I'm going to spoil at least four movies in this post. So if you don't want to read about crucial plot points of these movies, do not read further.
What movies am I going to spoil and why?
"No Country For Old Men," "Fantastic Four," "Constantine" and "Erin Brockovich." (And "Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry." But nobody cares if I spoil that 1974 movie.) (Oh, and I spoil a second-season episode of "Lost.") All these have something in common.
Okay, really, you should stop reading now if you don't want to be spoiled.
We saw "No Country For Old Men" last night.
(Nitpick on a good movie: The movie never quite gets around to saying its title out loud -- but it says everything but. "Yeah, it's a tough place. But for people of a certain age, it's even tougher." Like that. If you're not going to say the title, don't paraphrase it. Just a suggestion.)
There's a plot point that seems to pop up unexpectedly (that's a big part of its popularity) and it's been in a number of recent movies.
In a scene very near the end . . .
I'm not kidding, this is a total spoiler.
STOP READING IF YOU WANT TO REMAIN UNSPOILED.
Okay. In a scene near the very end of "No Country," the character, "Sugar" has fulfilled all his promises and he's driving away. The camera lingers on an approaching stoplight. It's green. Sugar looks in the rear view mirror at some possibly-threatening kids riding bikes. Is he going to have to kill those kids? He drives through the intersection and -- wham -- his car is hit by another car running the red light! Surprise! And when I see this I think, I have seen this before. Maybe too many times.
Didn't see 'em coming car accidents as plot points occur in "Erin Brockovich," "Constantine," "Fantastic Four," and way back to "Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry," (Larry says, "There ain't nothing stopping us now!" and -- wham -- they drive right into the side of a train.)
In "No Country" and "Erin Brockovich" the crashes are between cars. In "Constantine" and "Fantastic Four" the crashes are car-human. Semi-human anyway.
Reminds me of an article in the 1970s National Lampoon magazine on writing a twist ending (though in fairness, only "Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry" used it as the final scene). The article said the perfect twist ending is: "Suddenly, the main character is run over by a bus!"
(In the TV show, "Lost," a character is actually run over by a bus!)
What I really wanted to write about is, movies get spoiled for me when I read even spoiler free reviews. Reviewers want to tell me about the movie and not ruin it, but they've already seen it and can't help telling me -- in code -- major spoilers.
For example, in reviews of "No Country," Josh Brolin's character, Llewellen, is described as "ill-fated" and "not as smart as he thinks he is." The character played by Woody Harrelson is described as "cocky" and "over-confident." Even though the reviewers didn't spell it out, it's clear to me that Llewellen and Harrelson will not survive until the credit roll.
It bugs me to know I'm being spoiled, but if I read reviews I will be spoiled. There's really no way around it. I remember I used to try to see movies before reading any reviews, but it's really hard. And, I realise, I like to know what's going to happen before it happens. So I kinda want to be spoiled too.
Oh, hey -- here comes my bus. I gotta get going.