I am guilty of a heinous crime. It’s not something I am proud of, but I can admit when I have erred. The mistake I speak of? Not getting through season 4 of “Breaking Bad” in time to watch the season premier last Sunday with the rest of the world and experience it live. I’m usually much better at things like this, because I hate to be the person who has to politely ask fellow commuters on the train to lower their voices when they start talking about plot twists. I’ve been adamantly avoiding entertainment sites, fearful I would see revealing content; I’ve been boycotting Facebook, terrified I would see a post that would ruin my current plot line and I’ve literally screamed at my co-workers to “shut the door!” when discussing last Sunday’s premier so as not to overhear anything. Well, I’m happy to report that I am almost ready to rejoin the world, having finished season 4 last night. I’ll get to the premiere tonight, leaving me hungry, amped and on schedule to catch the next episode, live, on Sunday night. Go me!
The finale of season 4 left me speechless, mouth agape and humbled by the writing team for what they concocted. I feel like I owe the writers and the producers an apology for not having watched the show live, which would have helped contribute to their ratings success. That is how good it was. The only thing I could mumble after the show actually wrapped was the word “brilliant.” So total spoiler alert here, the direction this blog is about to take is going to go into detail about one very specific element revealed in the season 4 finale so if you are even more behind than me, please proceed with caution. Today, I would like to discuss our favorite pop-culture make-up jobs of all time.
I’m not talking beauty make-up. I’m talking shocking, wow, how-did-they-do-that creations where you can’t believe what you are looking at on screen and where where you are forced to take a moment to acknowledge both the make-up artist and the talent as you think about how many hours were spent achieving the look. I’m also looking for moments that aren’t just gory for the sake of being gory, but that legitimately contribute to the plot/scene of the movie/tv show/music video you are watching. Gustavo Fring’s final on-camera moment on “Breaking Bad” is just that sort of moment.
I’m so hesitant to reveal too much as I just can’t imagine spoiling this scene for anyone but we are treated to a shot of Gustavo that makes Harvey Dent’s (Aaron Eckhart from The Dark Knight’s) make-up job seem amateur. It’s a frontal view of his face, half unharmed, half simply skeleton, with a little blood. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s the most shocking TV make-up moment I have ever seen.
We need to roll the clock back a bit for my second favorite TV make-up moment, all the way back to 1993, to Michael Mancini’s beach house, during season 2 of “Melrose Place.” Having previously slipped into a coma and declared dead – the result of a drunken car accident – Kimberly returns to take her revenge on Michael, the driver of the car. After reconciling, Kimberly slips into the bathroom where she takes off her wig to reveal a huge, nasty scar running down the entire side of her left brain. You are left to wonder how far this mentally deranged person is willing to go to get her revenge. I still remember screaming (just a little) as I watched the reveal on my mother’s bed.
Switching to movies, I’d like to give some credit to the make-up team over on the original Men in Black film, who created what was repeatedly referred to during the film as the Edger suit. Vincent D’Onofrio was made to look like a giant alien bug had borrowed his skin to maintain a human facade while terrorizing planet earth. The best scene? When he forces the NYC cab driver to take him to Queens by opening up his mouth and literally letting the bugs crawl out. EWWWWW!
And finally, in honor of the upcoming release of The Dark Knight Rises, I’d like to recognize the genius that went into creating Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight. Now we all know that Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker himself was simply outstanding and that his creepy mannerisms (licking his lips every few words was what did it for me) truly brought the character’s insanity to life, but I think the make-up was so perfect, that the character or the performance wouldn’t have been the same had the make-up job been different. The slight scarring on the cheeks, the red/white/green face paint. It was so eerie and deranged… it just made the movie.
Gustavo Fringe from Breaking Bad
Kimberly Shaw from Melrose Place
Edgar Suit from Men in Black
The Joker from The Dark Knight