Many college students living on campus can be found with their heads in their electronic devices in between class times, or in the later hours of the night. They may be texting their classmates, surfing social media or binge watching the newest hits on Netflix and Hulu. I often see students passing the time by leaving their laptop on a show while they finish homework. I find myself listening to conversations about the newest films and online series but I am never able to partake in them as I haven’t been on my Netflix account since the summer ended. The odd thing is how excluded one can feel when they are not active in the realm of cinema.
I haven’t gone to the Keene Cinema in a year, aside from seeing “Crazy Rich Asians” last fall, and I haven’t binge watched any Netflix shows since the summer ended. Now that I’ve stepped back into the third party, I see how my peers have been completely surrounded by these stories of magic, horror, advanced sciences and perfect romantic endings. I see people identifying and connecting with characters and plots that exist behind the screen of their laptop. This doesn’t seem bad until you offend someone by telling them their favorite character (that they see as a mirror of themselves) is lesser to another character (that you identify with), then both parties begin to feel a personal attack instead of exchanging personal opinions. These arguments tend to be futile and have no real ending, just two minds ending exactly where they started.
I have noticed how defensive people can get when their peers favor other shows or movies over their favorites. Even worse, caring or not caring for your friend’s character may cause disputes that are unnecessarily aggressive. I’m certainly at fault of that as well. I have participated in debates such as DC vs. Marvel, “Star Wars” vs. “Star Trek,” “The Lord of the Rings” vs. “The Hobbit”— and no, anime is not a cartoon. These debates may have started small and contained a lot of jokes, but often grow hostile.
There is a whole subculture surrounding film and entertainment. It has evolved drastically throughout its short history and integrated into many of our daily lives. I remember being a child and waiting eagerly for the newest “Harry Potter” movie every November. I remember how important it was for me to find people who agreed with my favorite relationship pairing of these wonderful fictional characters. While my mother always used movie nights at the town’s cinema as a special activity, my father would rent movie disks from Netflix or Redbox and mail them back when we were done with a season of “Doctor Who” or “Star Trek.” It was our bonding activity and was the foundation for my future involvement in this ever growing fantasy world. While I do not dedicate large amounts of my weeks to these forms of entertainment, it still is prominent part of my social and personal time.
I believe this culture is just one large escape. My fellow students can live through these fictional fantasies and breed works of their own stories, release tension from previous stress, or just relax as time passes. These tendencies can be studied and tracked as its own culture grows within our generation’s. As the end of the semester grows near, you will find me in the red, padded chairs in Keene Cinema holding my usual popcorn and fruit punch combo to enjoy the latest Marvel Studio release: “Avengers: Endgame.”
Angelique Inchierca can be contacted at