No one likes being told what to do, but I must ask one thing of the three of you reading this: please don’t illegally download the movies and TV shows you plan to watch.
Yep, this week’s column is going to be a fun one! I know we are all students, and iTunes’ attempt to charge $9.99 for whatever mediocre rom-com that is tame and bland enough for the whole family to watch, and for no one to truly enjoy, feels outrageous, but bear with me. Not downloading illegally doesn’t even necessarily mean paying for the films you watch.
As Tufts students, we have an incredible number of resources that we can use to access movies legally for exactly $0 — if you ignore the cost of tuition, but that’s a discussion for another day. The streaming site Kanopy is free for anyone in possession of a library membership, which you, my fellow Jumbos, all have. Signing up to Kanopy using your Tufts email address gives you access to a massive number of films from A24 — amazing films like “Moonlight” (2016), “Lady Bird” (2017) and a personal favorite of mine, “20th Century Women” (2017), tons of Oscar-nominated films and over 400 Criterion Collection films. Instead of re-watching “The Holiday” (2006) — which, although it is a fun movie, is far too long at 2 hours and 16 minutes, and somehow manages to make Jack Black seem unlikable — with your grandmother, turn on the incredibly funny “Obvious Child” (2014) and have a chat about what it’s like being a young person and suddenly having to figure out life, which is much more likely to be relevant to both of your lives than a story about charming Jude Law will ever be.
If you are somehow unable to find something to watch on Kanopy, there are alternatives. If you are looking for slightly more mainstream options, Amazon Prime Video has some fantastic shows and movies and offers students a free one-year trial of its service. Once again, sign up using your Tufts email. There is plenty of stuff to watch instead of having another conversation with your Aunt Barbara about how you may have gained a few pounds. If both of these options are not enough, many streaming services like Mubi and Netflix offer free trials, which is definitely something worth trying.
It may seem silly to care about whether or not complete strangers pay for what they watch, but if you care about movies you need to be paying for them. Movie-making is a business, and which movies get made is based on how much money people think they will bring in. If you are tired of not seeing enough women, people of color or queer people in films, you need to be putting your money towards films that do showcase these groups when they come around. It’s plain and simple. If you want more movies to be made, you need to be accessing the ones that have already been made. You might not even need to pay for them.