April in Glenwood: Wondering if “Better Call Saul” can beat “Breaking Bad”
The Oscars may be cinema’s big event this weekend, but I’m finding some serious entertainment on TV in the winter months.
I admittedly didn’t get out to the movies much last year. That infamous “mommy brain” is still sticking around, so recalling many moments of the last 12 months presents some challenges.
Over the holidays Steve and I were able to break away from parenting for a couple hours to see “The Force Awakens.”
I’m kind of big on nostalgia, so I loved nearly every minute of the much-anticipated return to the Star Wars series. I teared up at least four times, as the memories of my childhood came rushing back when many of the old characters made their comebacks. Seeing R2-D2, C-3PO, Princess (now General) Leia and Chewbacca again was much like attending a grade school reunion. These Star Wars stars were all a part of my growing-up years in the ’80s.
My brother and I spent hours upon hours growing our imaginations with these legendary friends.
We were also able to catch “The Revenant” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and that big scary bear, in the theater for a much-needed date night. I can best describe that experience as intense and mystifying.
I wouldn’t say it was one of those movies to go to as a romantic interlude, but it did have some beautiful scenery that made me truly appreciate the art of cinematography.
With a new baby in the house, it’s much easier to treat myself to cinematic indulgences by watching some of the great dramas and comedies out there on television. And there are many, especially thanks to cable, in particular the AMC channel. I know I’ve been told to sleep when baby sleeps, but there’s also much-needed time to be entertained.
Enter “Better Call Saul.”
I never watched “Breaking Bad,” which luckily can be fixed with a few months of binge-watching it on the weekends on Netflix before the weather warms up. I’m sure it won’t take long to be heavily fixated on the trials and tribulations of Walter White’s life.
I’ve heard it doesn’t end well.
Thanks to an especially cold weekend, we were able to watch the first season of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” spin-off, “Better Call Saul,” without interruption. I haven’t been this excited about a TV show since “Chicago Fire” — growing up with a fireman grandfather, I’m a sucker for anything to do with firefighting culture.
I’m not sure there was as much drama in my grandpa’s firehouse as in “Chicago Fire,” though. Or maybe there was. He did have some pretty funny stories. Especially the one about a lady who repeatedly called to report fires and would be sitting on the couch in lingerie when the firefighters showed up to answer the call.
“Better Call Saul” isn’t about firefighters, but instead the conflicted attorney character Saul Goodman (played by the great Bob Odenkirk), who later represents White in “Breaking Bad.”The show takes place six years prior, when Saul is actually Albuquerque hustler-lawyer Jimmy McGill. In AMC’s “Better Call Saul” bio, Jimmy is described as a “forceful champion for his low-income clients, an underdog whose morals and ambitions often clash.”
As a viewer, I’m continuously left feeling bad for Jimmy, who seems to want to do the right thing. But he can’t quite fight his inner urge to be “Slippin’ Jimmy,” a nickname he earned in Chicago for hustling people out of money for falling on icy pavement. So he often finds himself both breaking and representing the law at the same time.
He’s one of those characters who I can’t quite hate, even though I probably should. Nor do I want to.
That’s my kind of entertainment.
April E. Clark hopes Leo wins for “The Revenant.” She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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