Thoughts & Theories on El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

I now interrupt my prepared blogging schedule to bring you a special edition post about a new movie that is officially out and available on Netflix today (10.11.19) El Camino, A Breaking Bad Movie

WARNING:
THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS

If you plan on watching El Camino, please watch the movie first then follow up with my blog post and please offer your commentary and thoughts based on what I’ve shared.  

ATTENTION: If you haven’t seen Breaking Bad, please watch the series before watching El Camino. They are very much reliant on one another and this is NOT a stand-alone movie.

TIP: It’s been 6 years since the series finale aired, if you haven’t seen the show in some time, I suggest you refresh your memory and watch at least the last 2-3 episodes! 

Ever since attending the world premiere Monday night (and if I’m being honest even some time before that in anticipation of the event) my mind has once again been consumed by all thing in the Breaking Bad universe. I’ve been waiting day racking my brain, over analyzing every detail I could remember, and just waiting for a moment to share my thoughts with you! Now’s my chance. 

Some Thoughts

The opening scene we flash back to Mike’s (Jonathan Banks) final scene in the show and him having a conversation with Jesse (Aaron Paul.) All though the scene feels a little out of place and really tested my memory, Vince Gilligan not only gives us an opportunity to enjoy a favorite character and relationship for a few moments longer but also does his traditional foreshadowing of the events to come. For a minute, I found myself forgetting where we left off and buying into the whole “beautiful moment by the river” which contrasted really nicely and had me jumping out of my seat when we jumped back to the present. 

Back at Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) and Badger’s (Matt Jones) place we get a more intimate moment seeing Jesse struggling with getting back to reality. Something that stands out to me in this moment is the emphasis they put on the scars on his back and face… I’ll come back to that later. Once Jesse emerges from the shower, he appears to be back to normal. PTSD to survival mode, it seemed like a quick transition but I’m also ‘okay’ with the decision to not linger on it more. Skinny Pete and Badger finally get all the lines they deserve and many that have me laughing every time! 

Perhaps one of the most interesting moments in the whole movie in my opinion is as Jesse starts to take off Skinny Pete hands Jesse his signature stocking hat. A gesture that speaks louder than words, but when you pair it with what he says about Jesse being his “hero” it takes it to a whole different level. I’m still internalizing this scene. I think Skinny Pete’s help here gives Jesse the will to survive and is just the encouragement he needs to remember what he’s fighting for. Without someone so actively fighting in his corner and motivating him to push on vs. turning himself in (which comes in to play later on also) he has a force driving him forward. 

Next we get a whole deeper look into a relationship I 100% didn’t expect. The whole premiere I was wondering why everyone was obsessing so much over Todd (Jesse Plemons.) He’s easily the worst character in Breaking Bad because of Season 5 Episode 5 and if you still don’t know, yes, the one where he shoots the kid… However, we get to see a whole lot more Todd. How is it that the same guy that can murder an innocent child and be fine with keeping a human locked in a cage also the guy who will send down ice cream, cigarettes, and volunteer to stay home and look after Jesse all weekend? Still not a sweetheart but the conflicting actions that seem to have no degree of difference in emotions for him—so interesting! 

It’s here in these next few flash back scenes that I do enjoy getting to learn a little more about the El Camino itself and some of the other significant events that have taken place. Right off the bat I wasn’t buying that the apartment was Todd’s. If the pastel colors didn’t give it away, the kitchen table sure did and the snow globe collection really sealed the deal. What I am confused by is the story that she was the maid and found the money and that was the motivation for killing her. I think it’s a lot more likely that he needed that location/apartment specifically for whatever reason and decided to kill her and take it. Why? Well besides the interior decorating, he didn’t really have an idea of what would be in the cupboard (a collection of things an old lady is a lot more likely to have than a twenty-something-old guy. Although don’t get me wrong I do feel that he’s been living there based on the out-of-place random collection of very modern furniture. 

Now the true crime junkie in me was very concerned with the question, “Why’d he chooses to strangle her, more specifically with the belt.” For that he would have most likely snuck up on her from behind, not attacked her in the middle of an argument. It’s also the kitchen so knife seems like a heat of the moment choice, but again nosy neighbor might have heard maybe that’s why? Probably not worth lingering but how the rest of this plays out with the rolling the body and “moving” her to the car—priceless moments! My final thought on this poor dead woman that I have so many questions about. When the “police” officers come to visit the nosy neighbor tells them that he’s met the guy that’s living there and basically isn’t a huge fan of Todd (who is?) but this leads me to believe that either that lady has really been dead for a while long enough for people to assume she moved out and someone moved in OR it really is Todd’s apartment…. Still not buying it though. 

