Saturday, June 30, 2018

"Breaking Bad" and the 2001: A Space Odyssey Monolith

Friday night, I saw the 50th anniversary, 70 mm roadshow film version of Stanley Kubrick's “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and I wondered if there might be any 2001 references buried in "Breaking Bad." Possibly. The monolith in 2001 had physical dimensions of 1:4:9 (representing the squares of the first three prime numbers). The tall sign for Albuquerque's Crossroads Motel in "Breaking Bad" also has a 9:4 aspect ratio. The sign lies on its side, like the Star Gate orbiting Jupiter in 2001.

The critic Rob Ager has noted the monolith represents the film screen itself, "a transitionary doorway in and out of the film narrative." At the Crossroads Motel the doorway might be to the past, to its namesake, London's Crystal Palace of 1851.

The doorway motif reappears several times in "Breaking Bad" - for example, in Georgia O'Keeffe's Doorway painting. Several story lines in "Breaking Bad" may be based on Stephen King's "Night Shift," a collection of horror stories, including 'I Am The Doorway.'

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