Chris Ranks Movies, TV, Video Games, Music, Anime, and More - Many Worlds Tavern

Chris Ranks Movies, TV, Video Games, Music, Anime, and More

This article is a big collection of rankings of nerdy things I'm into, including coffee, video games, TV, movies, music and more.  Essentially, it's stuff that I can talk about forever and love to argue about.  I think it's fun to to learn what kinds of things content creators enjoy.  That way, when they recommend something, you know a bit of their taste as context.

Pour Over Coffee Setup

Origami Dripper
Kalita Wave Kettle
Baratza Encore
Hario V60 Scale

Ever since I first used the Origami, I've really enjoyed the way it makes coffee.  The large opening helps a lot with consistency (as opposed to the Kalita's small holes that often get clogged).  I don't like the stand that it comes with, so I usually just put it on top of a Chemex.  The Kalita Kettle is awesome, though it doesn't have built-in heating.

Coffee Equipment Wishlist

Flair Pro 2
Matte Black Metal V60
Upgrading my coffee corner shelving

The Flair Pro is such a cool piece of home equipment.  I'd love to play with one.  I would also love an all matte-black setup, so that beautiful V60 would look great in the collection.

Top Ten Board Games

The Downfall of Pompeii
Hey, That’s My Fish!
Shards of Infinity
Chaos in the Old World
Terraforming Mars
Rising Sun

I have my top 50 games in a series of blog posts here:

Aeon's End might be cracking my top ten soon.  I really love the way it plays, and I think if I dip into some expansions or the legacy version I'll really love them.

Board Games That More People Should Play

Fog of Love

Fog of Love is a magical game.  I don't think there's a single board game like it.  It can be found pretty cheap on sale and I see it pop up on used marketplaces often, so I think it's a game everyone should try once.

Cartagena is a game I picked out of a stack of used games for sale at my local game cafe, and it's fantastic.  Simple rules, lots of thinking, quick pace... go find a copy!

Most Wanted Board Games

Endless Winter
Bucket of Bolts
Far Away
Alice is Missing
I would love to DIY + 3D Print a huge “Hey, That’s My Fish!” board.

As a lover of Blood Rage, Rising Sun, and all things Eric Lang (except for Secrets), Ankh is #1 on my list of wanted games.

I have a copy of Bucket of Bolts on the way.  I've never tried a solo RPG, and I can't think of a more interesting premise than making my own sci-fi clunker of a spaceship a la Millenium Falcon or Serenity.

Top Ten Video Games

Tony Hawk’s Underground
Star Fox 64
Monster Train
NBA Street Vol. 2
Mario Kart 8
Halo 3
Ace Combat 5
Mass Effect 2

I think it's interesting that almost all of my top ten games are from a certain time of my life - kind of when couch co-op and split screen games were at their peak before online services became commonplace.  Many of these games bring me back to sibling rivalries (Tony Hawk, NBA Street Vol. 2) or late night dorm sessions (Mario Kart 8, Halo 3).

Ace Combat 5 is the only game that's brought me to tears, and Mass Effect 2 might be my favorite piece of media in any genre (previously held by Game of Thrones, until, well, you know).

Video Games That More People Should Play

Into the Breach
Don’t Starve

Spiritfarer is surprisingly heart wrenching.  Into the Breach is a fantastic video game for board gamers (which I wrote about here.)  Don't Starve is really tough to get into, but the feeling of accomplishment when you start to get the hang of it is really special.

Top Ten Movies

Chicken Run
Ex Machina
Top Gun
Get Out
Before Sunset
Apocalypse Now
The Matrix
Good Will Hunting
Ip Man

I go in and out of martial arts movie phases.  When Ip Man released in 2008, my brother sold me on watching it when he said the action was better than Ong-Bak, which felt untouchable.  Ong-Bak released in 2003, and it was before Muay Thai had really been popular in the mainstream in the U.S.

The first time you see Donnie Yen take on the ten Japanese Black Belts you'll see why Ip Man is great.

