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Why Oliver Stone Let Loose on the 'Breaking Bad' Finale: "The Most Ridiculous 15 Minutes... It Would Be Laughed Off the Screen"

by Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
October 9, 2013 1:42 PM
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Oliver Stone

While the much discussed "Breaking Bad" finale had plenty of supporters, director Oliver Stone was not one of them. He told Forbes that he "happened to tune in and saw the most ridiculous 15 minutes of a movie -- it would be laughed off the screen."

While Stone isn't exactly in the best position to criticize screen violence ("Natural Born Killers," anyone?), he stressed that when the bloody stuff is shown, it should be shown "with authenticity." He took issue with Walter White's machine gun maneuvers: “Nobody could park his car right then and there and could have a machine gun that could go off perfectly and kill all of the bad guys! It would be a joke.”

He admits to not following the series closely, so that could be part of his disgruntlement -- seeing those "laughable" 15 minutes out of context. How could anyone come upon the finale after not seeing the rest of the series and know what the hell was going on? But more than that, this may be a case of a director seeing something in his wheelhouse and feeling threatened. In a way, Stone represents a film industry that is watching the cultural conversation move to another medium. 

Check out our roundup of critical reactions to the finale here. Meanwhile, Bryan Cranston is set to play Blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo on the big screen. Aaron Paul is in Ridley Scott's "Exodus." And a Colombian remake of "Breaking Bad," titled "Metastasis," is soon to debut (trailer here).


  • Vincent Lesh | October 9, 2013 11:25 PMReply

    Savages (2012)?
    - ...when the bloody stuff is shown, it should be shown "with authenticity."
    - "the most ridiculous 15 minutes of a movie -- it would be laughed off the screen."
    - "It would be a joke."

  • Steven Flores | October 9, 2013 8:04 PMReply

    Like Oliver Stone's opinion matter these days. Especially from someone who hasn't made a decent film in nearly 15 years yet has become so lost in his own political bullshit and to try and keep up with whatever young filmmaker is out right now only to lose touch with what made him good.

  • Jim Emerson | October 9, 2013 6:04 PMReply

    I gave up on Oliver Stone after he turned NATURAL BORN KILLERS into the very movie Quentin Tarantino's script was parodying. Stone wants to have it every way: violence is serious, not funny, but violence is absurdly funny; violence should not be treated lightly, but it's OK to treat it "playfully" (like the shot through the hand in NBK). If he'd seen "Breaking Bad" he'd know that the series was always ironic and absurd -- and utterly cartoonish and implausible. That's its sensibility: Looney Tunes (or Tom & Jerry), not docudrama. (That train robbery? The thing with the magnets? The whole crazy premise? Planting the camera in/on every available prop -- trunks, vats, shovels, Roombas -- and shooting through fake glass bottoms of bathtubs and buckets and trays of blue crystal meth?) Go back and look at all the contradictory arguments he made to defend/explain what he did to NBK. He's a pathetic figure.

  • Michelle | October 9, 2013 5:20 PMReply

    What a hypocrite. Who actually gives a crap about OS? I mean, really. Stone is totally nutty nowadays and I could forgive his willful insanity if he were actually a good filmmaker, but he's not. He hasn't made a good film in... hell, I don't think he's ever even made a decent film in his entire career, that's the real JOKE. Btw, this is coming from a liberal, so don't even bother trying to attack me for not bowing to the feet of this has-been "liberal filmmaker," as many people like to describe him. He's attacking a show that I and many, MANY other people happen to have a lot of love for. I hope he can TAKE IT as well as he gives it. He should keep his mouth shut for a while and focus on the quality of his own work before criticizing the work of others. My (brutally honest) opinions are my own and they're not politically motivated.

  • aliranvoiran | October 9, 2013 2:07 PMReply

    He's watching a TV show being hailed as the second coming of Christ and probably feels like everyone's starting to lose the distinction between good artful storytelling and good pulp. Stone's generation fought against TV because it began to make dosh out of what film had attempted to set a standard for and the masses were eating it up. Breaking Bad will be remembered like MASH the show just as another distraction will come along to sweep up it's supposed brilliance. Also, Natural Born Killers showed violence the way it did on purpose. It was about violence.

  • James Berclaz-lewis | October 9, 2013 5:44 PM

    It would be surprising if it weren't deliberate, that being said I would side with Michael Haneke on this matter when he claims: 'In my view, Oliver Stone's film, and I use it only as example, is the attempt to use a fascist aesthetic to achieve an anti-fascist goal, and this doesn't work. What is accomplished is something the opposite, since what is produced is something like a cult film where the montage style complements the violence represented and presents it largely in a positive light. It might be argued that Natural Born Killers makes the violent image alluring while allowing no space for the viewer.'

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