Does knowing what happens at the end of a film before you watch it make you more able to take in the smaller details?
I just can't help it. No matter how much I'm looking forward to a movie - especially one with a big twist - I almost always have to find out the plot ending before having had a chance to watch it on the big screen. Sure, there have been some exceptions over the years - The Sixth Sense for one - but on the whole, I find it an altogether more relaxing experience knowing what's coming ahead.
Most movie buffs may recoil in disgust, but I have my reasons. Remember that one movie you went to see, and the minor character you fell in love with almost instantaneously? Remember being on edge for the rest of the film, so concerned were you for his safety, before letting out a sigh of relief near the end, then cursing everyone from the director to the projectionist when said character was killed off for no reason at all? And yes, I'm talking about Air Force One, and no, I will never forgive Wolfgang Petersen. Never.
Had I known, from that early age, that having all the information to hand before sitting down to watch a film would have been to my benefit, I would have saved myself from the traumatic experience that followed, wiping out those last 13 and a bit years of bitterness.
Imagine how different a trip to the cinema would have been if, instead of wringing your hands with worry at the fate of Russell Crowe's gladiator (from the 2000 Oscar-winning film of the same name), you'd have been able to focus your thoughts on the impressive battle scenes as well as marvelling at the villany of Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix). Not only would you have appreciated the film all the more, but your friends would never have had the chance to laugh loudly at you, sobbing like a baby, as the credits rolled by. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
Saving Private Ryan, instead of sending me into a mild depression for several hours, could have given me an opportunity to learn about the Second World War; West Side Story, instead of making me cry so much that I looked like a panda having a really bad day, could have been a brilliant sing-a-long, the tragic love story coming second to the unforgettable soundtrack.
All of which makes me feel less guilty about my relationship with movies and raises the following question - does anyone fancy going to see the new Clint Eastwood thriller Hereafter with me? I hear it's a corker.