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Verge Favorites: Bryan Bishop

Verge Favorites: Bryan Bishop


The Verge editors pick their current favorites in music, movies, books and more.

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The Verge staffers aren't just people who love technology. They're people who love stuff. We spend as much time talking and thinking about our favorite books, music, and movies as we do debating the best smartphone to buy or what point-and-shoot has the tightest macro. We thought it would make sense to share our latest obsessions with Verge readers, and we hope you're encouraged to share your favorites with us. Thus a long, healthy debate will ensue where we all end up with new things to read, listen to, or try on.



In my past life I worked in the entertainment industry, and talking about films and filmmaking remains one of my most favorite things to do. This podcast by screenwriters John August (Big Fish) and Craig Mazin (The Hangover Part II) is my weekly fix. While it’s ostensibly aimed at film and TV writers, Scriptnotes is a great listen for anyone that’s interested in how movies are written and made. August is also one of the individuals behind Quote-Unquote Apps and Highland — a Markdown variant for screenplays — so the show often provides a healthy dose of tech perspective as well.

The Wishbringer stone


If you’re of a certain age, the name Infocom needs no introduction. Along with a 5.25-inch floppy disk, the company's masterful text-adventure games would include props, leaflets, and other detritus inside their packaging — and this tiny plastic rock is a replica of the titular stone from Wishbringer. At one point the rock glowed an eerie purple in the dark, and while that ability vanished long ago the stone itself has made it with me across four cities, 10 apartments, and over 20 years. How did it make the journey? Was it magic? Only the Wishbringer knows for sure.

The Builders and the Butchers — Salvation is a Deep Dark Well


I was first introduced to this Portland-based folk-rock band a couple of years ago, and Salvation hasn’t left my regular rotation since. I love their sound: Tom Waits by way of William Elliot Whitmore, with a singer that sounds like David Lowery stole Gordon Gano’s vocal cords. Melancholy, triumphant — and damn good to stamp your feet to.

Punch-Drunk Love


Paul Thomas Anderson is one of my favorite directors, and while I still find Magnolia his most impressive achievement, this is the film that’s closest to my heart. It’s uncomfortable and honest in ways we rarely see in movies, and Adam Sandler is hilarious enough to forgive a hundred That’s My Boys. (It also stars Emily Watson, which is all the reason you really need to run out and see it.) Pair it with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and get ready to fall in love with love.

Breaking Bad


Friends have been singing the praises of this show and its pitch-black sense of humor for years. A month ago I finally dove in, and to all those that recommended it: you were right. Bryan Cranston’s constantly-evolving performance and the show’s narrative zigs and zags turn what could have been a one-off gimmick into an exploration of the darkness inside one (seemingly) mild-mannered suburban dad. After tearing through more than four seasons, I now find myself caught up... just as this year's episodes have come to an end. Is it 2013 yet?

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