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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Flick Chick: Are We Resourceful? Or Desperate?

defazioheadshot_opIf you’re college-aged, you are most likely an expert at finding your favorite show or movie online. You have discovered the ability to online stream, on many different sites and use your own specific ways to set up a video resolution, speaker system and order of what shows you will watch. This means you’re a rebel and nothing can stop you. Congratulations.

When I wanted to watch “Gone Girl” (2014) this weekend, I found myself in limbo, where I was too late to see the movie in theaters since it came out in October and, of course, the DVD and Blu-ray won’t come out until I retire. Since there was absolutely no way for me to find the movie due to both my procrastination for going to see movies in theaters when they’re actually out as well as my chronic impatience, I decided to find it online somewhere — wherever I could get it. There, I paid with my blood, sweat and tears instead, trying to find a good website that would load completely, have the least amount of commercials beforehand, and was the correct “Gone Girl” (you’d be surprised). Once one worked for me, I felt proud. The search for the one good website brings me some false feeling of superiority, but honestly, I had to ask a friend to direct me to a website that would work best for me. Is anyone really good at this?

What am I doing? Do I love myself? Why would I, a respectable and educated young woman, be proud of finding some weird corner of the internet that is teeming with files of movies barely released in theaters, and reality shows from 20 years ago? Am I so wrapped up in myself that I think that movie watching can only be appreciated if the work it took to get it was grueling enough? What is the meaning of my existence in this relationship between my computer screen and me? I was tired and cranky and just wanted to watch Ben Affleck be accused of murder. I fell asleep before the movie ended.

This is the new thing, finding full movies and television series online. Streaming, whether it be on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, or your favorite channel’s website, is usually the same experience; it’s always a search for what movie is worth your time, but isn’t something you’d personally like to endorse by physically buying a copy of the Blu-Ray. Having the evidence on your computer is enough commitment to season four of “Honey Boo Boo.” Everyone does it, and because everyone does it, it’s changing the landscape of movie rentals and releases across the globe.

Some may say that this accessibility to any film or show known to man promotes laziness, and hurts the creators of such work because if it’s free, of course it’s harmful. Unfortunately for the old-school critic, free streaming means movies on the go, literally any movie on the planet being available, and pausing or playing whenever you’d like (as long as the ads allow it). Though it may seem sad, lonely and desperate, it’s free. And it’s changing the dynamic of who gets to watch what movies, and expanding our understanding of the world. In what other way are we able to watch foreign critically acclaimed documentaries, or an HBO miniseries that would have otherwise cost hundreds of dollars to see? Shows like “Breaking Bad,” “The Office” and “Arrested Development” changed the way people enjoy entertainment because they were available online. Ratings, when taking into account the amount of online viewing, skyrocket and are seen as the main form of reception. This isn’t a bad thing. I was able to watch a thriller full of psychopathic motives and Rosamund Pike’s bleached eyebrows over two nights and only fell asleep once in the comfort of my own bed on my two and a half-year-old laptop! Life is truly amazing.

If you’re in limbo and need something to entertain yourself for a couple of hours, scope the internet with an ad blocker and distract yourself from the real world. Just don’t take yourself too seriously and keep your mental health as a priority, because whatever online service is available to you will have its faults. But realize that what you are partaking in while watching “Gone Girl” (which I highly recommend, by the way) is the new form of entertainment that will expand just as much as home copies had, and that is something to be proud of. Fight the man, you revolutionaries.

Hey, do you know where to find The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea? Let me know by email (endefazio@ucdavis.edu) or on Twitter (@emdefaz10). My, uh, niece is over.

Graphic by CA Aggie Graphic Design Team

Photo by CA Aggie Photo Team

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