Top Gun is so silly and eye-rolly, but I have a fantastic time every time I watch it.  Heavyweights is hilarious and wholesome.  I feel like people hate on Good Will Hunting, but call me cheesy–I really like it and I think the acting is fantastic.

Movies More People Should Watch

The Mighty Ducks Trilogy

The fact that Gordon Bombay is still jaded about kids hockey in 2021 is hilarious.  Go watch the Mighty Ducks movies.

Annihilation feels like an underwatched movie, and I think that's understandable.  It's not really... fun?  And the conflicts are more metaphorical than literal, so there's a weird absurdist quality to it.  If you like sci-fi, go give it a shot.

Parasite is #11 on my list so I wanted to make an honorable mention here.  It's class consciousness that is a lot more powerful than the Hunger Games and Snowpiercer types of films.

Top Ten Anime

Death Note
Your Name
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Dragon Ball
Mobile Fighter G Gundam
Naruto Shippuden
Hunter x Hunter
Hajime No Ippo

Though I think Evangelion has some really immature themes (they did Misato dirty!), I can't deny its impact on me.  I think a huge part of my enjoyment of it is in growing up and seeing its failings and sometimes cringey, heavy-handed philosophies and really reflecting on how I feel about them; kind of like when some people "grow out of" Fight Club or V for Vendetta and manifest their own thoughts about some of those ideas.  The meta reaction about the show (especially with themes like consumerism and the male gaze) are ironically more important to me than the show itself as time goes on.

G Gundam, on the absolutely other side of the spectrum, is a ridiculous anime about punching each other, expression through fighting, and the power of love.  It also utilizes eye-opening nationality stereotypes that are possibly harmless and artifacts of that time.  As long as you go in with that expectation and are okay with some self-deprication, I think it's pretty fun.

Hajime no Ippo remains my favorite anime.  Its best trait is its characterization of the villains in the show (something I enjoy in Hunter x Hunter as well).  It's also unexpectedly funny.

Anime More People Should Watch

Hajime No Ippo

Chihayafuru makes you care about a game about poetry you've never heard of.

Top Ten Shows

Black Mirror
South Park
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The Mandalorian
Game of Thrones (what a shame, with that ending!)

Invincible is brand new and I wonder if it's just a current darling.  However, that first season was incredible.

Euphoria episode 4 (the one at the carnival) is the best looking episode of TV I've ever seen.  It's beautiful.  The whole show's color, camera movement, creative choices... if there's better cinematography in a TV show, you have to tell me about it.

Game of Thrones, WHY?  Still my fave.

Shows More People Should Watch

Smart Guy

Documental is on Amazon Prime.  It's a Japanese show where comedians are locked in a room together.  If you laugh, you get kicked out.  There's a cash prize for being the last one standing.  Raunchy, shocking, and a weirdly interesting commentary on comedy, Documental deserves more viewers.

Top Ten Pokemon


Bulbasaur is the best starter, I wanna ride a Dragonite around, and Magikarp evolving into Gyarados blew my mind as a kid.

Top Ten MCU Movies

Marvel’s The Avengers
Black Panther
Spider Man: Far From Home
Doctor Strange
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Iron Man
Captain America: Civil War
Avengers: Infinity War
Avengers: Endgame
Thor: Ragnarok

Have you seen Thor 1 recently?  If you watch it after Ragnarok, Thor seems like a totally different character.

Top Ten Albums (One Per Artist)

Riot! – Paramore
Continuum – John Mayer
So Far Gone – Drake
Everything in Transit – Jack’s Mannequin
8 – Statik Selektah
Human – dodie
Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit – Courney Barnett
Chilombo – Jhene Aiko
Late Registration – Kanye West
To Pimp a Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar

My music tastes are a weird mish-mash of hip hop, 2000s pop and indie rock/punk, and R&B.  I've recently gotten into buying records, and I hope that helps me expand my horizons.

Kanye West is unfortunately my favorite artist of all time, and though it's cliché to miss the "old Kanye", I can't follow him down his current principles and works.  My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is the last album that I couldn't stop playing from him.

