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Tracey Harnish Headshot

Breaking Bad vs. 2 Guns: Why TV Has the Best Writing

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Nerds do rule the world (Image Courtesy of AMC)

I finally get what everyone else has known for the past five years, that Breaking Bad is fucking awesome. In the first episode, when Walter says, "I am awake" in zen speak, it doesn't come with the implication that peace has been realized. What you do know is that Walter's enlightenment is the kind where the guy goes off the cliff taking you down with him. Breaking Bad binging has begun.

A few episodes in, Walter is pissed. When he takes a waterlogged squeegee and tactically places it on the battery in an egotistical businessman's car and within minutes the BMW explodes into flames, he walks away calmly with a smirk. A couple of episodes later he fools an upper level drug dealer into thinking mercury fulminate is meth, blows up their digs, gets his money and some respect. Walter uses chemistry to be badass.

Which brings me to why 2 Guns is the ultimate proof that the best writing is in TV. Course, everyone already knows this, it's why Netflix and Amazon are furiously developing their own shows for binge watching. With the ongoing hyperbolic conversations all over the internet that prove the devoted fan base still exists (a la Homeland or Game of Thrones), the future has been written. If you desire super smart fresh fast writing, don't go to the movies, stay home and watch it on your TV/tablet/smart phone.

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Aren't they adorable? (Image Courtesy of Universal)

2 Guns isn't awful. It's fine, which is the problem. Certainly it seems terrific in comparison to the achingly stupid Elysium, even as Metacritic rates 2 Guns a yellow 55. Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg have big screen charisma and even some chemistry, although nothing like Walter's kind of chemistry, and they are magic in comparison to the dull pairing of Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx in White House Down (it's no surprise that I found myself comparing that film with Homeland). But by the final big blow up, their inappropriate, newfound bro-love culminating in faux cute smiles at each other was getting on my nerves. Coming in at $74 million, 2 Guns has gigantic explosions and stars, if only it had the gigantic balls of Breaking Bad, which typically cost $3 million an episode. Why do big screen moviemakers sacrifice real cleverness and insight for a big bang with big bucks? Absolutely nothing surprises, much less makes you think, in 2 Guns; in Breaking Bad, as soon as Walter tells said drug dealer his name is Heisenberg, I'm off to Google because I know that no line is wasted.

At the end of episode 6, I pounded the couch, stamped the floor with my feet and hooted; "You go crazy Walter White!" At the end of 2 Guns, I said, "Well, it wasn't that bad." More shit blew up, and following in the tradition of brawling buddy films, you'd think they'd have the formula down. But as Mark Wahlberg's 'Stig' says, "Hey we're family now," repeating the movie's dull theme yet again, all I can think of is Walter taking a look at his partner in the hospital, with broken bones and a neck brace. Walter grimaces as he stares out the window and, without making cooing noises of love, makes a real formula that blows the joint and my mind -- just a little bit more.