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Last week, I was looking forward to engaging in my Fourth of July tradition of watching the film “1776.” I do this yearly because I hate heat, crowds and loud noises and I love musicals.

I assumed it would be on TCM, as it is every year, but the channel was only showing it at 1:30 a.m. on July 5 because it hates America. It wasn’t on Netflix. It was on Amazon Instant Video, but for $3. Not good enough — I wanted my catchy tunes both now and for free because that’s why we fought the British.*

For me, this is a frustration that would not have existed five years ago because the possibility that I could call up any movie, any time and get it for free simply did not exist. My God, for family movie night when I was growing up, we had to drive to Blockbuster! And then drive BACK when we were done!

I embrace this brave new world of instant gratification, and not only because I watched “Soapdish” the other night simply because I felt like watching “Soapdish.” This unprecedented technology gives us greater access to the art form than we’ve ever had.

And it’s not just about “1776” and “Soapdish” and whatever movie you like to put on when you clean the house (I find “Clueless” works really well). If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch “Casablanca,” “Citizen Kane,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “Apocalypse Now” — just try sorting by year to find the classics. You can now not only watch “The Goonies” yet again, you can see all the movies you’ve always meant to see.

Kristen Page-Kirby covers film for The Washington Post Express.
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Vicky Hallett | July 12, 2013