I love music, movies, television, podcasts, falling down YouTube rabbit holes, and stand-up comedy. I also love making top ten lists, so here we go! Please note that my opinions on media change with the wind, so I will probably update this list often.
Top 10 Podcasts
- Dynamic Banter - I love this podcast. Mike Falzone and Steve Zaragoza have perfect chemistry, and together they make up both halves of my own personality. It may not be for everyone, but this show consistently makes me cry laugh. Mike also hosts another podcast with his wife Zoja that I love just about as much called Welcome To Our Podcast.
- Scriptnotes - John August and Craig Maizen host a screenwriting podcast that is very interesting if you're into storytelling in general. Their content is consistently very high quality.
- The Bill Simmons Podcast - If you love sports, specifically professional basketball and football, this podcast covers pretty much everything you need to know as well as hitting on some pop culture here and there, too.
- The Watch - This is a really fun podcast about movies and television hosted by Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan. They have magnetic chemistry and talk in depth about pop culture. I agree with their takes most of the time, and I tend to like the shows that they like.
- No Dunks - This is a great podcast if you're a fan of the NBA, and I definitely am. It's my favorite sport and these guys cover basically everything you'd want to know about the goings-on in the league.
- The Town with Matthew Belloni - This one is my go-to for Hollywood industry news. Nice and succinct, and usually interesting.
- Radiolab - Stories about science stuff. This is one of the older podcast subscriptions in my app. Quality, in my opinion, has fallen a little over the last couple of years but there are bangers in their archives.
- Broken Record - This feed is loaded with very interesting long form one-on-one interviews with legends of music and up-and-comers.
- Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People - I love the format of this show so much. Anonymous people call in and Chris Gethard pulls the most interesting information out of them without judgement. I've never heard a bad episode.
- Darknet Diaries - This is a really interesting podcast about hackers and hacking. You don't have to be a nerd to enjoy yourself, though. The stories are highly accessible to a general audience.
Top 10 Rock Albums
- Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine (1989) - Trent Reznor is my favorite musician of all time and it isn't close. This album introduced me to electronic music, and changed my life in so many ways that I could never consider to be anything less than my #1 album of all time. Trent recorded this, his debut album, on his own at night while working as a janitor at Right Track Studios in Cleveland, Ohio.
- Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral (1994) -I promise I won't put anymore NIN albums on my list, although Year Zero is looming. The Downward Spiral is a masterpiece. No skips and the production quality is insane. The only reason it isn't my #1 is because Pretty Hate Machine is more of a nostalgia bomb for me.
- Weezer - The Blue Album (1994) - Every single track is a hit. My friends and I obsessed over this album for well over a year, and I still listen to it regularly.
- Depeche Mode - Violator (1990) - I love every track on this masterpiece. Depeche Mode was formative for my taste in music, and I still revisit this particular album several times per year. Sometimes several times per month. This album was very formative for me.
- Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon (1973) - Yeah. It's on a lot of all-time lists, regardless of genre, for a reason. The creativity and musicianship will probably never be replicated.
- Portishead - Dummy (1994) - Fine, it's not a rock album, but I don't care -- close enough! This album, single-handedly, got me into trip hop and lofi hip-hop. An obession that continues on today.
- Incubus - Morning View (2001) - This album is a banger, through and through. There isn't a bad song on it and whenever I play 1 song, I usually just play the rest, too. I'm doing it right now.
- Tool - 10,000 Days (2006) - This album is a sonic masterpiece. Wings for Marie (Part 1) and 10,000 Days (Wings Pt. 2) are very personal and the lyrics hit me like a ton of bricks.
- Mutemath - Mutemath (2006) - Mutemath is just one of those once in a lifetime bands that hit me just right at just the right time. The first time I heard Reset was also the 500th time I heard Reset. I left it on repeat for at least a month. And while Reset is my favorite song on the album, the whole thing is full of post-rock bangers.
- Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher (2020) - This album came out of nowhere and knocked me on my ass. Phoebe Bridgers writes intensely beautiful lyrics and the production by Tony Berg and Ethan Gruska is immaculate. Last year, Kyoto was my most listened to song on Spotify and I won't be surprised if I Know The End will be in that position this year.
Top 10 Rap Albums
- Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly (2015) - Kendrick Lamar is the greatest rap lyricist of our time and I don't think it's close. This is my second favorite album, of any genre, of all time. I listen to it constantly. The production is ridiculous and his pen is unmatched.
- Kendrick Lamar - good kid,m.A.A.d city (2012) - It's just a step under To Pimp A Butterfly. This was his first breakout album of hits after Section 80 got a lot of people talking. This album is full of bangers and I don't even skip the interludes.
- MF DOOM - Madvillainy (2004) - I caught up with MF DOOM's career very late. But once I listened to a little of his work, I went through his entire catalogue, multiple times. He wrote like nobody else before him. Your favorite rapper's favorite rapper. I had never heard of MF DOOM until I saw this video of Mos Def talking about him.
- The Notorious B.I.G. - Ready to Die (1994) - Biggie's flow is immaculate his writing is one of a kind. This album is a masterpiece of tongue-in-cheek slick talk and violence that's so over-the-top that it becomes funny. The audio equivalent to Natural Born Killers or American Psycho.
- Wu-Tang Clan - Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993) - The greatest beats of all time. Lofi masterpiece. Incredibly unique crew of absolute geniuses at their craft. Their dynamic can never, ever be replicated, although Flatbush Zombies (bonus) is trying their best.
