Entertainment

09.25.13

‘Breaking Bad’ Meets ‘Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium’… And It Is Glorious

‘Breaking Bad’s’ tip of the Heisenberg cap to ‘Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium’ was bizarre, and prompted ‘Magorium’ director Zach Helm to mock his own film. But it wasn’t the first TV show or movie to reference the notorious fantasy-comedy.

Breaking Bad is a critically acclaimed drama about a high school chemistry teacher turned meth dealer. It has been nominated for countless awards, and recently won the Emmy for Outstanding Drama. Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium is a 2007 fantasy film about a magical toy store where toys have lives of their own. It has a 37% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s hard to imagine two more dissimilar projects. However, as Sunday night's episode of Breaking Bad taught us, opposites clearly attract.

The penultimate episode of the series found Walter White (Bryan Cranston) alone in a New Hampshire cabin. Adding insult to injury, the antihero was left with a cable-less TV, and only a copy of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. Actually, make that two copiesBreaking Bad has featured shootouts, sinister poisonings, and uber-dramatic character arcs, but the concept of anyone actually owning two copies of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium is by far the show’s most unrealistic plotline yet. Zach Helm, the writer/director of the campy film, is as dubious as anyone. He told TMZ that the idea of anyone having two copies of the movie is simply unbelievable, claiming, “that is exactly two more copies than are allowed in my house.” However, the writer/director agrees that being forced to watch his film is “the perfect Kafka-esque Hell for a character of such moral ambiguity as Walter White.”

But this isn’t Mr. Magorium’s first hilarious star turn. In 2009, Sacha Baron Cohen’s mockumentary Bruno satirized American culture at large, and took a few easy shots at the universally derided movie. In this (soon-to-be-iconic) clip, Bruno’s gay bondage fetish takes a dark turn when he finds himself on the verge of accidentally purchasing what he calls “Mr. Magorium’s Wunderbar Emporium.” Bruno might have a daring sexual appetite and very low standards of hygiene, but he will not stand the indignity of actually paying money for this film. Even the homophobic hotel employee has to admit that the situation is “very unfortunate.” Mr. Magorium’s worthlessness transcends barriers; it’s practically inspirational!

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Other directors soon caught on to the fact that Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, despite being an awkwardly long movie title, makes for a relatively quick punchline. I Love You Man, the 2009 comedy, features multiple references to the film. 

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It seems like Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium is a film which will live in infamy for quite some time.