I am now setting the official policy on spoilers for this journal. If you dislike them, feel free to unfriend me with no harm done on anyone's part.
Giving information that can be seen in either the trailer or a one-paragraph summary of the movie as seen in TV Guide is not a spoiler. Informing you that Shrek 2 is about Fiona and Shrek's relationship is widely-known information that is freely given.
I realize that some of you wish to go into every movie with a clean slate. I respect this. But I cannot be a party to the Cloak of Secrecy you wish draped over every media source.
These are twists or surprises that change the nature of an entire movie. Examples of the plot-busting spoiler in a current movie are Fight Club, The Sixth Sense, The Usual Suspects, The Crying Game, and Memento.
You have fifteen years to get with the program. I feel this is more than generous; after all, if you've had a decade and a half in this lifetime to see The Empire Strikes Back and have yet to find out that Darth Vader is Luke's father, well, I can't coddle you forever. Likewise, the fact that Rosebud is a sled has been public knowledge for over fifty years, and is part of a classic film - if you don't know yet, I'm sorry, but we can't shield you from pop culture reference forever. And yes, Virginia, Soylent Green is made of people.
Plot-Busting Spoilers only apply to reasonably popular media. If there's some obscure film that has a weirdo twist, I'll never mention it. You have to have had a good chance to see it before I'll break it.
These are the plot developments that are part and parcel of every movie; who lives, who dies, what drives the plot. In general, since these are less memorable, I will usually not ever refer to these. They're simply not remarkable enough to riff on for mass amusement, so why bother?
(Exceptions may be made for reasonably-dramatic death scenes - I retain the right to make poppy comparisons to famous blazes of glory in my writing. The same for ludicrously bad endings like Van Helsing.)
In general, you don't know that these events will happen, even if you can hazard a reasonable guess. Will Newt be safe from the Aliens? Do Jack and Rose make it in Titanic? Well, Hollywood Logic tells us that the kid usually survives and the lovers get to the end... But who knows?
Likewise, how a character gets past a particular obstacle is usually cloaked in secrecy. How the heroes defeat the villain is negotiable. Whether all of the ancillary characters make it to the end is variable.
Thus, I won't mention those. There's no need.
If a movie's in a particular genre, there are some things that are going to happen. I am not going to pretend that you and I both don't know that any given kids' movie is usually going to end happily, that the couple will get together at the end of the romantic comedy, that the villain will either be killed by dropping from a great height or he will vanish to return another day.
You know it. I know it. I'm not going to pretend surprise and go, "Gosh, who knew? Shrek 2 had a happy ending!"
We both did, okay? As long as I don't tell you how the happy ending is reached, it's not a goddamn spoiler to mention that one is had. It's expected.
The first rule and this rule may also allow you to put two and two together. "If Shrek 2 is about Fiona and Shrek's relationship," you'll say with dawning horror, "And it has a happy ending... Well, then, I know how this movie ends!"
Yep. If the movie is good enough, it can get past the predictability of the happy ending - which Shrek 2 does, and how. If it's not, shielding you from the vague details won't make the movie any better.
Again, this is personal taste. But it's my taste, and my journal.
Ridiculously Predictable Spoilers
You have a year to see a particular media source before I start giving away things that are blatantly obvious. Voldemort is the Big Bad in the Harry Potter books; eventually, he's going to have to stage a big comeback if he's going to be any threat at all. The simplest of logic will tell you this.
Should I accidentally drop this news that it happens in Book X, don't be surprised. I won't set out to ruin your fun - you may note that I have masked the book number in this case - but if I forget and drop the penny, well.... I can't stave off the bleedingly obvious forever.
Yes, this applies if you're waiting for the movie to be made from the book. The original media is what counts.
Any questions? Concerns? Feel free to leave them in the comments field, but you're gonna have to make one hell of an argument to get me to change my mind.