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Favorite media roundup

Readers, this will be my last entertainment related article. All good things must come to an end, this statement also applies to mediocre things, such as my time as entertainment editor for The DrumBeat. I wanted this last entertainment article to be intimate, so I thought it natural to rank my five favorite albums, movies, video games, shows, and animes and talk about my favorite for each one.

Albums: “Punisher” by Phoebe Bridgers, “Puberty 2” by Mitski, “Here, My Dear” by Marvin Gaye, “Is This It” by The Strokes and “Disintegration” by The Cure.

Here I am with a Phoebe Bridgers vinyl I got from a Phoebe Bridgers concert, very telling.

I have listened to “Punisher” by Phoebe Bridgers a total of 12 and a half days according to last.fm, an app that tracks listening patterns. I can’t say much of any piece of media has meant more to me than this album does. Every song on “Punisher” holds such a meaningful place in my heart because it is all too relatable due to the lyrical content. I am not afraid to admit I have had many good cries to this record especially to “Graceland Too,” which is my favorite song ever. This album defined my adolescent years and has shaped me as a person for the better. This album conveys feelings of anxiety, sadness, isolation, heartbreak, distress, and a general lack of direction well enough to help me continue to rediscover myself as I grow older. The slow and melodic indie folk songs this record has to offer put you in a state of security like a friend extending an arm after you have fallen or a dog laying its head on you as you try to rest after a long day. I can’t imagine where I’d be in life if I never heard the full 40 minutes and 42 seconds “Punisher” has to offer. This selection was a no-brainer and the easiest pick of the bunch, but do not underestimate how much everything else on this list means to me.

Movies: “Spider-Man 2,” “(500) Days of Summer,” “Django Unchained,” “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and “The Batman.”

These pictures are 15 years apart, yet they convey my love for the wall crawler all the same.

I have always said 2004’s “Spider-Man 2” is a great movie that happens to be centered around Spider-Man. I have been in love with this film since I was a child, but as I have matured and grown, the reasons I love “Spider-Man 2” have matured as well. As a child, this movie taught me the importance of helping others. Seeing a nerdy and shy guy put on a costume and go around helping anyone in need of it spoke to me as a nerdy and shy guy who needed inspiration. Spider-Man became my role model from the moment I saw this movie. I wanted to get his powers and go out there and do what he did, even with my phobia of spiders, but now his powers are more of a bonus to the film. As an adult, I value the lessons of sacrifice and selflessness and the balance between doing what you want and having the responsibility to do what others need embodied by Peter Parker instead of Spider-Man. Peter is just a man trying to do the right thing, yet nothing goes his way even if he gives everything, but he finds it in himself to power on because there are people who believe in him, and I believe everyone can find a part of themselves in that sentiment.

Video Games: “Marvel’s Spider-Man,” ”Batman: Arkham City,” “The Last of Us,” “Dragon Ball Budokai Tenkaichi 3” and “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.”

As an only child, I had to find ways to entertain myself with no one around. My GameBoy was one way to do so.

There is a common theme in my life, and it is clearly a love for Spider-Man and Peter Parker. There is nothing I have fantasized more about than swinging around the concrete jungle and this game fulfills every fantasy I’ve ever had about it. The fluidity of movement, the graceful agility, the speedy reactions, everything is there. The game makes me feel like Spider-Man, and every experience of the character is executed with great detail. I can jump off the tallest building in New York and live to tell the tale. I can save people stuck inside of a burning building and gracefully swing back out. I can even take selfies as I web up Spider-Man’s greatest foes. There’s so much personality in this game that bleeds out of every corner, but once again this tale of Spider-Man is made all the better because of the human problems Peter Parker faces. A story about Spider-Man is never complete without themes of perseverance and this game is all about never giving up. Peter faces evictions, lost friends, failed romances, dead relatives, unemployment and utter exhaustion in the span of this game, but he always finds a way to get back up. Peter loses in this game, and he loses constantly, but it’s not about always winning, it’s about looking at the face of defeat and figuring out how he can get back up and pick up the pieces of himself, because what he does matters and nothing will stop him from helping.

Shows: “The Last of Us,” “Spectacular Spider-Man,” “The Boys,” “Batman: The Animated Series” and “Narcos.”

Active readers might remember this page centered around “The Last of Us.” I believe it is my best page as a part of The DrumBeat.

“The Last of Us” is a faithful retelling of Joel and Ellie’s story from the original game with the added layers of fully fleshed outside characters. I expected this show to be good because the game of the same name is a nearly flawless experience from beginning to end and it met every expectation. Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey have an incredible dynamic that sells the relationship of a surrogate daughter and a reluctant father. The themes of survival are so prevalent in this show, not just surviving through an undead apocalypse, but surviving the scars of your past and finding a way to move forward somehow. One of the best episodes of any show I have ever seen came during episode three of “The Last of Us” and it had little to do with the actual outbreak of cordyceps and just two men trying to live a fulfilling life together during it with the power of love, such a moving rebellion against a world that wants them dead. As soon as I played the original game, I fell in love and I cannot say it is any different here. Both are fantastic tellings of the same story and I recommend everyone experiences one or both of the works at some point in their lifetime, although if you could play the game first and then watch the show, it would make for the best experience in my opinion.

Animes: “Naruto,” “Your Lie in April,” “A Silent Voice,” “Cowboy Bebop” and “Mob Psycho 100.”

You know, I hadn’t had a Halloween costume for almost a decade until I dressed up like Itachi from “Naruto” in 2021.

Some may look at this pick and call me basic, but I do not care, “Naruto” and “Naruto Shippuden” were the first anime
I watched in their entirety, and I do not regret it in the slightest. I am not saying this is the best anime nor will I try
to prove its quality over the others on my list, but I can never really quite say another anime is my favorite. There’s a soft spot I hold for this anime for getting me into the genre in the first place, but it is not the only reason I love it, I always do love a main character with empathy and mercy, and Naruto’s one of the most kind-hearted protagonists you’ll find out there. Naruto is always looking to spare an enemy, conquer his flaws and put his life on the line for a village of people that hated him at one point. His struggle with isolation was also very meaningful to me as an only child with two working parents. He faced such loneliness that it’s impressive he turned out as genuine and forgiving as he did. For those reasons, Naruto continues to be my favorite anime.

Readers, you have officially gotten to know my interests to the point I could consider you acquaintances that border on lukewarm friends, but it comes at an unfortunate time as I will leave the halls of TJC in May. This article is not groundbreaking, this article is not an original idea, but it is fully my own. It is my personality sprawled across a blank canvas and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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