In 2006, “Little Miss Sunshine” debuted in theaters at the height of a renewed interest in independent dramedies thanks to films like “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “Garden State.” Whereas Wes Anderson’s “The Royal Tenenbaums” is ironic and detached, Zach Braff’s “Garden State” is heartfelt and sincere. The tone of “Little Miss Sunshine” lands somewhere in between the two, never quite matching the melodramatic highs of “Garden State,” but far more earnest in its approach to comedy than Wes Anderson’s.
“Little Miss Sunshine” also notably features an all-star cast spanning generations. The film includes performances by Alan Arkin (for which he won an Oscar), Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, and the relatively new Paul Dano. At the movie’s center is Abigail Breslin, who was only 10 years old at the time of the film’s release.
In a sense, “Breaking Bad” is many things “Little Miss Sunshine” is not. The tone of “Breaking Bad,” for example, is largely serious. And while its lead Bryan Cranston was already a well-known name before the series premiere, his co-stars were largely unknown prior to their appearances on the show. It may come as a surprise, then, that “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Breaking Bad” share some notable DNA.