Burying the body‑now why Jesse gives the gun back… well if he would have shot Todd the story obviously would most likely have not led to the ending, we see in Breaking Bad. Obviously, I believe it took more than just pepperoni pizza to sway Jesse’s mind. However, I think it’s more than just Jesse thinking that Todd’s uncles would still manage a way to get after Brock. I think its kind of back to the idea of Jesse feeling like although life is seemingly as bad as it gets—he doesn’t have much to fight for anymore. Everything he loves and knows and cared about at that point has been taken away and it’s arguable that Todd is the only person he has in that moment. 

Looking for money I thought for sure it would be in the pool but then we kept getting shots of the chimney… the refrigerator door, honestly the last place I’d think. You’re telling me the same guy the hid money in books also thought to hide money in the fridge door? I don’t really think so, but maybe!

Unfinished Business

Moving on to some unfinished business. From having to pay debts carried over to the first get-a-new-life attempt to reencountering the welders/DEA agent/ assholes.  It’s in these scenes we see the damage 5 season of Breaking Bad has done on Jesse Pinkman. From staying calm and outsmarting situations thinking 5 steps ahead while having a gun to his head, to trying to strong arm his way into convincing the Vacuum guy to give him a break… all characteristics that remind me of someone else I know. 

Speaking of Walter White (Bryan Cranston) the motel diner scene gives me all the feels! From seeing our beloved characters transition and flash back to their season one selves naive and optimistic we’re really reminded just how far they’ve come. This moment and transition amazes me in these two’s acting abilities to be able to change and rethink back to all those years ago where they started and who they were! 

The conversation though is what intrigues me and opens a few questions. What will Jesse do one day when it’s done? When he has a chance to do something special with his life? I certainly doubt exercise science is where he ends up. Even more confusing is Jesse’s response letting White know that his family will get what they have coming. Potential foreshadowing? Or simply speaking to every decision Walter made during the show FULLY came back to bite his family in the butt? I prefer the first option… more to come! It was based on this statement that I hoped we’d get a peek at modern day life of Skyler, Flynn, and Holly but then I remembered. This is only a few days later not years like in real life. 

Transitions

This brings us to Jesse breaking into his parents and more genius thinking of coming up with the perfect plan to get them and the undercover cops away. You know the first thought here is if he only needs $1,800 surely, he could get the cash or valuables around the house to amount for that much but instead, he gets the guns and gets out. Which we learn is part of a much bigger, premeditated plan. At the shop is when I feel Jesse has transitioned into his full-on Heisenberg mode. Why go back when he doesn’t presumably need the whole amount? Not only does he have nothing to lose but he’s seeking revenge. Like Heisenberg he can’t handle letting the Welder’s get away with the pain they caused and the turmoil they brought into his life. Jesse isn’t ok with letting the welders feel like they got away with something most likely motivated by the main guy’s taunting as Jesse leaves “Todd’s” apartment and remembers him. 

I love the old western style shoot out and getting outsmarted by the sense of betting, genius! The whole scene seems so true in nature to some of the shows biggest moments and did not disappoint, explosion and all. 

So now we’re in Alaska, alas the place Mike recommended (about time Jesse listens to something Mike had to say.) With one final question to answer we see Jesse hand over a letter to be delivered to Brock and then seemingly we’re supposed to trust that it’ll be delivered, and Jesse can go on living his new life. The scene is beautiful, white, quiet. Jesse seems restored refreshed and is in an uncharacteristic white turtleneck sweater. Either he’s really is restored to a new identity and life or this is really an ironic ending. 

Theories

Here. We. Go. The ending does not follow anything we’ve come to expect from Gilligan. It’s too neat. It’s too wrapped up and perfectly presented, somethings fishy. Somehow although all our questions have been answered, I feel left with less resolve than the ending of the TV show. 

Looking back at the scenes and being excited to watch the movie again, I’m reading between all the lines and pauses and honestly, I don’t think this is the last we’ve seen of Jesse Pinkman. The scars that I mentioned before, I don’t feel as if we learned the cause. I don’t believe they were caused by the running and trying to break free from Todd’s lab. The conversation at the Diner with Walter White—there’s got to be more to it. Then if that’s not enough the first trailer shows Skinny Pete in with police discussing where Jesse ran off to. That’s a lot of work to go to just to film a trailer…. Then there’s the ending of the full, main trailer where we hear what we assume is White’s voice (for the record, I do believe he’s actually dead though once they confirmed on the radio news when Jesse was in the car.) 

