If our modern interpretation of the Mayan calendar is to be believed, humanity is down to its last year. Panicked? We at Intermission are as well–how can we absorb all the latest movies, awards shows, cons and video games before Dec. 21? In order to make things manageable, we’ve compiled a pop-culture bucket list to make sure that, come the apocalypse, you’ve experienced pop culture to the fullest.
Attend a midnight movie premiere—in costume
Attending a midnight premiere isn’t your typical movie-going experience. Fans are dressed up, emotions are running high and the audience is likely to cheer and applaud their way through the film. If you’ve never been before, you’re missing out. Luckily, this year offers lots of possibilities for awesome films with myriad costume possibilities–we suggest “The Hunger Games” (Mar. 23), “The Dark Knight Rises” (Jul. 20) or “The Hobbit” (Dec. 14).
Host an Academy Awards party
Every movie buff looks to the February awards ceremony not just for the awards and the films, but to see Hollywood’s elite on the most glamorous night of the year. But you’re not a true fanatic until you’ve celebrated the evening with your friends, preferably dressed up in your own glamorous attire. Parties aren’t your style? Try running a betting pool for the awards in your dorm.
Attend Comic-Con (July 12-15, 2012 in San Diego)
What started out as a small convention for comic books, films and fantasy series has turned into an event more than 100,000 people strong, with showcases in everything from web comics to anime to video games. Stars from popular shows and movies hold panels, merchandise is everywhere and fans go to town with elaborate costumes. If you’re a die-hard fanboy or fangirl, you have to experience Comic-Con.
Beat a classic video game
Whether you’ve played video games since infancy or have never touched a console, 2012 is your last chance to experience the magic that is video games. There’s nothing like finally beating a game after hours of effort. We suggest revisiting old favorites like “Pokemon,” “Super Mario Bros.,” “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” or older “Final Fantasy” titles.
Read a fantasy series—cover-to-cover
With the film adaptations of popular fantasy series like “Harry Potter,” “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hunger Games,” it’s easy to watch the movie and ignore the original books. However, as any stubborn fan will tell you, the book is always better than the movie. If you haven’t already read at least one classic fantasy series, don’t miss your chance.
Learn the choreography to “Thriller”
“Thriller” is hands down one of the most loved pop songs of our era, and the choreography is equally well-known. However, most people don’t know much of the dance beyond the monster arms in the chorus. Challenge yourself to learn the entire routine so you can honor the classic song in style. Already mastered it? Try learning the moves to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.”
Finally watch that TV series you’ve been putting off
You know when everyone’s talking about a certain TV series and your reply is always, “I’ve heard it’s good, I just haven’t had the time to watch it”? Now is the time. We recommend checking out fan favorites like “Community,” “Breaking Bad,” “Game of Thrones,” “Modern Family,” “Mad Men” or “Arrested Development.” Marathon it on the weekends with friends or break up your weekday studying with an episode or two.
See a musical or play
Sure, playing games, watching movies and reading books is awesome, but there’s something special about a live performance. Whether it’s an indie production in San Francisco or Broadway in New York, live theatre is something any true pop culture critic appreciates.
Read fan fiction
Along with dressing up and attending conventions, fan fiction is another side of pop culture fanaticism that’s usually kept under wraps. And often with good reason–a lot of fan fiction is either poorly written, cheesy or simply juvenile. But as the recent success of the “Twilight” franchise proves, amateurish writing can still be suspenseful and addicting. Pretty much any TV show, movie or book series you can think of now comes with accompanying fan fiction–some of which is surprisingly good, or delightfully awful. It’s a subculture worth experiencing.
Revisit your childhood favorites
With new Pixar and Miyazaki films coming out this year (“Brave” and “The Legend of Arrietty”) and the huge Internet popularity achieved by zany kids’ show “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” 2012 seems like a great year to be a kid again. Enjoy the new stuff while going back to your roots–watch old Disney films or your old favorite cartoons (“Dexter’s Laboratory,” anyone?).