Hi, my name is Jesseđź‘‹

I love music, movies, television, podcasts, falling down YouTube rabbit holes, and stand-up comedy. I also love making top five 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 5 Podcasts

1. 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.

2. 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. A must-listen if you're aspiring to be a screenwriter.

3. 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.

4. Ongoing History of New Music - This is an amazing podcast if you like going on deep dives about music from the 80's and 90's. Every single episode is interesting and will open your eyes to something you didn't know previously. Their research is second only to Nardwuar.

5. FRIGHTDAY - This is a relatively new addition to my list of favorites. It's a horror podcast with an accompanying blog that my friend Felicia writes for. In the past two years, I've gotten way more into horror. This is a great podcast for keeping track of new stuff coming out, but it also revisits the classics as well, with some tongue-in-cheek conspiracy and cryptid asides thrown in for fun.


Top 5 Rock Albums

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Mutemath - Mutemath (2006) - Mutemath is just 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.

5. 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 I Know The End will be in that position this year.


Top 5 Rap Albums

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.


Top 5 Films

1. 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 story telling 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.

2. Inception (2010) - I have seen this movie so many times and yet, every time I watch it, I catch something new. The most impressive part is that even after re-watching it, it never gets old to me. Superb storytelling from Christopher Nolan.

3. 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.

4. 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. This film is probably tied with Interstellar (2014) at this point. It's kind of cheating to add both to this position so that I don't have to bump Real Genius off of the list, but you'll live!

5. Real Genius (1985) - This is one of my favorite comedies of all time, and I relate to so many of the characters on a deep level. This was one of the first times in my life I can remember feeling "seen". I wore out the VHS I used to watch it on, and I still watch it at least once a year to this day.


Top 5 Television Series

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.


Top 5 Television Comedies

1. 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.

2. The Office (2005) - I wasn't sure about this show at first because I knew it was a remake of a British show, which is usually a disaster. However, this is one of the funniest shows of all time. Every episode has a memorable line in it. It's incredible for writing to be that consistent.

3. Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000) - I love Larry David. He's the asshole I wish I could be. This show is just dumb fun.

4. The I.T. Crowd (2006) - British Humor at it's 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.

5. 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.