The sixth and final season of AMC television series ‘Better Call Saul’ concluded in August 15, 2022 with a 69-minute capper that gave us one last chance at saying goodbye to our favorite TV lawyer in Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), and brought the entire ‘Breaking Bad’ universe to satisfying conclusion. Eight years ago when the prequel show was announced, many scoffed at the idea of a ‘Breaking Bad’ comedy spin-off centered around the shady and cowardly lawyer that aided Walter White in becoming a feared meth kingpin. But if this final stretch run by co-creator Vince Gilligan has cemented anything, is that ‘Better Call Saul’ didn’t just ride to coattails of its parent show, but built upon its foundation to become one of the flagship dramas of the past decade — with many putting it on the same pedestal as ‘Breaking Bad’.
We have assembled ten movies that should come in handy once you’ve completed all six seasons. The series might be over, but these titles should keep you covered while you cope with the post-binge blues.
1. Sicario (2015)
There’s two types of ‘Better Call Saul’ aficionados — the first can’t get enough of Jimmy’s (il)legal shenanigans, while others gravitates towards the classic crime subplots involving the Salamanca clan, Gustavo Fring and Eladio Fuente among many others. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with liking both aspects of the show, but if you fancy yourself as part of the second group, and you’re currently aching for more high-wire cartel-drama down south the Mexican border, we have just the right film for you.
‘Sicario’ is an uncompromising look at the unwinnable and perpetual War on Drugs that continues to ravage North America as seen through the eyes of an FBI task force that is sent near the border to conduct an elaborate drug-busting operation. You might have recently heard of the man behind the camera, Denis Villeneuve, for his 2021 space epic adaptation of ‘Dune’. ‘Sicario’ is no less accomplished, with plenty of bravura sequences that will keep you on the edge of your seat, more notably an unforgettable raid scene at Juárez. If you liked watching Saul and Mike down on their luck trying to smuggle $7 million in bail money through the desert in season five’s ‘Bagman’, this film will scratch that itch.
2. No Country for Old Men (2007)
Vince Gilligan knows that having a compelling villain is tantamount to creating compelling drama. From Tuco, Fring, the Twins, Jack Welker and his neo-nazi gang to Walter White himself, ‘Breaking Bad’ delivered those in spades. The creators proudly continued the tradition all throughout ‘Better Call Saul’, with Lalo Salamanca quickly establishing himself as one of the top-tier foes ever penned by the showrunner.
Critics and fans have recently sung the praises of Tony Dalton for his unforgettable turn in ‘Saul’. But when it comes to on-screen villains in recent memory, few can compare to the laconic, bowl-cut serial killer seen in this Best Picture-winning movie by the Coen Brothers. Anton Chighurn, masterfully brought to life by heavyweight actor Javier Bardem, not only took the world — and moviegoers — by storm, but instantly bled into the zeitgeist to become this generation’s Villain with capital-V. Watching this psychopathic hitman chase off a trail of money and savagely destroy everything and everyone in his wake can only be described as a morbidly enthralling spectacle. From the visual palette, slow-burn narrative, and existential dread that pervades all throughout the film, it’s no wonder ’No Country for Old Men’ has been cited as an inspiration for the series.
3. Uncut Gems (2019)
Jimmy McGill, later known as Saul Goodman, can be described in layman’s terms as a proverbial loser who knows no better than to dangle on the edge of oblivion time and time again against his better judgment. And yet, whether it’s watching him forge legal documents, prank coworkers, rob malls or manipulate sweet old ladies, there’s an unmistakable charm to good ol’ Jimmy that makes us grudgingly root for him to get away with it all.
Our next film is one that follows yet another flawed but loveable anti-hero who, much like Jimmy, gets roped into chaotic spirals of self-obliteration at every turn. The man in question is one Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a compulsive Manhattan diamond dealer who keeps pushing his luck through a series of unhinged gambling sprees involving basketball legend Kevin Garnett, a mysterious Ethiopian black opal, and an ever-growing black hole of mounting debts. Sibling directors Josh and Benny Safdie have already established themselves as second to none when it comes to getting under our skin, and it’s hard to argue against ‘Gems’ being their most exasperating film to date.
We dare you to sit through the entire thing and not be reminded of Jimmy’s chicanery as you watch Adam Sandler run crazy loops around his life.
4. Nobody (2021)
It would be downright criminal to make a list of ‘Better Call Saul’ recommendations without featuring both the heart and soul of the show himself, Mr. Bob Odenkirk. Though mostly known for his comedic chops after cutting his teeth for years on SNL, the actor nevertheless managed to land a juicy lead role in a blood-pumping, high-testosterone action flick from the same writers that brought you ‘John Wick’.
Odenkirk brings all the dry wit and easy presence we’ve grown to love him for as Hutch Mansell, a depressingly boring middle-aged suburban dad whose daily routine involves reading spreadsheets, pouring coffee, and feeling emasculated at home. That is, until his seemingly mundane existence comes crashing down in front of his eyes after a couple of burglars invade his home. What follows is an ultimate middle-aged man revenge fantasy where this hapless loser stops at nothing to lay waste on his perpetrators. If that sounds awfully similar to the 2014 Keanu-led actioner, it’s because the writers did rehash the same story beats and motifs here. But hey, watching good guy Bob kick some ass and pull off sick stunts is arguably worth the price of admission alone.
5. Fargo (1996)
It can be argued that some of the best comedies in recent memory have been delivered under the guise of prestigious crime drama. David Lynch and Mark Frost paved the way back in 1990 with ‘Twin Peaks’, a groundbreaking, dreamy soap opera that ran the gamut from jovial to cheesy to utterly terrifying throughout its three seasons. HBO’s ‘The Sopranos’, the landmark series that followed the exploits of a depressed New Jersey mob boss, soon became the measuring stick by which all other dark comedies would be judged in television, after essentially setting the template for subsequent hit cable dramas like ‘Mad Men’, ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Barry’ or ‘Better Call Saul’.
All of the aforementioned shows share one fundamental trait; seamlessly blending humor and violence only to find bitter irony in the twists of fate and absurdity of crime. Arguably no film encapsulates these themes better than ‘Fargo’, the dark comedy to rule all dark comedies — a stone-cold classic constructed upon a pileup of reckless misconceptions, greedy losers, mild-mannered cops with folksy charm, and petty criminals undone by their own carelessness. Any enthusiast of the Coen movie is obviously encouraged to check out the phenomenal FX television series the 1996 film inspired if they haven’t already.