I Read the Wikipedia Page for Movies Instead of Actually Watching Them, and I’m Here To Defend Myself


A24/Wikipedia/Khadija Horton

Last fall, I tweeted, “Ah, October…the month when I consider watching a horror film, decide I can’t handle it, read its Wikipedia page, and call it a day.” Granted, this was an extreme case—often, I *do* end up sitting through a full movie—but I was shocked when strangers replied that they, too, did the thing I shamefully long considered shameful. Buoyed by the knowledge and lots more research (for journalism, of course), I am here to prove that this should now be your process too.

It gives you a deeper appreciation for the movie

For lofty intellectual reasons that I learned in college but promptly forgot, plot is not the most “important” part of a film. Sadly, though, I am a very anxious person who finds it difficult to focus on anything else because it stresses me out when characters are in danger or even mildly inconvenienced. (As a kid, I couldn’t even sit through Billboard Dad, a story with absolutely zero stakes.) Pre-reading a synopsis lets me stop spiraling about what’s going to happen and instead concentrate on what “really matters”…a film’s deep themes? Its mise-en-scène? Something!

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It helps you out if you’re totally lost

As more time passes since I’ve gone to an actual theater and been forced to give a movie my full attention, I am less able to watch one without playing on my phone and missing something/everything. (I’m sorry! I didn’t do this to my brain, Mark Zuckerberg did!! Take it up with him!!!)

It turns you into An Expert

Listen, I don’t like to be scared. Only very rarely do I like to be sad. Reading about a movie > spending 90 to 270 minutes becoming scared or sad. But I do like to speak about things with authority. So I also read about a movie’s production, reception, and, if I’m lucky, associated controversies—all of which basically makes me an insider, regardless of whether I actually finish the thing. And, I mean, isn’t that pretty much why God invented Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia?

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