TPAB and Good Kid M.A.A.D. City are such fantastic pieces of art and I think Kendrick will be considered the best of our generation.

Honorable Mention Albums

2014 Forest Hills Drive – J. Cole
Anime, Trauma, and Divorce – Open Mike Eagle
As I Am – Alicia Keys
Be – Common
Below the Heavens – Blu, Exile
Blood – Lianne La Havas
Blue Slide Park – Mac Miller
Bonito Generation – Kero Kero Bonito
Box Car Racer – Box Car Racer
Christina Aguilera – Christina Aguilera
D.A.I.S.Y. Rage – Kitty
Embrace the Curse – I Hate Kate
Enema of the State – blink-182
Fragmented – Up Dharma Down
Flyleaf – Flyleaf
Giant Steps – John Coltrane
Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City – Kendrick Lamar
Graduation – Kanye West
Head In The Clouds – 88rising
Hot Pink – Doja Cat
James Blake – James Blake
Kala – M.I.A.
Lisztomania – Phoenix
Madvillainy – Madvillian
Matira Matibay – Parokya Ni Edgar
Mind Hive – Wire
Moving Pictures – YYZ
My Cherie Amour – Stevie Wonder
On Time – Dave Brubeck
Piñata – Freddie Gibbs & Madlib
Pinkprint – Nicki Minaj
Plans – Death Cab for Cutie
RED – Taylor Swift
Relatives in Descent – Protomartyr
RTJ – Run The Jewels
Sail Out – Jhene Aiko
So Wrong, It’s Right – All Time Low
Somewhere in the Between – Streelight Manifesto
Straight Outta Compton – N.W.A.
Summertime '06  Vince Staples
Supa Dupa Fly – Missy Elliot
Take Care – Drake
The Art of Tea – Michael Franks
The Black Parade – MCR
The Blueprint – Jay-Z
The Places You Have Come To Fear the Most – Dashboard Confessional
Tower of Power – Tower of Power
Unlocked – Denzel Curry, Kenny Beats
You’re Awful, I Love You – Ludo

J. Cole raps about some silly stuff sometimes, and I think I don't gel with some of his ideas.  Still, I'm excited to hear his next projects.

If you haven't seen the video for Unlocked (yes, it's a video for the whole album), drop what you're doing and go watch that on YouTube.

Top Ten Podcasts

Evan & Katelyn Podcast
So Very Wrong About Games
Hooked On Pop
It Could Happen Here
Dirty Rotten Church Kids
Board Game Barrage
Panning the Stream
Nerd Soup
The Giant Bombcast (RIP Beastcast!)

Evan & Katelyn are a couple of makers with a great YouTube channel and podcast.  Until I have a house w/ woodworking tools, I'll live vicariously through them.

Board Game Barrage is my favorite board game podcast, and I feel like it's just a simple conversation between friends.  How they make it so compelling, I don't really understand.

I've been listening to the Giant Bombcast for more than ten years.  As I write this, some of the longtime members (Vinny Caravella, Brad Shoemaker, and Alex Navarro) are moving onto new projects.  It'll feel weird with them gone, but I'm excited for what's next.

Top Twenty Houston Restaurants

Star Snow Ice & Terriyaki
Thai Gourmet
Pho Dien 1960
Tamashii Ramen
Corkscrew BBQ
Edison & Patton
Golden Dumpling House
Revival Market
Mein Restaurant
Bamboo House
Nancy's Hustle
Ninfa’s on Navigation
UB Preserv
Fung’s Kitchen
Street Food Thai Market
House of Bowls
Tita’s Taco House

I love food.  Houston has some of the best food in the world.  You've got to try:

  • The chicken and corn dumplings at Golden Dumpling House
  • The octopus taco at Ninfa's
  • The Nancy's Cakes at Nancy's Hustle
  • The calamari at UB Preserv
  • The eggplant w/ meat sauce at House of Bowls
  • The green mole tacos at Tita's Taco House
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