the first third of Children Of Men when she was billed as the co-star and Clive Owen’s fate at the end of that film is ambiguous at best. Cuarón is completely capable of telling a darker tale that ended in death and defeat. [END SPOILER] 2) The whole movie is structured and shot from the perspective of Dr. Ryan Stone. We are with her. At certain points we see what she’s seeing. Her struggle for life and her endeavor to muster the will to live? THAT IS THE ENTIRE FUCKING POINT OF THE MOVIE.
So yes, I saw and enjoyed Gravity on opening night. I admired the performances. I marveled at the technical proficiencies. I drowned in the visuals. I was anxious when the camera sent us, the viewer, careening into objects. But I was not once worried about Sandy. She makes it. Bret Easton Ellis said so. A few months ago, our very own Steven Lloyd Wilson made the bold assertion that spoilers don’t even matter:
“Spoilers? You can only be spoiled if you allow surprises, the cheapest and lowliest of plot devices to dominate all other parts of your enjoyment of a story.”
With all due respect, Steven. Blow. A lot of “spoilers” don’t matter. But some do and, without exception, being spoiled means you lose something from your experience. And there are plenty of assholes who have the privilege of seeing movies and TV shows early and need to have a care with what they say. They really do. Twitter is constantly flooded with smug “I’ve already seen it” messages from critics and while most keep it vague, some don’t keep it vague enough. And some are just dicks.
So rather than end this post on a bitter, “woe is me” note, I’ll choose instead to admire someone for doing it right.
Mysteries of #Gravity: Why Bullock's hair, in otherwise convincing zero-G scenes, did not float freely on her head.— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) October 6, 2013
Neil deGrasse Tyson, you are a gentleman and a scholar. Your adorably indignant tweets about the dubious physics of Gravity sustain me. Thank you for doing it with class and style and, above all else, for keeping it spoiler-free. You can see more of Tyson’s tweets here and, in the meantime, I’ll be crying into this bottle of vodka I just found under my seat.