- Nas - Illmatic (1994) - The perfect rap album, by a kid from New York, and it's his first LP. Very impressive, but there's not much he could have done to mess it up with the number of legendary producers he had at his disposal. Nas, with this album, changed the landscape of hip hop forever.
- Mobb Deep - The Infamous (1995) - Iconic beat after iconic beat on this one. Prodigy was very young when he wrote the lyrics for this album and they're transcendent. It's a classic.
- Dr. Dre - The Chronic (1992) - This album was my re-introduction to rap after a break from pop rap like Vanilla Ice ruined the genre for me. This album was a tornado rampaging through my musical tastes. It changed everything with its mix of brutality and comedy.
- The Roots - Illadelph Halflife (1996) - The Roots are criminally underrated. The beats on this album are insane. Quintessential boom bap hip hop.
- Run the Jewels - RTJ4 (2020) - This album was released right after a powder keg of racial tension had exploded in America. Every song hits like a sledgehammer. It's my favorite protest album of all time.
Top 10 Films
- Interstellar (2014) - This film feels like it was crafted just for me. I'm a space nerd, Hanz Zimmer is my favorite film composer, Christopher Nolan is my favorite screenwriter and director, and I love a dystopian sci-fi adventure. I watch this movie several times per year and it never gets old. The science is as accurate as a film gets. The score is top tier. It's just awesome.
- Back to the Future (1985) - I've seen this movie more than any other movie, probably. It's boring to put on a top 10 list because it's probably on everybody's top 10 list, but I love it too much to leave it off.
- Inception (2010) - I have seen this movie so many times and yet, every time I watch it, I catch something new. It's a super fun adventure that is ridiculously out there, but not once is my suspension of disbelief challenged. Superb storytelling from Christopher Nolan.
- Twister (1996) - This movie turned me into a weather nerd. No really. I know how to read weather radar data and I watch storm chaser streams on a regular basis. I don't know what it is about tornados, but they just capture my imagination. Twister isn't realistic at all but it's fun as hell and that's all the matters.
- The Matrix (1999) - This film truly impacted my life. I've never had my ideas of reality questioned like this before. I went in blind, knowing nothing about it, and came out changed. Also the music is incredible.
- Contact (1997) - This movie absolutely floored me the first time I saw it, and I still watch it a few times a year. Carl Sagan is a personal hero of mine, which helps. It challenges religion without insulting it, and I think the world can always use that kind of thing.
- Sneakers (1992) - The most realistic movie about hacking ever made. The characters are all very funny and very charming. The math is very suspect. It mentions my hometown, which nothing ever does. What's not to love?!
- Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022) - This film is an absolute masterpiece. In a world that feels dominated by algorithms and low-effort money grabs, this film feels like a massive stop sign planted miles deep in front of the film industry -- a clear paradigm shift in what is possible when you care about art. It exudes effort. It is meticulous in its storytelling and cinematography. It plucks the best parts of action, comedy, sci-fi, and drama, then it presents them to you in a stunning bouquet. This movie loves you and it wants you to love it back.
- Real Genius (1985) - This movie is from the 80's but I didn't see it for the first time until the 90's and I watched it over, and over again. I still watch it regularly. The razor sharp sarcasm, the soundtrack, and the nerdy shit makes for a lovely combination.
- Ghostbusters (1984) - Incredible concept. Incredible cast. Entry-level horror that really didn't cause me any problems as a child, except for that old library ghost at the beginning. She gave me nightmares.
Top 10 Television Shows
- I Think You Should Leave (2019) - Tim Robinson cracks me up and this show doesn't miss unless he's not on screen. I can watch and rewatch these sketches and they never get old. It's the perfect sketch comedy show.
- The Wire (2002) - The first series I ever binged through. I loved every second of it. There are so many interesting and memorable characters in this show that my memory can't list them all.
- Seinfeld (1989) - I was young when Seinfeld came out, but I absolutely connected with the satire. I watched every single episode live, every single week. I've probably re-watched this series more than any other television show. It's my comfort show.
- The Bear (2022) - This may be recency bias, but I think when all is said and done, this is going to be my favorite television show of all time. It's high level story telling, acting, cinematography, and the soundtrack is immaculate. As I'm writing this, I just finished season 2. We'll see what happens after season 3.
- The West Wing (1999) - I love Aaron Sorkin's verbose and spastic writing style and it's on full display in this show. It would be higher on my list, but everything beyond season 4 is really hard to watch. But the first 4 seasons are some of the best I've seen.
- The I.T. Crowd (2006) - British Humor at its best. I almost think it's to the show's detriment that it's set in an IT department, because that probably turned a lot of would-be viewers away from just incredibly entertaining television. The cast has a chemistry that can't be replicated.
- Barry (2018) - Bill Hader is a genius and an idol of mine. This show is amazing. He nails the dark comedy tone without going too over the top and he does it better than I've ever seen it done. All four seasons are strong and the finale hits hard.
- Breaking Bad (2008) - What can I say? Walter White is the perfect character, played by the perfect actor for the role. Generational show, but I find it very hard to re-watch, which is why it's only #3 on my list.
- Stranger Things (2016) - This show caught me by surprise. I had heard nothing about it, and just happened to be thumbing through Netflix one night around midnight, and saw the show's banner pop up on my screen. I watched the whole first season in one sitting, staying up til after 8AM. That first season was absolutely mind-blowing.
- That 70's Show (1998) - Yeah, I know, but I can't help it. I can watch any episode of this show in any order and feel at peace. For some reason, it's a very comforting show to me, and I can watch it anytime. Sometimes I go to sleep to it.