There’s a new movie coming out and I’m ridiculously excited. I’ve marathoned every other part of the franchise, including that dodgy holiday special that only diehard fans know about and never, ever speak about. I could even narrate you the whole cast list from memory, complete with a short biography of every single member, right down to the extra sitting at Table Three in the café scene. The thing is, I had other commitments on opening night, so I’ve not seen the film yet. But you! You have haven’t you? And you just couldn’t resist the temptation to prove just how well you engaged with it by describing it to me in miniscule detail. You just had to waddle up to me, your fingers still sticky with cinema popcorn, wide-eyed, to tell me everything, even down to the number of sips the extra drinking the can of Coke took on Table Three in the café scene.
Partly what stings is the way you broached the subject. Full of an excitement that in any other situation would be endearing, you ask “Have you seen it yet?” Before I can answer you’re off on a tirade: “Oh my god! Isn’t it amazing? I loved the bit when…” This would be okay if you didn’t love every last moment of the movie! You did not leave a narrative stone unturned, you just throw it all out there, don’t you?
Why? What possible pleasure could you have derived from that? You enjoyed the film and I’m glad about that, I just wish you’d let me enjoy it too! Or at least, let me enjoy it the way it was intended to be enjoyed! When I watch a film I want to feel things, discover new places and tap into unfamiliar emotions. If I like a character, I want to follow them on their journey, not sit there, stony-faced and stoic, as I await the inevitable demise you clumsily explained to me. Now I’m just waiting for something to happen, dully moving through a tick-list of events, too familiar to be shocking but too unfamiliar to be nostalgic and it’s all because you “loved that bit when…”
You ruined a perfectly good experience for me, but it’s not even that, it’s the way you didn’t think about anyone but yourself. You’ve seen it, you know the facts, the twists, the turns, so why do you care? Well, know this. Someday soon I’m going to find a film, or a TV show. It’s going to be amazing. I will binge watch that show in a 3am fugue-state of Netflix, coffee and jam-and-cream biscuits. Then I’ll show it to you, and I’ll watch patiently as you get hooked, as you get as invested as I did. Then, just as you’re really getting into it, just as it’s getting good, I’ll lean back in my chair, take a sip from my coffee and casually tell you the ending. I won’t even blink. You have been warned.