The Best Way to Watch Any Movie Is Spoiler-Free

I tried my best to avoid any spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and for the most part I succeeded. It was a difficult task, believe me! Yet, in the end, it was worth it. Seeing a movie's plot unfurl without knowing the details of what will come next is the best way to experience any story (cinematic or otherwise).

When I first saw Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction at an early screening before it opened to the general public, I had no idea what to expect, so every plot point was a thrill and the nonlinear format worked perfectly. One factor in my underwhelming reaction to the Star Wars prequel The Phantom Menace was my exposure to every possible spoiler, which made the actual film experience predictable, since I knew every beat of the plot and almost every visual in the motion picture before I saw it all in context.

I've written about the negatives and even the positives of spoilers, but I've learned my lesson.  If at all possible, I will avoid as many spoilers as I can so that my movie-going experience will be as pure as possible. Let cinema unfold as it should -- before our eyes, not in snippets in advance.

Now the big question remains -- once I've actually seen the finished product, how long do I have to wait before I'm permitted to discuss spoilers?