Breaking Bad is widely hailed as one of the greatest television shows of all time. But for whatever reason, much of the cast hasn’t made a smooth transition to film. That’s not to say that they haven’t appeared in a few great movies, but none have become A-list stars in keeping with their legendary television status.
But while none have become mega movie stars, they have certainly appeared in many notable and well-reviewed films that are worth checking out.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Little Miss Sunshine is arguably one of the most famous independent movies ever released. The cast obviously took major pay cuts, because despite containing the likes of Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, and Alan Arkin (not to mention a then relatively unknown Abigail Breslin and Paul Dano), the movie only cost $8 million to produce.
Both Bryan Cranston and Dean Norris appear in the movie in small roles – Cranston as Kinnear’s boss Stan Grossman and Norris as the state trooper who pulls the family over for the van’s incessant honking.
Released in the midst of Breaking Bad‘s ascendancy, Drive is director Nicolas Winding Refn’s most popular film. While the movie is undoubtedly fantastic and popular on its own terms, there’s no denying that the stacked cast helped.
The movie concerns Ryan Gosling’s unnamed Driver, a mechanic and Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a criminal getaway driver. He works for Bryan Cranston’s Shannon, a crippled auto shop owner in league with the mob. Cranston isn’t in the movie for long, but each of his scenes crackles with energy and intensity.
Argo faced a lot of criticism when it was released, owing to its numerous historical inaccuracies that painted other nations as more inept and unhelpful than they actually were. Regardless, it’s still a stellar film – an opinion backed by its five Golden Globe and seven Academy Award nominations.
The movie reunites Bryan Cranston and Alan Arkin (who worked together on Little Miss Sunshine), with Arkin playing Lester Siegel and Cranston portraying Ben Affleck’s boss, Jack O’Donnell. The movie grossed $232 million, making it one of Cranston’s most popular films.
American Woman (2018)
Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018, American Woman is one of Aaron Paul’s greatest works. The movie stars Sienna Miller as Deborah Callahan, a 33-year-old single mother who is forced to raise her infant grandson when her teenage daughter goes missing.
Aaron Paul plays a man named Chris, who begins dating Deborah at the encouragement of Deborah’s sister (played by Christina Hendricks). The movie earned critical acclaim, with most of the praise going to Sienna Miller’s outstanding lead performance.
The Last House On The Left (2009)
Released soon after the premiere of Breaking Bad, The Last House on the Left serves as Aaron Paul’s scariest performance. The movie is a remake of Wes Craven’s seminal masterpiece, which sees grieving parents getting revenge on the gang that murdered their daughter (in the remake, the daughter survives).
Aaron Paul portrays one of the gang members – a man named Francis. They all work under a psychopath named Krug, played wonderfully by character actor and usual bad guy Garret Dillahunt. It’s gory and disturbing, and a decent remake of a horror classic.
Remember is a drama thriller written by Benjamin August, who took issue with Hollywood’s lack of senior leading actors. He wrote the film to specifically contain a senior leading actor, and it landed Christopher Plummer as Zev Guttman, a Holocaust survivor who decides to take revenge on a Nazi war criminal.
Dean Norris has a small role in the film as John, a neo-Nazi state trooper whose father served in the Nazi army as a cook. The movie was screened at various festivals, winning the Vittorio Veneto Film Festival Award at the Venice Film Festival.
Straight Up (2019)
Straight Up premiered at Outfest, a film festival with a focus on shedding light on LGBTQ+ stories and characters. It was produced, written, and directed by James Sweeney, who also stars in the movie, as Todd.
It concerns the friendship and eventual romantic relationship between a man named Todd and a woman named Rory, played by Katie Findlay. Todd’s friends don’t approve of Rory, and Todd wonders how his parents will react by seeing him dating a woman. Betsy Brandt plays Todd’s mother, Topanga.
It was only a matter of time before Sully was made. Directed by Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood, Sully dramatizes the events of US Airways Flight 1549’s dramatic landing on the Hudson River. It was adapted from pilot Chesley Sullenberger’s memoir, Highest Duty.
Tom Hanks portrayed Sullenberger, and Aaron Eckhart played his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles. Anna Gunn also appears in the movie as Dr. Elizabeth Davis, who grills Sullenberger at the NTSB investigation proceedings. The movie earned acclaim, particularly for Eastwood’s direction and Hanks’s leading performance.
Scarface is one of the most divisive crime movies ever made. Directed by Brian De Palma, Scarface follows the rise of drug boss Tony Montana in 1980s Miami. Many love the movie’s excesses and its bombastic violence, while others find it a little too ridiculous to be taken seriously.
Mark Margolis, who plays Hector Salamanca in both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, briefly appears in the movie as a henchman of Alejandro Sosa’s named “Shadow.” The role is small, but Breaking Bad fans are sure to recognize him immediately.
Do The Right Thing (1989)
Often regarded as Spike Lee’s masterpiece, Do the Right Thing was produced, written, and directed by the legendary filmmaker. Giancarlo Esposito has worked with Lee on numerous occasions, appearing in School Daze, Mo’ Better Blues, and Malcolm X.
In Do the Right Thing he plays a character simply named Buggin’ Out. Buggin’ Out begins a confrontation with Sal owing to his restaurant’s Wall of Fame, which is full of Italian Americans. As the restaurant is in a predominantly black neighborhood, Buggin’ Out wants the wall filled with African Americans. It culminates in a deadly confrontation.