I feel like we’re missing the other side of the story, the side Hank would tell if he were still alive, the side of the pursuit. I also feel like were missing out on the grief of the family although they did seem to consider their “dad” and “husband” as being dead before it was a reality.

I know this is a stretch, but it also seems to me like a conscious choice to name it “A Breaking Bad Movie” instead of “THE Breaking Bad Movie.” And really stretching it out even further listening to reviews from the premier and reading different articles. Aaron Paul says things referencing hopes for a long relationship with Netflix and “if I only worked for Gilligan the rest of my career, I’d be the happiest man in Hollywood.” Suspicious…. 

Please share ALL your thoughts with me and send me things to support, disprove, inspire, anything! Clearly, I can’t get enough! 

Premiere

Finally, I’d just like to share some photos from the premiere and say it was 100% worth the experience. I feel so fortunate to have gotten to experience this movie this way for the first time and laugh, clap, and jump with a room full of fans. It was truly something special and I’m so glad I get to share a sliver of that experience with all of you! 

All this being said I really enjoyed the movie! I’m such a huge fan though that I would have taken any ounce of these characters in any version they’d deliver. 

Home to Hollywood

heros

Hollywood: the entertainment capital of the world and the main reason I’ve day dreamed about Los Angeles since I was nine years old. It’s the home to America’s most beloved movies and television shows and everywhere you go in this city, you’re surrounded by the industry!

 

If you love to watch a screen (whether big or small) it comes to life right before your eyes. Everywhere you look, you can almost guarantee it’s served as a backdrop in one film or another (even the Buca de Beppo around the corner).  All of the major production studios are scattered around the city and many of them even find unique ways to open their doors and let you in. Whether you want to grab a cup of joe with an old Friend at the Central Perk Café at Warner Bros or travel the back lots at NBCUniversal Studios where you’ll find The Voice, Amity Island, and even Whoville. There’s something fun about interacting and seeing firsthand how and where some of your favorite movies are made.

IMG_6404You don’t have to take a tour or be on set to see where the magic happens. Like I said everywhere you go has played a role somewhere. Of course, it’s hard to miss some of Hollywood’s favorite backdrops like the iconic Hollywood Sign and don’t forget to take a trip on Mulholland Drive! While traveling through the city you will also probably pass or cross over the LA River, (not much of a river) home to one of my all-time favorite movie, the drag race scene in Grease (Go Grease Lightning go!)

When you’re here, there’s also always the excitement of you never know who you’ll run into (literally). Twice on my recent evening jogs in a quiet residential neighborhood I’ve passed a filming session for Julia Robert’s new TV Show, Homecoming (before you ask, no-I didn’t see her or any of her co-stars, but I did see the lighting guy, and he’s just as cool). As far as other sightings, I’ve seen countless Bachelor/Bachelorette stars, multiple E-personalities (even though I didn’t really know who they were), and a few of my favorites like Aaron Paul and Tyra Banks!

doj_instagram_17The key to seeing celebrities is mostly being able to be aware of your surroundings and knowing where and when to pay attention (something I’m not great at, but I am super good with faces!)  You could see someone at dinner, while out shopping, or even walking down a street (all places and real-life situations I’ve seen someone.)  When you do see someone, just keep it cool and gage the situation!  But come on we all know those few people that’d we’d freak out if we ever walked into a room and saw them, that one person standing right in front of us. I’ve gotten into convos where I try to think about who that person would be for me… sure, a few years ago it would have been Adam Levine, but I’ve seen him and we’re not getting married anytime soon so I’m over that. My inner middle schooler though, would still probably lose it though if I saw Zac Efron or Robert Pattinson though! I have been known to get more excited over the fact I actually spotted and recognized someone than the fact of their celebrity status or who they are. I mean when it comes down to it, they are normal people just out trying to live their everyday lives, but you bet if I run into Ellen, I’m going to ask her to take a selfie with me! I’d love to hear who you’d freak out over meeting! Send or message me your fav celebs and I’ll keep you posted if I ever run into them!

The most important way to experience the movies though, is still by actually going to a movie theater to watch a movie.  In LA there’s no exception, even when on vacation it’d recommend going to see a movie because it can be a unique experience you can’t get anywhere else and it plays a huge part in this city’s history and future. To get a unique LA movie theater experience, you can purchase tickets to sit where the stars sit for movie premieres at the Chinese Theater or see Disney’s latest hit at the El Capitan theater.

