David Brownman

  • My Favorite Media (2018 Edition)

    Everything in this article is certified spoiler-free. Read on with reckless abandon!

    Hello my friends! Here we are again for my third annual celebration of my favorite media.

    Like most years, 2018 was a year of change. I moved twice (once across the country) with my wonderful partner. Living together has brought changes to the way I consume media: there’s a lot less binging old TV shows on my own, and a lot more videogames played on the TV, so my girlfriend can make helpful comments.

    Current events have also left their mark. We started The Americans once we were settled in DC, and gearing up to watch a tense show about Russian agents infiltrating American government strikes a little close to home these days.1 This is also my first “favorites” post without a board game section, since they are a hard habit to keep up while moving a lot and working remotely.

    What hasn't changed is how much awesome media there is out there. It's my pleasure to produce a list of what made the biggest impact on me this calendar year.

    If it's your first time, here's the lowdown. This is a list of the best media I experienced for the first time this year. It might not have been released this year, but it's new to me. It also might not be the objectively best, but it's what I enjoyed the most. You might have a different opinion, and that's great; you can get your own list. Each section will begin with a link to the Airtable that I used to track my consumption of that media type. Each table has slightly different columns, but they all use a unified rating system out of 4 stars for consistency's sake. Check those out if you want to see blurb reviews and everything that didn't make the cut.

    I'm known for many things but brevity in writing is not one of them. If you're just curious about my picks, I won't hold it against you. You can jump to the results.

    For those of you who are still reading, let's get down to it!

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  • Thunderbolts and Lightning

    When moving into my new apartment, the outlets and the cable were arranged in such a way that it wasn’t convenient to plug the modem into a power strip. "So what," I thought. "If lightning does strike, worst case I lose my modem and I’ve got an excuse for an upgrade! Plus, how often are there thunderstorms anyway?" I mused, foolishly forgetting that I had lived in weather-less California for years. I didn’t have a great handle on the dangers of lightning, but I was about to.

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  • The Party of Lincoln

    When I was in middle school, I was struck by the story of Jackie Robinson. He was the first black major league baseball player when he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 (a very controversial move at the time). Years later, they moved to Los Angeles. They left seasons behind and came to year-round sun. They could no longer take the train to games; LA is a city of cars. Though the teams share a name, the Dodgers of today share little else with the team that broke the major league color barrier in 1947.

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  • On the Rating of Media

    Once I started tracking media in earnest, I found myself in need of a consistent way to rate what I had watched and played. There's a lot of different ways to rate something, such a 10 star scale, a score out out of five, or a simple thumbs up/down.

    My biggest gripe is that none of the scores really mean anything; they're good for comparing everything someone has scored, but they each have their problems. A 10 star scale is too wide; what sets a 6 star movie apart from a 7 star? The yes/no is informative but has the opposite problem: it doesn't allow for any striation between good and great. A score out of 5 is closer, but it begets my worst enemy: apathy. I'm ultimately making these lists to help steer the reader towards the good stuff. If I'm neutral on something, it doesn't provide a definitive signal. Ultimately, none of these scales provided what I needed.

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  • David's Definitive Marvel Movies Ranking

    We're fast reaching the climax of the most ambitious film projects ever conceived: 18 movies over the course of 10 years, ranging from "really good" to "I wish they hadn't made this, but here we are". To properly prepare myself for Infinity War, I went back and watched the entire canon of MCU movies. It was the perfect opportunity to compile my personal power ranking for all 18 films, which I'm pleased to present to you now.

    While building this list, I watched each movie in order. Movies were judged loosely on categories such as humor, action, cohesiveness, and writing. Then I decided where it fit in based on those I had watched already.1 All movies I watch fall into one of four categories: Awful, Bad, Good, and Great, which is also how I bracketed these. You probably won't agree with everything, but this is my list. If you need a refresher of what all the movies are, check out Wikipedia.

    Without further ado, from worst to best, here's every Marvel Cinematic Universe film (so far).

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