Over 10 years ago, I made the decision to stop watching trailers. It was the most impactful and enriching decision I ever made for my moviegoing experience. Anyone else here pro-media blackout?

The year was 2010. I had just stepped out of the theater after seeing Inception for the first time. It would go on to be one of my favorite films of all time. After deliberating about the many theories my friends and I had, I eventually had a come-to-Jesus moment: as much as I enjoyed the film, I probably would have been even more blown away if I didn't watch the trailers for that film. The hallway fight scene, the city folding up over itself, the zero-G scenes, they all would have come as a complete surprise to me had I not seen the trailers.

So, I decided to stop watching all trailers from then on out. No more trailers for films that I was excited for or expecting to see.

I think it has easily been the most game-changing decision I've ever made to help me enjoy films I probably would have already liked, and take them to the next level. All I did was implement a simple 2-step plan:

  • Whenever a trailer played in theaters, I'd either close my eyes or check my phone. Obviously you can still hear the trailer, but you'd be surprised at how quickly you can forget a trailer if you have no images to pair the audio with.

  • In order to find movies to be excited about, I'd simply check websites to determine my excitement level: Hollywood Reporter, Slashfilm, Collider, just to name a few. Although some of those websites have some god-awful takes on films, I use them more for when they actually report movie news. I also have a decent grasp of what directors/actors I enjoy seeing, so that just made everything easier.

After seeing the movie, I'd finally watch the trailers to see how much they reveal. It's amazing how much studios will reveal just to get you to watch their film. I've never felt so much relief watching some of these trailers knowing that the best parts weren't spoiled for me. While I'd say that not watching trailers has pretty much benefited me for every film that I've seen since then, here are just a few specific memories I've had that I'll remember forever going in completely blind for a film:

  • The fight scenes for The Raid 2. Seeing those characters with the ridiculous fighting weapons and all of the set pieces they had without knowing anything was incredible, especially in a theater filled with people OOHing and AAHing.

  • Seeing The Bat in The Dark Knight Rises. I was always a huge fan of Nolan's interpretation of the modern Batmobile, so I was just as curious to see his take on the Bat Wing in his third film. Seeing it emerge from the dark alley with that crazy engine was pure movie bliss.

  • The fire/sandstorm from Mad Max: Fury Road. Granted, everything in that film was pretty much complete madness, but seeing that along with all the guys flying around on a big screen without having seen any of that was amazing.

  • Seeing the ships and boarding scene in Arrival. They tease the ever-loving crap out of you as to what the ships look like from the start of the film, right until the first shot of the vessels. It was glorious. The ship boarding scene was an incredible visual experience since I had no expectation as to how they were going to do it, but IIRC that's like the entire premise of one of their trailers. Not knowing what the aliens looked like was also huge.

  • The cinematography of Blade Runner 2049. Seeing Villeneuve and Deakins do more than just honor Ridley Scott's legacy of the original BR was pure eye candy for its 2.5 hour runtime.

  • All of Mission: Impossible - Fallout. Every single scene. While I have to admit that its first trailer is quite possibly one of the greatest trailers of all time, it reveals a hell of a lot. Not knowing what any of the stunts were made this viewing an actual religious experience.

  • The infamous running scene in 1917. Even my friend who saw the film with me afterwards was like, "I wish I didn't watch the trailer for that." That running scene has to be one of the most breathtaking moments in cinema history for me.

Anyway, thanks everyone for indulging me. I'd love to hear of other film lovers memories of when going media-blackout greatly benefited their movie-going experience. Does anyone not watch trailers, or is anyone planning on doing so?

EDIT: Wow, really really surprised by the amount of people who felt the same way! I'm glad there's people like us out there...and have definitely been reading the comments. Duly noted about taking my phone out during trailers, I won't do that anymore. Thanks y'all!

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