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Please, keep me in suspense

By Heather Murphy
CNN Headline News

In several interviews, Jet Li has let slip a few spoilers about the ending of his new film, "Hero."
HLN Critical Mass

(CNN) -- In 1982, I was a little behind the curve. When a group of friends and I went to see "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial," it was the second time many of them had seen the movie, but it was my first.

Halfway through the movie, the wrinkly alien grew weaker and weaker, and tears rolled down my face. My friend Nancy patted my hand and said, "Don't worry. They make him better and he lives!" So began my long, sad history of spoiled movie endings.

Sometimes, it's an accident. At work one day, I overheard a group of people talking about "The Sixth Sense." I hadn't seen the movie yet, so I listened in to see if they liked it. When they talked about the shocker ending, I realized I had just spoiled the movie for myself.

That has actually happened more than once, but not because I listen in on a lot of conversations. For instance, in 1995, I was watching the World Series on television. The camera panned the audience and stopped on Kevin Spacey, one of the stars of "The Usual Suspects." The announcer chirped, "There's Keyser Soze!" Guess who hadn't seen the movie yet.

Yep. Spoiled again.

Another time, it was the stars of the movie who spoiled the ending for me. I had missed a chance to see "Thelma and Louise" but had heard the ending of the movie was a big deal. At the Oscars in 1992, Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis cruised to the podium to present an award. In their scripted chatter, Davis said, "You know, Susan, maybe we should do a sequel to 'Thelma and Louise.' "

The audience chuckled, and Sarandon responded, "Geena, our characters drove off a cliff. There won't be any sequel." The audience laughed, but I was at home, screaming very bad things at my TV.

Stars haven't smartened up since then. A couple of weeks ago, I was watching a satellite feed of Jet Li, who was giving interviews to TV stations around the country for his new movie, "Hero." In several interviews, he enthusiastically recalled his role as an assassin sent to kill a king. He was just as enthusiastic in telling how the movie ends for his character.

I'm not entirely innocent in the spoilage department. My sister, Barbara, and I were chatting a while back, and she said she had rented "The Others" to watch for the first time. She asked if I'd seen it. I told her I had and said, "It's a good ghost story. If you liked 'The Sixth Sense,' you'll like 'The Others.' " She stared at me long and hard, probably fighting off a sisterly urge to deck me. In my defense, she did like the movie ... the ending just wasn't as exciting, thanks to me.

These spoiled spoilers are apparently rubbing off on me. My husband recently divulged that he had never seen "E.T." I said I had seen it and recalled how Nancy had spoiled the ending for me.

"Heather," he said, "Do you realize you just told me how the movie ends?"

The spoiled has become the spoiler.

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