I love seeing a movie at the actual theater for many reasons that aren’t just butter covered popcorn. I think it’s so special to sit down next to your loved ones or sometimes even complete strangers to sit and experience a movie together.  The feeling of sharing a laugh with a room full of people during the latest Melissa McCarthy movie or jumping so high out of your seat during a trailer for an upcoming horror movie that it leaves the whole room laughing afterwards-that’s movie magic. It’s less about what you’re actually watching and more about experiencing it together and sharing that memory.

Movies literally bring people together in so many ways!  In LA there are some very unique ways to experience a movie especially a classic. Why sit where the stars sit, when you can sit right next to one of the greatest stars of all times (and by sit next to I mean set on top of…)  One of the greatest traditions in LA is to go see a favorite movie at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.  You’ll actually be surrounded by some of the greatest entertainers that ever lived while you watch some of the most praised and loved movies of all time. With theaters the way they are nowadays, the comfort of your own bed is no longer an excuse. You can find theaters that are even better and comfier than your couch at home.  At iPic for example, you can sit in a recliner (big enough for two) that goes all way back. They’ll give you a pillow, a blanket, and free popcorn. You will also then have the chance to order things like sushi, steak, dessert and other delicious meals and they’ll bring it out for you. Now I don’t know about you but that sounds way better than what I’ve got at home.

Look, I know how expensive movies are getting, especially if you want to enjoy an experience like iPic, but trust me… I have a secret.  (It’s not much of a secret any more but it’s still so new to me that it feels like a secret.) If you love going to the movies, listen up this one is for you, finish reading my blog then before you go do whatever else you’re going to go do, you’re going to download Movie PassMovie Pass is the answer to your prayers and is exactly what it sounds like. It’s not a scam and it’s not too good to be true, but it is the greatest thing ever! It is a service that you subscribe to (just like Netflix) and for $10 a month you can see as many movies in theaters as you want (well up to one per day and you can’t see the same one twice-but still! That up to 31 movies a month for $10 total).

This is how it works… You sign up online or through the app, they they’re going to mail you a Movie Pass Card (it looks like a “credit card”). Once you’ve activated your card, you can go to select theaters in your area (in LA they’re everywhere, in Boone and Ames, don’t worry you can use Movie Pass at Movies 12 AND North Grand Cinema I already checked!) Once you have your card ready and you’re at the theater you select the movie and showtime you’d like to see and then click check-in. Next, you’ll go purchase your tickets, when you get to the counter to pay you simply swipe your Movie Pass card and then they take care of the rest. Some select theaters will even let you reserve your seat and ticket online, so you don’t have to show up extra early but check in with your local theater. The first time I ever used movie pass I would have paid $14 for a ticket at that location, but with Movie Pass all I paid was my $10 earlier that month and it had already paid for itself. Just keep in mind that this is a heck of a great deal and please don’t try to scam the system and ruin it for the rest of us. You can’t use your movie pass on other people or multiple tickets AND you can’t use it in combination with concession stand purchases.  Just take your “free” ticket and enjoy the show.

Now you have NO excuses not to go see the latest and greatest movies. If you just go to one movie a month, it’ll pay for itself. Since being out here, I’ve used my Movie Pass to see Life of the Party, Oceans 8, and Tag (all movies I’d highly recommend for very different reasons!) Next on the list is Incredibles 2, Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom (supposed to be awesome) Gotti (supposed to be horrible) and Hereditary (if I can find any friends brave enough to go with me).

Bonus: When I went to see Tag I also saw the trailer for Bad Times at the El Royale and it was the most beautiful, terrifying, magical, and creepy trailer I’ve ever seen. If you’re confused how all those adjectives fit together, check it out right now.

***Credits start rolling***

Don’t get up and leave your seats just yet! This city is known for making movies and a lot of people work in this industry. People appreciate every roll and all the effort that goes into make a great film.  With that being said, don’t be surprised if people stick around so that they can cheer and clap when their friend’s name scrolls across the screen! It’s worth the wait to see the joy!

This week my advice is to go to the movies and share an experience with other people. Whether the movie truly speaks to you or is the worst thing you’ve ever seen, there’s nothing like crying, laughing, and sometimes screaming all together.

Share with me what movies you’re excited to see or what your thoughts were on ones you’ve seen recently! Comment below, email dayofjae@gmail.com, or DM on Instagram!  Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter for all the latest updates >>^^