question of the day: Do stinger scenes after a film’s credits need to go?

Are you tired of postcredits tag scenes in movies? Richard Roeper is. From an essay in the Chicago Sun-Times:

You can’t blame moviegoers for racing to the exits once a film has reached its conclusion. Spend two hours sucking down a soft drink in a container the size of R2D2, and it’s gonna be a race to the bathroom the second the credits start rolling.

Only one problem. If you don’t stick around until the very last Personal Assistant to the Assistant to Mr. Downey has been thanked and the very last note of the Pounding Terminator-Influenced Soundtrack has been sounded, you might miss something.

There was a time when the stinger was a rare treat. Now it’s so commonplace — especially in the superhero movies — that you see message boards threads about possible stingers before a movie even comes out. And it’s become such a predictable part of the viewing experience that “Marvel’s The Avengers” contained TWO stingers — one halfway through the credits, and a comedic nugget at the very end. For all I know there’s a third stinger that takes place while the staff is cleaning up all the popcorn we’ve left on the ground.

Is this trend the cinematic equivalent of an extra helping of dessert after a great dinner — or is it becoming as tiresome and cliched as characters in action movies saying, “I’ve got a bad feeling,” and, “I’ve got this!” Isn’t it reasonable for a moviegoer to expect the story of the film to be told within the lines? If you have to sit through 20 minutes of commercials and trailers and two hours of movie, should you have to stick around for the credits, which sometimes feel as long as the movie itself?

(I’m guessing this rant was inspired by Battleship, which contains a truly idiotic stinger, which Roeper mentions elsewhere in his piece.)

This sounds like a whole lot of churlish whining to me. No one is forcing anyone to drink an R2D2-sized soda during a movie. No one is forcing anyone to sit through credits if they really don’t want to (though the credits are an ideal time to start the conversation with your moviegoing pals about the movie you’ve just seen, if you’re really no interested in learning about where the film was shot or who wrote the music used in the film). The postcredit scenes are always bonuses: I’ve never seen or heard of one that was essential viewing, or one that added any new nuances to a story.

But maybe I’m being unfair. Do stinger scenes after a film’s credits need to go? Do you feel cheated if you miss seeing one because you left too early? How would we make Hollywood stop using them, if we all decided we don’t like them?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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