Early Breaking Bad Influences

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Breaking Bad: See it if you can handle the violence

Years before Breaking Bad came on the air, there were two shows that were influential in its formation: the Homicide: Life on the Street Subway episode, and the X-Files Drive episode. All three shows are interconnected. Vince Gilligan wrote the X-Files episode of Drive as well as Breaking Bad. Vince Gilligan borrowed heavily from Subway to make the X-Files episode Drive, and that in turn was a huge influence on Breaking Bad.

Drive and Subway:

  • The majority of the episode focuses on intense dialogue between one man trying to save another.
  • Lange/Crump are trapped in dire, near-death circumstance.
  • Changing their circumstances puts them in worse danger.
  • Lange/Crump are angry, distrustful and out of control at first.
  • Lange/Crump seem doomed.
  • There is a grotesque element to the plot: exploding head, man pinned under subway.
  • There is a flare of hope right before the tragic end.
  • This is not Lange/Crump’s fault.
  • Police initially aren’t sure who was responsible for the crime.
  • Mulder/Pembleton walk away deeply saddened.

Drive and Breaking Bad:

  • Same intense writing by Vince Gilligan.
  • Crump/White are dying (at least initially, in White’s case).
  • Crump/White are in a race against time.
  • Crump/White are in dire circumstances to save themselves or their families.
  • Crump/White make morally questionable judgments.
  • Crump/White will kill in desperation.
  • Crump/White have an unstoppable energy.

Steal This Movie Review

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See it if you like docudramas

Steal This Movie is a pretty good informative look at the life of 60’s radical Abbie Hoffman. The character (played by D’Onofrio) becomes more interesting as the movie progresses; it starts out with a bit too-much-information. Janeane Garofalo is great as Anita Hoffman. Sadly, I have been deprived of the last fifteen minutes through an evil conspiracy of VCR and DVD players.

[EDIT] When did I have a VCR? Not in many moons.

Nunzio’s Second Cousin Movie Review

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See Nunzio’s Second Cousin if you can handle a downer.

In Boys Life II, Nunzio’s Second Cousin (short), Vincent D’Onofrio plays a gay cop who terrorizes some would-be gay bashers, forcing one to have dinner with him and his wacky mom. Harsh, interesting, unpredictable, and very well-acted. I found it hard to watch, a little gut-wrenching, but worthwhile.

Happy Accidents Movie Review

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See it, for the love of all that’s good in movies!

Happy Accidents is an extremely quirky romantic comedy with Morisa Tomei and D’Onofrio as the leads. D’Onofrio plays a sweet-hearted guy trying to win his girl’s heart, but her doubts grow as he tries to convince her that he’s a time-traveler from the future. His excuses and stories get more complex over time, causing her to become more frustrated despite her attraction.

I usually hate romantic comedies, but this one has a sci-fi bent to it that takes it completely 180 degrees. The chemistry between them is palpable. Everyone is completely believable, including D’Onofrio’s crazy. There is also a cameo that I won’t spoilerize for you, but it’s a good one. This is on my top ten list of movies. This movie’s a real sleeper, I’m not sure why it’s not more famous. Very well written and unpredictable.

Imaginary Crimes Movie Review

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Imaginary Crimes: Tango! D’Onofrio as a sexy assasin!

Imaginary Crimes is a sexy schlocky flick with Mathilda May playing a woman who tries to escape her boring marriage but ends up enslaved in a brothel. D’Onofrio, is a dashing young assassin who likes to tango. Beautifully filmed, moody, and over-the-top melodramatic. It’s not a serious intellectual film but it’s good eye candy. Especially if you are a big fan of Vincent D’Onofrio. Not that I obsess over his movies, or anything. This one’s pretty good. I have reviewed many movies featuring D’Onofrio.

See it for the eye candy!

Imposter Movie Review

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See it if you enjoy silly science fiction!

A sci-fi action flick. Aliens are attacking, and the world is a mess. Gary Sinise’s character runs around sweating and looking his paranoid best as he tries to escape the clutches of the guy in charge of security, played by Vincent D’Onofrio. D’Onofrio’s character is convinced that Sinise’s character is really just a vessel for an alien bomb. Tony Shalhoub has a small part and is excellent as always. Fun and silly. You will enjoy it if you don’t take it seriously. Don’t fall asleep in the middle third, it gets better.

The Whole Wide World Movie Review

See it if you like critically acclaimed period films.

The Whole Wide World features D’Onofrio playing the writer who’s responsible for the Conan the Barbarian stories. He’s moody, socially inept, and too attached to his mother. His girlfriend-wannabee is demanding and sometimes whiny. Given this, you’d be surprised at how interesting they are together. Extremely well done; very easy to forget that it’s a period piece. D’Onofrio received critical acclaim for his role.