Tag Archives: breaking bad

Daily Discussion with BQB – Don’t Make a Breaking Bad Movie

I liked Breaking Bad but I don’t think they should continue it with a movie.

Oh, if you missed it, Bryan Cranston said in an interview that there would be a movie, or that he’d love to be in a movie or whatever.  Not sure exactly but it was hinted that there would be one.

I just think that series was wrapped up well and it is rare that happens, when all the threads pulled are tied up and viewers are left satisfied.  Let’s not spoil that.

Plus, what has it been, ten years since that show started?  Walter White would have to have the slowest moving cancer ever…on top of being shot in the finale.

Oh shut up you’ve had five years to see it.

Advertisements
Tagged , ,

TV Review – Better Call Saul (2015 – Present)

Drugs!  Crooked lawyers!  Cinnabon!

BQB here with a review of the Breaking Bad prequel, Better Call Saul.

Once upon a time, Bob Odenkirk brought the comic relief to Breaking Bad as notorious ambulance chaser, Saul Goodman.  On that series, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) informs meth cook partner Walter White (Bryan Cranston) that they need a “criminal” lawyer, emphasis on the criminal – not just a lawyer who specializes in criminal law but one who engages in criminal activities to get his clients off.

And the rest is history.

Better Call Saul is a prequel of the life perpetually down on his luck attorney, Jimmy McGill, led, long before he took the name Saul Goodman or became Walter White’s lawyer.

You’ve probably seen shows that paint the law as a fantastic profession to be in.  TV lawyers are often portrayed as wealthy, fast talking beautiful people who drive fancy cars, eat at the best restaurants and make out with other beautiful people.

This show gives us a look at the grimier side of the legal profession.  Jimmy McGill practices out of a literal closet in a nail salon, drives a car with mismatched doors and barely makes ends meet.

He has a love/hate relationship with his brother Chuck (Michael McKeen), one of New Mexico’s most respected lawyers.  Chuck is a rabid electro-phone, meaning that he is convinced that anything that uses electricity is sending electric waves into his body that could kill him.

Michael McKean displays some of the best acting of his career as he sits in a dark house, eats food out of a cooler full of ice instead of a fridge, forces visitors to leave their cell phones in his mail box, and covers his home and his body with tin foil space blankets.

Meanwhile, there’s an on-again/off-again romance between Jimmy and Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), an attorney that actually strives to do honest work.  Sometimes she serves as Jimmy’s conscience.  Other times, she gets dragged down into Jimmy’s world of crap.

Rounding out the cast is grizzly ex-cop Mike Ehrmantraut, the fan favorite of many a Breaking Bad viewer.  We find Mike in a lowly state at the beginning of the series, working as a parking lot booth operator who regularly feuds with Jimmy over his inability to remember to obtain the required parking validation stickers.

From there, the two start going down the rabbit hole of the Mexican drug cartel world, that same world that Walter White gives a big giant enema to in Breaking Bad.

To be clear, the show is nowhere near as good as Breaking Bad.  That’s not an insult to Better Call Saul but rather, a compliment to Breaking Bad, as that show captured lightning in a bottle and is a rare commodity.

However, just as its predecessor took an unlikely concept, i.e. a terminally ill chemistry teacher who stops giving a shit and rises through the drug underworld to become a kingpin, and spin it into gold, this show does the same with an unequally unlikely idea, namely, that the comic relief of the previous show should get a show that’s all about him.

The show has heart.  Jimmy has a dream to become a great, powerful lawyer, yet there are so many obstacles in the way.  Maybe you, the viewer, never tried to become a lawyer, but you probably had some dream.  Maybe you achieved it, maybe you didn’t but either way, most people can relate to obstacles getting in the way of their dreams.

The show features Vince Gilligan’s signature storytelling style.  It’s “show, don’t tell” to the max.  The viewer is presented with a lot of mysterious, ominous stuff.  None of it is clear at first but if you keep paying attention, the mental energy you expend will not be wasted.  Everything that happens in the show means something.  There’s very little filler or fluff that can be cast aside.

I admit when I heard this show was in the works, I had my doubts.  Breaking Bad could never be topped and perhaps if this show sucked, it would taint the legacy.  But somehow, the show, while not surpassing the first show, still holds its own and is a boon to fans who still want to see that Gilligan style on the screen again.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

TV Review – Breaking Bad (2008-2013)

I am the one who reviews!

High school chemistry teacher with cancer + his former student who calls everyone “bitch” = show that most critics would agree is the best television show of the twenty first century thus far.

BQB here with a review of Breaking Bad.

When this show came out in 2008, someone close to me had just died from cancer, so I wasn’t interested at all.  I saw the previews for it and was like, “eh” then I saw the previews for Showtime’s The Big C, a show that came out around the same time about a woman trying to keep her life together while fighting cancer and I was just like, “Look Hollywood, cancer is not funny or glamorous and it is the last thing I want to see on TV when I’m looking for an escape, thank you very much.”

So the years passed and then somewhere in the early 2010s I heard people talking about this show so I gave it a chance on Netflix and was immediately hooked.  And from what I’ve heard, the invention of streaming media breathed life into this and a lot of other shows.

Because when you think about it, a show about a high school chemistry teacher dying from cancer doesn’t exactly sound like good time appointment viewing, but once it was available in a format for people to check out when they had a free moment, boy howdy did they get hooked.

And truth be told, the show isn’t so much about cancer as it is a study of a) the sadness people feel when they reach the end of their lives feeling like they never reached their full potential and b) how much the legal system keeps us all behaving like good doobies without us ever realizing it.

Remove a) the fear of dying because you are already dying and b) the fear/humiliation of ending up in prison (because you’re dying) and the nicest person you know might end up walking down an evil path.

The set-up – Walter White (Bryan Cranston) was, in his youth, a promising chemistry scholar who starts a business with friends Elliot (Adam Godley) and Gretchen (Jessica Hecht).

Walter sells his share of the company early, the company becomes huge, like Facebook huge.  Meanwhile, Walter grows old and bitter, having spent his life in mediocrity as a high school teacher with a part time job at a car wash just to make ends meet.

Somehow he manages to snag a hot wife, Sklyer (Anna Gunn) while his son, Walt Jr. (RJ Mitte) oozes happiness and gets along as a typical teenager despite a handicap.

When Walt is diagnosed with terminal cancer, his despair over his untapped potential haunts him. He’ll die without using his genius brain to make it big.

Alas, his brother-in-law Hank (Dean Norris), a DEA agent, takes Walt on a ride along.  Walt catches a glimpse of just how much cash a good drug dealer rakes in and the little hamster starts rolling around the wheel in his brain.

What begins as an idea to use his chemistry know how to cook crystal meth in order to leave some extra cash behind for his family turns into a long journey into the proverbial heart of darkness, as Walt uses his smarts and fearlessness (because, hey, he’s dying anyway) to rise to the highest ranks of the criminal underworld.

He takes on Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), his former student turned junkie as his partner in crime and together, they become expert meth cooks.  As Jesse becomes like a second son to Walter, their relationship is sometimes tragic and sometimes even hilarious.

Add to the mix criminal lawyer (the show stresses you are to read this as a “lawyer who is a criminal”) Saul Goodman (veteran comedian Bob Odenkirk) who steals the show with his obnoxious TV lawyer ads.  Saul teaches the boys how to launder their money, dodge law enforcement, get out of trouble, etc. etc.

Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) is the old ex-cop/problem fixer that Walt works with. The combination of the grizzled old man who has seen and done it all and the chemistry teacher who sees things through gentrified eyes is comical.

Meanwhile, Giancarlo Esposito as crime boss Gus Fring is one of the scarier bad guys on television.

Throughout the series, Walt struggles to keep his public and private lives separate.  He continues to pose as a good dad and husband while sneaking off to cook meth and deal with criminals with Jesse.

All the while, lovable Hank, and I do mean lovable, is chasing some criminal without realizing the man he wants is his beloved brother-in-law that he spends the weekends with grilling burgers and shooting the breeze.

If anything, the Hank/Walt dynamic is what really makes the show. The show runners could have made Hank the stereotypical tough guy cop but instead they made Hank an average joe.  He loves his wife, Skyler’s sister Marie (Betsy Brandt), loves his in-laws Walt and Skyler, loves his nephew Walt Jr. and brews beer in his garage as a hobby.  He is, one might say, a true mensch.

The star of the series is Vince Gilligan, the show’s creator and man behind the scenes.  Every detail, every little thing that happens means something.  Take notes as you watch because if someone so much as sneezes it will turn out to be important later. Not letting a single second of time go wasted has become Gilligan’s signature.

So many shows take off and then descend into chaos.  The actors get too big for their britches and want to leave for bigger, better things.  Ironically, prior to this show, Bryan Cranston wasn’t that well known, his other biggest acting gig having been as the father on Malcolm in the Middle.

Like Walt, Bryan found fame and fortune late in life (albeit legally) but he never forgot the viewers and juggled all the big movie roles that came his way with Breaking Bad, keeping it all together to keep the show going.

And sometimes writers run out of gas, but Vince and company keep viewers on the edge of their seats to the very end.

In fact, if you’re a wannabe writer, I highly suggest checking out this show. (At present, all five seasons are available on Netflix.)

And catch the prequel, Better Call Saul on AMC. It doesn’t have a lot to do with Breaking Bad but you get to learn how Saul and Mike worked together before Walt came along.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Walt Whitman’s O Captain! My Captain!

Written to honor President Abe Lincoln after his assassination, Walt Whitman’s  O Captain!  My Captain! compares the end of the Civil War to the end of a long ship voyage, and Lincoln to a journey weary Captain. Makes sense, as Lincoln did guide the nation through some very choppy seas.

O Captain!  My Captain!

By: Walt Whitman

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

The poem is often used as a tribute to leaders in general, and was prominently featured in Dead Poets Society, starring Robin Williams.

Fun fact – a Walt Whitman poetry book carelessly left on a toilet tank would go on to play an important part in AMC’s Breaking Bad.

So, good for you, WW, you honored a great president, and you were featured on a cable drama.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Better Call Saul – Season 1, Episode 3 – Airdate 2/16/15 – Wrap-Up

Saul Callers!

Do you love this show or what?  It may not be Breaking Bad, but so far, it’s the next best thing.

At this point, I better call SPOILERS.

This episode focuses around the missing Kettleman family.  Saul wanted Mr. Kettleman as a client, believing him to be guilty of siphoning over a million dollars through his job for the county.

Long story short, Nacho wants the money and Saul’s in a pickle – does he warn the Kettleman family and risk Nacho’s wrath or does he keep quiet?

Do I go on or do I avoid spoilers?  I’ll avoid spoilers.

Best parts:

  • Saul’s hunt to find the Kettlemans
  • Character development for Mike (who kicks Saul’s ass)

What do you think so far?  Is it as good as Breaking Bad?  Is it at least some balm to heal our Breaking Bad wounds?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad

Yo Mr. White! This post has SPOILERS, bitch!!!

First thing to understand about showbiz people is that they are, in fact, businessmen (and women).

Imagine you open a yogurt store. For the first year or two, you suffer as you try to get it off the ground. Your yogurt stinks for awhile until you find the perfect recipe. Your workers stink until you find the right employees. Your location stinks until you find the right place. Eventually, you turn a profit and become successful. You want to reinvest your profits. What do you do? Do you start a banana stand? Open a pizza shop? A drycleaner store?

No, you go with what has worked for you – you open another yogurt stand.

And that’s why you see Fast and Furious 7, Transformers 4, Spiderman Reboot, Star Wars 7 and so on. Movies and TV shows cost money and the showbiz types want to put their money in tried and true products. That’s why somewhere in the world a fabulous heart wrenching movie script is lying in a drawer somewhere, never to be produced while 95 Jump Street will be out before you know it.

Better Call Saul is an upcoming spin off of the mega-hit show Breaking Bad, starring Walter White’s hilariously sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman, played Bob Odenkirk. On Breaking Bad, Saul provided much needed comic relief to an otherwise serious show, but can he carry a whole series on his own? I have my doubts, but then again, I don’t have any doubts about the people behind Breaking Bad so if they’re behind this, then I will be too.

The latest news is that the character of Walter White will appear on the show – that the show will take place before, during, and after Breaking Bad. I am worried that if the show tanks, it might devalue the whole Breaking Bad brand. Breaking Bad is a masterpiece – you don’t make a Mona Lisa Part II.

I suppose this is one of those things where we’ll just have to wait and see.

Tagged , , , , , , ,
Advertisements