Soon it will be time to hang our stockings with care, but even well before Santa visits, we geeks will be awash in gifts. December is far from the most geek friendly month of the year, but there's still no shortage of nerdy fun to be had. From Star Wars celebrations to hard science, December is full of great geek events, whether you want to take your mind off the holidays or dive deep into them. Here are ten of the best, in chronological order.
10) RiffTrax Live: Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny
Back in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 days, weird and obscure holiday films were always favorites, despite — or because — of their utterly alien takes on jolly old Saint Nick. Now, the former MST3K crew of RiffTrax — Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett — are bringing a new Christmas abomination to theaters with RiffTrax Live: Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny. An amusement park relic that features a whole lot of Santa stuck on a Florida beach, plus a variety of farm animals, Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, a man in a gorilla suit, a whole other movie and, of course, the titular Ice Cream Bunny, who briefly appears to save the day. If you're dreaming of a weird Christmas, you could do a lot worse.
See the men of RiffTrax tackle Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny at 7 p.m. Thursday, December 3 via a live broadcast to theaters all around the Denver Metro, including the Pavilions 15, or catch the reprise at 7 :30 p.m. Tuesday, December 15. For tickets, $12.50, and more info, including a complete list of theaters, visit the Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny event page.
9) Fantastique: Pan's Labyrinth
There's plenty of Christmas themed entertainment on tap this month, even for geeks, so if you need a little break from all the ho-ho-hoing, then don't miss Pan's Labyrinth. Guillermo del Toro's dark fairy tale is the perfect antidote for all the treacly cheer and good tidings of the season, not to mention one hell of a film on its own merits. Like every film in the Fantastique series, it's hosted and introduced by Hugo-award winning local writer Jason Heller, who will be giving away a copy of Brian Froud's Goblins to one lucky attendee. Everyone else will have to settle for seeing a modern dark fantasy classic on the big screen in glorious 35mm, which makes a pretty nice consolation prize.
8) Galapagos 3D: Nature's Wonderland
Sometimes, you need to set aside the science fiction and embrace some real-life science. Do that with a virtual journey to the very birthplace of evolutionary theory: the Galapagos Islands! Featuring a cast of animals and plants uniquely suited to the islands' myriad ecological niches, the IMAX film is a breathtaking look at one of the most important locations in science history. After, Scott Sampson from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and Chris Pague from the Nature Conservancy will speak about the islands ongoing role in our understanding of evolution, plus there's a nice reception after.
See Galapagos 3D: Nature's Wonderland at 7 p.m. Tuesday, December 8 at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Tickets are $12 for DMNS and Nature Conservancy members, or $15 general admission. For more info and tickets, visit the Galapagos 3D: Nature's Wonderland event page.
7) Star Wars Holiday Special
With a little luck, come December 18, we're going to get the best the Star Wars universe has to offer with The Force Awakens. Why not prep yourself with the very worst that George Lucas and pals could come up? No, not the prequels — much, much worse: the dreaded holiday special. Made for TV and quickly shoved down the memory hole, the Star Wars Holiday Special is everything you hate about cheap, soulless holiday cash-ins, only now with added Star Wars flavor! See Wookies get weird! Goggle in horror and delight at the musical numbers! Wonder how the hell it ever got made! You'll never look at Star Wars or the holidays quite the same way again.
6) Science Friction: Attack the Block
If you haven't heard of Attack the Block, you are missing out. The alien invasion comedy-horror film became an almost instant cult classic upon its release, introducing the world to a man named John Boyega who is about to become very famous as the lead in the brand-new Star Wars movie, which opens just after this event. In the meantime, catch up on this excellent film — which also stars Nick Frost — and see where he got his start. And, in the unthinkable scenario where that new Star Wars movie sucks ass as hard as the prequels, you can at least say you saw Boyega in his truly great film. Like every film in the Science Friction series, it's hosted and introduced by Hugo-award winning local writer Jason Heller, who will be giving away everything from concert tickets to a book on the original Star Wars trading cards.
5) Star Wars Night: The Force Awakens Party
If you're itching to get maximum Star Wars madness in before the Force Awakens drops, this Nerd Riot party should fill your Force Awakens eve with the maximum amount of the Force. The music of H2Awesome! will soundtrack your evening, while contests ranging from who's got the best Chewbacca roar to your nerdy knowledge of the galaxy far, far away will keep you busy. And you can feel good about it all, because proceeds go to Collector's Crate, a charity that brings toys to sick and needy children.
Get in touch with the Force starting at 8 p.m. Wednesday, December 16 at 3 Kings Tavern. Tickets are $6. For more info, visit the Star Wars Night: The Force Awakens Party event page.
4) Star Wars: The Force Awakens
I mean, duh. The newest film in the storied franchise, after more than ten years? Of course you're going. We're all going. See you there.
See Star Wars: The Force Awakens pretty much anywhere near you starting Friday, December 18, including the Alamo Drafthouse, which is an awesome place to see movies. Check out showtimes and prices on the Alamo Drafthouse website, or just call up your friendly neighborhood multiplex and see what screenings still have tickets available.
3) Films on Tap: Die Hard doubleheader
Damned if Christmas didn't come early! Two Die Hard films, both set at Christmas. Twice the explosions. Twice the John McClane one-liners. And, because it's Films on Tap, twice the drinking, because FoT is all about turning films into drinking games. And this time of year, with all the stress from enforced jolliness and too damnmuch family, you're going to need a drink. Or ten. Yippee Kay Aye, moviegoer!
The drinking and original Die Hard starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 18 at the Sie FilmCenter. Die Hard 2 follows at 10. Tickets are $11, or $8 for seniors and $7 for Denver Film Society members, and the first fifty attendees will get a free beer, courtesy of Breckenridge Brewing. For tickets and more info, visit the Films on Tap: Die Hard event page.
2) Colorado Symphony: A Weekend of Star Wars
Next to the indelible image of Darth Vader, there’s nothing more iconic of the Star Wars mythos than John Williams’s stirring musical cues. From the booming main theme to the foreboding “Imperial March” and beyond, the music of Star Wars is as essential to the experience as droids, Jedi and stormtroopers. In recognition of the series’ music’s hallowed place in geek canon, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra is offering A Weekend of Star Wars to transport fans back to their favorite galaxy far, far away.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Hear the music that made Star Wars great at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 26 or at 1 p.m. Sunday, December 27 at at the Boettcher Concert Hall. Tickets for the show start at $34. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit the Weekend of Star Wars event page.
1) Doctor Who Christmas Special 2015
Say farewell to 2015 with a special holiday themed adventure with everyone's favorite time-travelling alien. The Doctor is hiding from the nonsense of Christmas when a crashed spaceship calls on him for help, and all hell breaks loose. Oh, and River Song is back, which should have longtime fans quite excited! The Doctor, Christmas fun, and River Song, all on the big screen? How could you resist?
See the Doctor's Christmas adventure at 7:30 p.m. Monday, December 28 and Tuesday, December 29, at a number of theaters around the Denver Metro area, including the BelMar 16. Tickets are $15. For tickets and more info, visit the Doctor Who Christmas Special 2015 event page.