Oct 29, 2015

Why "Breaking Bad" Sucks

While I'm aware that the subject of this post is not a movie, it has nonetheless obsessed many of my movie loving friends and stuck it's mangy head into many an otherwise interesting movie-related conversation, making it fair game. Also, spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

Yesterday I had the latest in a series of... let's call them "discussions" with another of my friends who thinks "Breaking Bad" was something pretty special. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, in this case his opinion, like the opinion of many other friends on this subject, couldn't be more wrong: Breaking Bad sucks.

When pressed to provide reasons why Breaking Bad was the greatest thing since sliced bread my buddy, like everyone else I've ever met who liked the show, couldn't get much past "Bryan Cranston is awesome." This tells me that what we had with Breaking Bad was a really popular show that people thought was great because it was really popular because people thought it was great because it was really popular... you get the picture. I was really hoping that when the final season made its way into the cultural dumpster so would any memory of this abomination, yet the thing persists; like pee stains on white pants, to taunt me.

But back to last night's conversation that spawned this diatribe.

That conversation was progressing with the usual "Bryan Cranston is awesome" silliness when my buddy crossed a line and, with a completely straight face, compared Breaking Bad to "The Sopranos". It was at that point I resolved to dedicate a post to the Kim Kardashian of "serious programming"; Breaking Bad.

So let's get something out of the way right off the bat: comparing "The Sopranos" to "Breaking Bad" is like comparing the Rolling Stones' "Sway" to the Rolling Stones' "She's So Cold". One is art, the other is a consumer product.

That said here are just some of the many, many reasons Breaking Bad sucks (numbered for your convenience).

1) Bryan Cranston can't act his way out of a paper bag. He has two expessions; mouth agape and squinty eyes.

2) His character's story arch is laughably bad. Sure guys go through crises when facing the void, but even the void wouldn't turn Mr Rogers into Attila the Hun. Mr Rogers might go get himself a Miata, but he's not changing from a wall flower into a guy who tells psycho cartel leaders where to stuff it.

3) They do the "Gee we lost all our money again" thing about 12 times too many. They go back to that well more than Peter Jackson dips into the dead/not dead well.

4) The wife is loathsome. The character is abysmally written. As inconsistent a characterization as I've ever seen. One season a yuppie new age air head, next season a hard-boiled prison wife, next season scared, so scared. So, so scared.

4) The brother in law in the DEA is stupid beyond words. Imagine if they made Carmela's brother head of the Jersey FBI organized crime division. Just lazy, stupid writing.

5) The trope that he's dying of cancer is the most naked attempt I've ever seen of a writer trying to tug at heart strings to try and justify a character's assholedness; and make no mistake, WW is an a-hole of historic proportions.

6) He's such an indescribable a-hole I kept hoping someone would kill him. I don't think I'm supposed to be hoping that.

7) The idea that WW could kill a cartel leader and still be walking a week later is stupid.

8) The notion you could use an RV as a meth lab is stupid.

9) The idea you could cook in houses waiting to be fumigated was funny for about 5 minutes. Then I realized how stupid it was.

10) ABQ is about as compelling as minute rice.

11) Aaron Paul is an even worse actor than Bryan Cranston, and that's saying something. It's no accident he hasn't been seen since the show ended. Also, his character may be the most meaningless and poorly written in a show packed with meaningless, poorly written characters.

We can't act.

12) Flash round
I knew the RV wouldn't start.
I knew the kid on the bike would kill the fat drug dealer.
I knew the kid on the motorcycle would get killed.
I knew WW's cancer would go into remission.
I knew it would come back.
I knew the brother in law would find out.
I knew the cartel guy was going to die at the pool party.
I knew the chicken guy was going to kill the cook guy in the lab.
I knew Skyler was going to walk into the pool.
I knew the girlfriend was going to stiff the kid in front of her dad.
I knew she was going to eventually OD.
I knew Jessie was coming back, every damn time he came back.
I knew the old guy who couldn't talk had a bomb in his wheelchair.
I knew Jessie would discover the secret of the cigarette.

Whew! But wait. I'm not done.

13) The comedic moments say more about the writer's ineptitude than their ability to know when to throttle back.

14) Jerry Seinfeld had Bryan Cranston pegged pretty well: a second rate character guy, good for a few minutes of light diversion here and there.

15) The entire series seems like a Lifetime tv take on what it must be like to be a meth dealer. Like Lifetime went into high schools looking for writing talent to bring their 'bold' idea to the small screen and harnessed the best 10th grade writers in ABQ.

16) And for the record; the brother-in-law as he exists in the show does not get the job as head of the ABQ office. Ever. He also doesn't change from being class clown to being large and in charge. People are what they are. Often within a range, sure. But they are what they are. Good writers understand this.

17) The disabled son serves no purpose other than as a ham-handed device intended to show us WW may be hurting innocent people. They could completely ditch the kid character and instead show some of the thousands of lives WW is laying waste in his quest to get his wife Starbucks money for life.

18) The meltdown of Jessie toward the end is some of the worst acting I have ever seen. Laughably bad from beginning to end. He just took the same high-school-drama-club-quality "I'm mad" look that he's had in every scene since the first show and ramped it up a few degrees until he looked like he was taking a shit in his pants while setting the house on fire.

I could go on but what would be the point. Good riddance BB. You sucked.


Oct 5, 2015

Support Independent Film

My friend Rich Chambers has a short film that's begun making the festival rounds called "Tristan and Isolde" (poster below). It's a 7 minute horror flick with no dialogue. Wagner's "Tristan and Isolde" is used as backdrop music and the film deals loosely with Wagner's idea of "love death" and how a serial killer might think that was a pretty good idea. So, to say it's darkly comedic would be putting it mildly.

Rich has given me the link and password to the film on vimeo to share only with viewers of 21st Century Films. So enjoy and don't forget to support independent filmmakers.

password: 983olsef

For the record, Rich has another short that's in production and should be done by the end of the year. It's a much more involved production that I'm helping him out with and it's looking amazing at this point.