…the body of books, music, and art that scholars generally accept as the most important and influential…
Wikipedia — en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_canon
This is my personal canon. Things created by others that are important to me. Things that have shaped the way I look at the world. Things that I don’t just like, but that I love. Things that have fundamentally changed me or my personal philosophy.
- Videodrome (1983), directed by David Cronenberg
- Children of Men (2006), directed by Alfonso Cuarón
- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), directed by Stanley Kubrick
- To me, this is not only the greatest science fiction film ever made, but could also be a contender for greatest film ever made. In lieu of his unmade Napoleonic biopic, this is Stanley Kubrick’s opus. It is an ode to science, the human spirit, and the stark beauty therein.
- 8½ (1963), directed by Federico Fellini
- Die Hard (1988), directed by John McTiernan
- Die Hard is the quintessential American action movie. It has all of the essential action movie pieces: guns, explosions, muscle-bound men, Russians; and it all happens within a tightly enclosed space. It is essentially an American version of Bruce Lee’s Game of Death; John McClane must ascend the tower to defeat the baddest of the bad guys. Immensely entertaining.
- Babylon 5 (1994–1997)
- Freaks and Geeks (1999–2000)
- Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994)
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–1999)
- The Sandman (1989–present), graphic novel by Neil Gaiman
- Miracleman (1982–1990), graphic novel by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman
- House of Leaves (2000), novel by Mark Z. Danielewski
- The Shadow over Innsmouth (1936), novella by H. P. Lovecraft
- Sin City (1991–1992), graphic novel by Frank Miller
- Dune (1965), novel by Frank Herbert
- Dune is the essential science fiction epic that inspired countless other science fiction stories and worlds. What The Lord of the Rings is to fantasy, Dune is to science fiction.
- East of Eden (1952), novel by John Steinbeck
- Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), novel by George Orwell
- I’m sure I’m not the first to say it, but this really should be required reading in our schools. Not only is it an engaging story, but it also inspires a healthy distrust of government and technology — things one should never trust intrinsically.
- The Dark Knight Returns (1986), graphic novel by Frank Miller
- Miller’s dark re-imagining of one of comic’s most iconic characters is truly great. His writing is not or everyone — dark, direct, deceptive — but Batman is a perfect subject for his post-noir style. His artwork shines here, bringing the character to life in simple shades of black and gray.
- The Road (2006), novel by Cormac McCarthy
- McCarthy’s writing is sparse in style, but descriptive in ways I’ve seen no other author imitate. In The Road, his stark writing style perfectly compliments the world he creates — void of life but rich in detail. It is a very unique book in the post-apocalyptic genre; less about the apocalypse than it is about a father and son’s journey through it.
- A Book of Human Language (1998) by Aceyalone
- Body Riddle (2006) by Clark
- Syro (2014) by Aphex Twin
- The Chronic (1992) by Dr. Dre
- In Rainbows (2007) by Radiohead
- On the Beach (1974) by Neil Young
- Sonic Nurse (2004) by Sonic Youth
- Black Eyes by Black Eyes
- Black Eyes was a post-hardcore band that was active during the early 00s. Around the time I was in college and feeling rather aimless, this album inspired me to pack my bags and move to the “big city” of Minneapolis to pursue a career in audio production. I even got to meet Hugh McElroy, one of the members of the band, during a 2017 trip to Washington D.C. Don’t worry, the meeting wasn’t nearly as awkward as that photo.
- The Curse of Xanadu by Gary Wolf
- This is my favorite piece of internet writing, and was very inspiring to me when I first read it years ago. It’s the story of Ted Nelson and Project Xanadu. While it may cast them both in a less than positive light, rest assured that the Xanadu dream is still alive, and Ted Nelson continues to be thinking crazy / genius thoughts.
- Is Facebook Making Us Lonely? by Stephen Marche
- The short answer is: Yes, Facebook is making us lonely. But is it Facebook’s fault, or our own human nature? This article planted and nurtured the seed of doubt that eventually brought me to deactivate my Facebook account, and pull back on my other social activities.
- The Most Dangerous Gamer by Taylor Clark
- A profile of Jonathan Blow, one of the few people to be pushing the boundaries of video games into the realm of art. Blow has some choice words to say about the current state of the video game industry, and manages to come off as very inspiring.
- Super Mario 64 (1996) played on Nintendo 64
- This is still the greatest 3D platform game ever made
- Grim Fandango (1998) played on PC
- L.A. Noire (2011) played on PlayStation 3
- Mass Effect 2 (2010) played on PlayStation 3
- Dark Souls (2011) played on PlayStation 3
- Fish: A Tap Essay by Robin Sloan
- Probably the iPhone app that has inspired me the most (and the thing that inspired this “canon” in the first place), Fish is a short analyzation of the way we “like” things on the internet, and how it has changed our culture. The app is actually what gave me the idea of documenting my “canon” of things online that I love.
- Paperman (2012), animated short directed by John Kahrs and produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios