Monthly Archives: August 2012
Breaking Bad: Say My Name, Season 5 Episode 7
Taking a closer look at Say My Name: Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 7
As intricate and well thought-out as Breaking Bad is, some of the strongest characters such as Mike Ehrmantraut and Gus Fring were created as a result of bad luck. According to creator Vince Gilligan, the actor that played Tuco (Raymond Cruz) was no longer available because he became a regular on the TV show ‘The Closer’. Consequently, they came up with Gus Fring who is everything Tuco was not: “button-down and business-like.” The introduction of Mike was also out of happenstance. Originally, at the end of Season 2 after Jane’s overdose, it was supposed to be Saul Goodman that comes to clean up the house but the actor (Bob Odenkirk) was unavailable, thus the creation of Mike, the all-purpose go-to-guy. Gilligan was a huge fan of the tv show Wiseguys staring Jonathan Banks and when he discovered who was up for the part, Banks got the role. There weren’t necessarily any long-range plans for Gus and Mike but the producers responded to the actor’s performances and included the characters into the show’s evolving narrative.
Breaking Bad: Buyout, Season 5 Episode 6
Taking a closer look at Buyout: Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 6
Creator Vince Gilligan has stated that mystery on this show is good, confusion is not. Breaking Bad has always been clear on the core character’s motivation no matter how extreme or surprising their actions might be. “Buyout” explains why having millions of dollars and saving his family from further danger is not an option for Walter if it means abandoning his empire. Walter is handed a rip cord to break his fall into meth madness and he throws it away. Just as troubling is how he shrugs off a child’s death, telling Jesse to focus on the business as “there will be plenty of time for soul-searching.”
The Hunger Games: Movie/DVD Review (contains spoilers)
Directed by Gary Ross (Pleasantville, Seabiscuit), The Hunger Games is the first of not three but four movies to be based on the best-selling book trilogy by author Suzanne Collins. Set in the fictional nation of Panem, which once was North America, one teenage boy and one girl from each of the 12 districts are chosen to fight to the death in a public arena until there is a lone victor. Rather than dwelling on the inevitable blood and massacre, The Hunger Games is a young heroine’s journey of exploring her identity, humanity, and will to survive in an unjust fascist world.
The Hunger Games shares many of the same motifs as Margaret Atwood’s (Oryx and Crake, Year of the Flood) post-apocalyptic Madd Addam book trilogy. Atwood’s imagined future, like Collins’, is a bleak vision of tomorrow’s humanity: televised deaths (Painball – it’s like Paintball but the paint can blind the eye and corrode the skin), an authoritarian government corporation (CorpSeCorps – the secret meat ingredient in their SecretBurgers is you), and gene spliced creatures (Liobam – part lion, part lamb, cute but lethal). Where Madd Addam trilogy is a biting satire and dire warning, The Hunger Games speaks to the importance of libertarianism and rebelling against oppression while allowing the viewer to ponder the world of Panem which is not fully detailed or fleshed out.
Both The Hunger Games and Madd Addam series have been described as science fiction dystopias but Atwood has made a distinction in classifying her work as speculative fiction which could also be said for Collins’ series. Atwood explains that a science fiction narrative can happen on another planet, alternate universe, or on a spaceship with monsters; whereas, speculative fiction is a plausible reality used to explore human nature and what could actually happen. As far-fetched as Panem might seem at first, it’s not too far removed from the real-life concerns of today: economic disparities, erosion of personal freedoms, popularity of reality television, and devaluation of human life.
Breaking Bad: Dead Freight, Season 5 Episode 5
Taking a closer look at Dead Freight: Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 5
“Nothing stops this train“, proclaimed Walt in the previous episode. Unless of course he literally wants to.
At the core of what drives Breaking Bad is the notion of change and subverting expectations. Much like how each episode or scene can shift gears from family drama to black comedy to crime thriller, characters are in a constant state of flux or to use an analogy, a train barreling down the tracks. The show is “about transformation. It’s about a main character turning himself from a good guy turning himself into a bad guy. To that end, transformation should always be on-going,” executive producer Vince Gilligan said in a podcast and interview here.
Breaking Bad: Fifty-One, Season 5 Episode 4
Taking a closer look at Fifty-One: Breaking Bad Season 5 Episode 4
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Lydia and Skylar are backed into a corner and make big moves in an attempt to escape from the downward spiral they are being pulled into. Both are not innocent bystanders or victims of circumstance. They’ve got blood on their hands and they’re going to have to get their hands bloody again to get their lives back.
Because of the death of Gus, the show runners felt the need to inject new blood to the final season. As opposed to the calm, cool and collective demeanor of Gus, Lydia is high-strung, tightly wound and always seems to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Her emotional instability is expressed externally as evident in her facial tics, mismatched shoes and screams into a pillow. Understandably she is rattled when a team of DEA agents question her and arrest the warehouse worker that’s been securing the methylamine for her.
The question is did she really put the GPS tracker on the bottom of the barrel? Read the rest of this entry
The Dark Knight Rises – Movie Review & Discussion
Watch the Dark Knight Trilogy before reading this post – Spoilers Ahead.