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Why I am glad to be ignorant — and maybe you should be too.

I am SO close to knowing. After months of avoidance of such tricky topics as THE AVENGERS and PROMETHEUS I am so close to knowing just what the hell THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is all about.

Now, before you think I’ve gone all crazy-like… let me explain. I have been avoiding trailers. Not all of them. Everything that was on before I saw BRAVE was okay to see. I had made some sort of vague decision somewhere after being at BNAT (Butt-Numb-A-Thon) last year in Austin. I think it was because I wanted to see some films without knowing anything about them. Do you know how HARD that is in today’s world? That shite actually takes discipline. Being ignorant of stuff like particle physics is easy. You just don’t pick up a book on the subject. Being ignorant of three of the most anticipated films of the last five (or 30) years is a whole ‘nother animal.

First you’ve got friends. Well, I don’t know about you, but I have ’em. I have regular work-friends and I have (most of whom live in film-mecca Austin) super film-geek friends. These are the people who have already analyzed a film based solely on a 30-second teaser. So when a full 2-minute trailer comes out, and goes wide on the big movie opening that weekend and all over every site like this one — you know you’re going to know all the beats of the damn thing whether you wanted to or not. Then, I have a boyfriend. Part of the reason we’re together probably has something to do with our Aliens love. So to NOT want to get crazy about the Prometheus hype did put a bit of strain on our relationship.

I can attest to this with the ubiquitous-ness of EAT PRAY LOVE two years ago. Do you want to know how I knew all about it? The trailer was all over the frakkin’ television. And then there was the campaign put forth by Sylvester Stallone to get people to go watch THE EXPENDIBLES instead of that since they opened the same weekend. It was great…but all I knew was that I didn’t want to give Julia Roberts any of my money and it should go to Sly; but since that was also the same weekend Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World opened,  I gave Edgar Wright my money.

I had learned on accident that some first world lady had heartbreak and traveled all over the world to eat and get over it and find herself. Have you seen it? Was that a fair assessment? I bet it is. It’s been two years and while I still haven’t seen it, the goddamn trailers have kept at those bits of info rattling around in my brain for TWO STINKIN’ YEARS.

And this is for a movie I have no interest in.

I DO have an interest in The Avengers, Prometheus and certainly the last Nolan-led Batman film. I started bogarting my older brother’s comic books starting at age six. I started on Avengers, Captain America and X-Men. When in the mid-90’s there was talk of an X-Men film, I remember writing in a journal entry about how I wanted Angela Basset to play Storm. She had just done Strange Days, and I wanted her as punk-Storm pretty badly.

I saw ALIEN on VHS when it came out and my brother’s friend brought his VCR over since we didn’t own one yet.My mother put all the cats out of the house, since she’d taken my brother and his friend to see it in the theater, jumped and threw a bucket of popcorn in the air.

ALIENS was my first two-visits-in-24-hours film. I was 16. I literally cannot number how many times I’ve seen these two films.

While mostly a Marvel-kid, I did read some Batman growing up, and I was in high school when The Dark Knight came out, along with Watchmen. Head exploded. My view of the world was changing at that time as well. I remember only a few years before writing to the President asking him to cool it out concerning the cold war because I didn’t want to die. I wanted to grow up. The Dark Knight didn’t make me not want to grow up…it made comics grow up.

Now, I liked the Burton film, but it still felt clowny and too four-color to me. I dislike Jack Nicholson as the Joker. While he was darker than the 1960’s series Joker, I just felt that the script was darker than the delivery and overall intent. Nolan however, eased into the darker aspects only later in his first film. The idea of an entire neighborhood being drugged and being left to die by the police and mayor is horrid and I wish that the Scarecrow would have gotten more screen time because he is a good foil for Batman’s own brand of psychosis. Why so serious, indeed.

The Dark Knight was a breakthrough all across the board. Jim Gordon has corrupt cops in his precinct, but it’s all he has to work with. The criminals are fearless because everyone is bought and paid for. The Joker arrives with a bang and a bus and is a man on a mission. His own mission. His own burn the world, I’ll bring the matches…mission.

Every bit of Heath Ledger’s performance has been scrutinized as you know. But did you know it was modeled on a rather notorious interview with Tom Waits on an Australian talk show from 1979? Watch it here That’s not a spoiler. The film came out four years ago, after all.

However, not wanting to know that “We have a HULK” and that Space Jesus was killed by Humans and this is why ‘they’ want to kill us is my prerogative. I do not want to know what Bane did or didn’t say in the trailer. I want to find out WITH a crowd of sweaty, anxious people just what is in store for Bruce, Alfred and Jim. I wanted to know how Wheedon was going to top his co-writing for Cabin In The Woods. I wanted to see Ridley Scott visit once again the universe that gave us Ash, Jones, and one of the modern cinema heroines in Ripley. I know at least two people who have named their daughters Ripley, after all.

Explaining to people I’ve gone to films with for the last 7 months why I had to get up and leave during the trailers has been tricky. I nearly killed myself walking up the steps in Columbus at the IMAX to see Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol with Spencer and friends while hiding my face from the Batman trailer.  Sometimes I’ve been in a middle-ish seat and cannot just walk out to the lobby for 7-10 minutes. Then I cover my ears, close my eyes and hum NIN’s Down In It to myself. But I’ve felt it’s worth it.

I saw The Avengers at midnight with 350 incredibly excited people who were just as spazzy as me.  I mean, I listened to QUEEN’S One Vision really loudly in the car on the way there and was pumped for something that had only been in my head for decades. Seeing Hulk tossing around Loki like he’s beating a rug and laughing so hard I miss his “Puny god…” line as he walked away was totally worth it. But I caught it when I saw it again about 15 hours later.

I saw Prometheus with some friends (and my BF) at midnight also. They are in a band who had a layover in town and though they had a 3 AM bus-call to go to Bonnaroo to play at noon that day they were up for going to see this film at midnight. Seeing it with James and Noelle without any of us knowing what was in store was fabulous.

I will go see Nolan’s last Batman film. But I like the idea of not knowing what is ahead. I am already avoiding everything about DJANGO UNCHAINED that’s coming out now.

I think I am going to make it a habit.

~H. Blain lives in Atlanta, and if you want to watch movies with her, be prepared for some humming.


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