Photo by Anna Meassick | Entertainment Cinemas is the nearest movie theater to campus.
As a freshman at the University of Rhode Island who lives on campus and doesn’t own a car, I have found going to the movies is much more difficult in comparison to when I am back home.
In talking to students, I realized that I am not the only student at URI with this issue. Even students who have cars and do not live on campus have said that during the school year, they rarely ever go see movies in theaters.
The obvious reasons for this are time and money. The idea of the “broke college student” isn’t just a joke or a stereotype, but a reality for many students. While the bus system is a great way to get off-campus without expense or very little expense for students with cars, even on weekends, it doesn’t run much later than 10:30 p.m. There also is still the added cost of paying for the movie as well as concessions if you’d please, as well as other transportation if needed.
The first time I ever ventured off-campus since arriving was to go to Showcase Cinemas Warwick Mall. I had never ridden the RIPTA before. Although it was extremely easy for me to collect my free bus pass, the ride to Warwick was about 40 minutes long and a friend had to pick up my friends and I to drive us to the movie theater. Since the last bus came around 10:45 p.m., our friend ended up having to drive us back to our dorm and then back to her home in Cranston. After it being such a hassle, I realized that going to the movies was going to be a privilege in a way that it never was when I was in high school.
Junior Sandra Gradoia who lives off-campus and has a car, said that she never goes to movies during her time at URI. Being a part of so many clubs and organizations as well as being a full-time student and having a job, she has very little free time and gets very little sleep.
“When I do have the time to go to the movies, which I do love to do, I fall asleep instead,” Gradoia explained.
Fifth-year student Ardemis Kassabian also lives off-campus and has a car, but never has time to go the movie theater or the money to pay for tickets. A Kingston native, she recalls her high school days in which she and her friends would often see movies at South County Commons. Now, she says she goes to the movies very rarely.
Like myself, freshman Rebecca Gawron lives on-campus and doesn’t have a car. Except she hasn’t found any time or a way to get to a movie theater.
“I really would [go to the movie theater] if I had a car probably because there are a few movies I really wanted to see,” Gawron said.
A commonality all of us have is that we stream movies online way more often than going to the theaters. When comparing the two options, it makes sense that streaming appears to be the main way college students view movies. After all, all that is needed is a monthly subscription that is a lot cheaper than if you were to go to the theater multiple times a month and you can do it in the comfort of your bed. The downside is having to wait for the movies that are in the theaters to be released online or on DVD, which often takes months.
Personally, there is also something special to me about going to the theaters and sitting down to watch a movie for a few hours without the distraction of my phone or computer.
Kassabian said that she often multitasks when she streams, doing her homework while having a movie playing at the same time.
Freshman Gavin O’Connell also shared that he hasn’t been to the movie theater since he arrived on campus despite his roommate having a car and having been off-campus with him. However, he has never been the type to go to the theaters and prefers to stream movies.
While I see the benefits of streaming and I find myself streaming shows and movies often, it is a shame that college has caused me to treat a trip to the movie theaters as a luxury.