Nerd Talk: Getting cozy with winter viewings

Megan Roth’s bi-weekly column discussing pop culture and all things nerdy

Winter is the perfect time to catch up on that “to-be-read” list that has been haunting you since January. It is also a great time to check out new T.V. shows people have been raving about and you have missed.

Winter is also great for movies. Many great movies begin to come out as early as the first weekend of November.

Sure, you will hear a lot of people say winter is not the time to “give up” on physical fitness. This is true, eat healthy and be active. But part of that taking care of yourself is taking the time to reflect, slow down and expand your mind.

I’m all for being physically active, even though I’ve never been particularly fond of the outdoors – bugs are gross and the sun burns me even with the highest SPF sunscreen I can buy. So I exercise indoors mostly, and I take plenty of time to myself to expand my mind and think of new possibilities.

You may think I’m crazy, but hear me out. Watching T.V. and movies can expand your mind and get you thinking new ideas just as well as a book.

Movies, even the straight up crazy fictional world, can help you reflect and think critically about the world we live in and how we treat each other.

Looking at a series such as the X-Men can be a great way to get your mind moving and to begin to think critically. For example, a main theme in both the comics and the movies – even the cartoon series – is how we treat one another. The mutants of that universe, those with unexplained abilities, are looked down upon, segregated and in some cases exterminated because they are different and people are scared of them.

This is an action that can be traced throughout human history. When we are scared of something or don’t understand it or it is just different from us the first instinct is to get rid of it. This is a phenomenon that can be see through even our recent history.

From World War II to the Civil Rights Movement to the travel ban in the U.S right now, we have plenty of examples of how when people are scared they act out against what they perceive as dangerous. In the case of the X-Men it could be a family member who is different and targeted.

While there are no X-Men movies coming out this winter, there are some excellent shows to watch on T.V.

“Gifted” is currently airing in it’s first season. It is about a family who learn their two children have been targeted as mutants, and a warrant is out for their arrest.

“Legion” will return in February. It is about a man who suffers from schizophrenia and has been in psychiatric hospitals since a young age. While there he discovers there is more than just a mental illness to contend with.

Also watching movies can help improve your social interactions. I don’t know about you, but I rarely, if ever, see a movie alone. This is especially true for large movie openings.

For instance, I have a standing arrangement with a large group of friends to see the latest Star Wars movie. This includes somewhere around 10-15 people getting together to essentially celebrate a franchise we love.

This year I will be travelling to Calgary to take in the spectacle of Star Wars: The Last Jedi with my large group of friends.

While waiting in line for popcorn, or in my case M&Ms, there is no doubt I will end up interacting with others in line. This is because everyone will be excited for the show and everyone has a theory they will discuss.

And, let’s be honest, nerds will talk about their fandoms with anybody, and a line is a great place to do that.

Big movies to come out this winter include Thor: Ragnarok, which opened this past weekend, Justice League, which opens on Nov. 17, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Dec. 15. The final big movie movie I’m excited for this winter is Black Panther, which opens Feb. 15.

Those with kids, or is a kid at heart, Pixar’s Coco opens Nov. 22, and will be a great way to talk about other cultures and maybe even talk philosophically about what happens after death, as the movies is based around Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations.

I love taking the time to take in exciting movies and T.V. shows. Winter is a great time to do that while encouraging discussions and thoughtfulness.

I plan on watching all these over the next few months, along with some others I didn’t have the room to talk about. Of course that will happen just as soon as I catch up on the last season of “Game of Thrones”.

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