Spoiler Alert

Posted on December 8, 2022 at 5:06 pm

B +
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for drug use, thematic elements, and sexual content
Profanity: Strong language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Alcohol and marijuana
Violence/ Scariness: Illness and sad death
Diversity Issues: A theme of the movie
Date Released to Theaters: December 9, 2022

Copyright Focus Features 2022
TV Guide journalist Michael Ausiello fell in love with photographer Kit Cowan and wrote a book about their life together and Kit’s death from cancer called Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies. Like Love Story, we know from the beginning that we will be crying at the end. But we expect that it will be a tender, inspiring story, and it is.

Jim Parsons plays Ausiello, a man whose deep attachment to television — and to one show in particular I will not spoil — stems from and perpetuates a tendency to be introverted and self-conscious in his interactions with others, especially possible romantic partners. He calls himself an “FFK,” “former fat kid,” so he is insecure about his body.

Kit (Ben Aldridge) is handsome, confident, and outgoing. He has never considered making a commitment to any kind of romantic or intimate relationship. Both of them are surprised and scared to find themselves caring about each other. Michael is the one who confesses he has always dreamed of someone to lie under the Christmas tree with him, year after year.

They move in together. They lie under the Christmas tree. But they have some problems. Michael worries that Kit is cheating on him with a handsome co-worker. Kit gets impatient. Each of them is irritated with the very changes they introduced each other to. Michael, a non-drinker when they met, is now getting quietly snockered in the evenings. Kit, who didn’t watch much television when they met, is watching too much, even for Kit. Both, of course, are about distancing themselves from having real conversations.

Kit moves out, but they remain close. And then, after one more Christmas celebration, Kit tells Michael he is experiencing pain. Michael goes with him to the doctor and they have the conversation everyone dreads, the one that begins with, “I’m afraid the news is not what we had hoped.”

The movie balances our expectations for a movie love story with specifics about the perspective of these gay men and their friends in the capable hands of director Michael Showalter, who gave us a similar, fact-based story in “The Big Sick.” The title itself makes it clear that this one will not have a happily ever after ending. But it has some wise insights about the connections based on going through the direst circumstances together. Intimacy is terrifying, but in the reflected light of the even bigger terror of loss, we can achieve some clarity about risking all of the pain to face it together, to help each other through the worst.

Parsons leaves behind his iconic role in “the Big Bang Theory” to give us the tender-hearted Ausiello, who has to learn to make real-life connections beyond his attachment to his television “friends.” And Aldridge is endearing as Kit allows himself to be vulnerable. Over the closing credits we see a brief video of the real Kit, a scene re-created for the film. With the book and the movie, Michael has made a lovely tribute to Kit, to love, to being human, and to sharing our stories.

Parents should know that this movie has strong language, sexual references and situations, drinking, marijuana, and terminal cancer.

Family discussion: What pushed Kit and Michael apart and what brought them back together? What do we learn from the reaction of Kit’s parents?

If you like this, try: the book, Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies, and Ausiello’s Instagram account for Kit’s photographs

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GLBTQ and Diversity Illness, Medicine, and Health Care movie review Movies -- format Movies -- Reviews Romance Tragedy

An App To Help You Avoid Spoilers

Posted on October 6, 2013 at 3:57 pm

You’ve DVRed the latest episode of your favorite show but haven’t watched it yet.  Or you were out of town and haven’t made it to the theater to see the latest blockbuster.  There are a lot of arguments on both sides of the spoiler debate.  But if  you want to protect yourself from spoilers, there’s an app for that!  It’s called Spoiler Shield.  It blocks all the social media mentions of the movie, TV show, or sporting event you don’t want to know about until you’ve had a chance to enjoy it.

Even Spoiler Shield can’t protect you from your friends or overheard conversations.  Maybe in version 2.0.

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Internet, Gaming, Podcasts, and Apps

The Rest of the ‘Catfish’ Review (Spoiler Alert!)

Posted on January 3, 2011 at 3:56 pm

If you have seen “Catfish” and are ready for the rest of my review, here it is:
In the early days of the World Wide Web, a widely-circulated New Yorker cartoon showed a dog sitting up before a computer, paws on the keyboard. The caption read, “On the internet, no one knows you’re a dog.” We all know too well the stories about people who pretend to be something or someone they are not online. Nev knows that the beautiful young woman whose picture he hopefully Photoshops with his own may not be exactly what she says. He jokes that it could be a guy. But he gets caught up despite himself. When he and the film-makers go to Michigan, they are open to adventure. They know that Megan may not be what they expect. But what they find is something they could never have imagined.
Nev believes he is in touch with an entire community of people. It turns out he is in touch with one person, Angela. She is in reality the mother of Abby, the little girl, and Megan, the 19-year-old, and all of the people Nev has “friended” are real people. But they are not on Facebook. Angela has created all of the Facebook pages and personas — and kept two cell phones, one to answer as herself, one to answer as Megan. All of them have names and other identifying characteristics of the real people and places and events in Angela’s life, but in a much more fundamental way, all of them are aspects of Angela herself. The movie’s most powerful moments are when we realize that Angela was not trying to deceive Nev as much as she was trying to present a self that felt more authentic to her than the life she was actually leading. She is like both Cyrano de Bergerac and the handsome-but-blank soldier whose love letters he penned.
At first, Angela tries to keep the fantasy alive. But with surprising gentleness, Nev encourages her to confess. She had once dreamed of being an artist but she was living in a remote part of Michigan, caring for two profoundly disabled teenage step-sons. Like many of us, Angela looked around at her life, very far from what she had hoped for and felt that it wasn’t who she really was. And so, like a novelist or screenwriter, she imagined another world. For a little while, it felt more real to her and to Nev than what they were living. She longed for Nev’s life in the midst of the cultural opportunities of New York. He longed for the bucolic pleasures of the country. They both longed for someone to love and be loved by. And for a moment, they found it, or what felt like it anyway.
Angela often ends her sentences with a “so…..,” not ready to finish the thought, not willing to see where it leads, but not able to end where it is. It is telling that her paintings, which mean so much to her, are based on photographs. Just as she amplifies and embroiders and expands on the images of what really exists in her artwork, she took the details of her life and made them prettier. But as Nev cannot find it in his heart to be angry or feel badly deceived, we, too, respond to her need to spend a few hours a day as the person she felt she was meant to be. It is moving to see his spirit expand to recognize that it was not Angela’s lies he was drawn to, but her truth. And at the end, when for the first time we understand the meaning of the film’s title, and then we see where Nev’s relationship with Angela is today, we can feel our own spirits expanding, and rising, to greater understanding and forgiveness.

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Spoiler Alert

Deeper into ‘Inception’ (Spoiler Alert)

Posted on July 28, 2010 at 1:54 pm

I love all the crowd-sourcing on the internet about “Inception,” with all kinds of theories and explanations. If you’ve already seen the movie, check out these:
Cinematical has a sensational chart from an artist named Dehahs showing all of “Inception’s” levels.
Salon explains it all.
Here’s an explanation as twisty and layered as the movie itself.
And actor Dileep Rao, who appears in the film as Yusuf the chemist , answers some questions in New York Magazine.
And check out these surprising sleep facts from the movie.

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Spoiler Alert

After You’ve Seen ‘Inception’ (Spoiler Discussion)

Posted on July 17, 2010 at 4:36 pm

For those who have seen “Inception” and want to hear some other people think it through, listen in to this discussion with Matt Atchity (Editor-In-Chief, Rottentomatoes.com) and Christy Lemire (AP).
And if you want more — check out the Daily Beast’s list of mind-bending movies and Salon’s list of the best onscreen dreams.

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