The Ballad of Buster Scruggs - Coen Brothers Netflix series turned portmanteau movie

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2PyxzSH1HM

Six different stories, got to be one or two gems in there surely.

Dan Worsley, Friday, 14 September 2018 18:56 (five years ago) link

I'm into it

been in a super-western mood lately, myself

Οὖτις, Friday, 14 September 2018 19:03 (five years ago) link

Very excited for this, don't care if some of them are dumb

change display name (Jordan), Friday, 14 September 2018 19:05 (five years ago) link

excellent cast, as would be expected

Οὖτις, Friday, 14 September 2018 19:08 (five years ago) link

two months pass...

with the exception of the Kazan story, this all felt totally inconsequential

devvvine, Friday, 16 November 2018 21:04 (five years ago) link

that was my inkling

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 16 November 2018 22:25 (five years ago) link

much of it looks really ugly as well, really horrible colouring/contrast

devvvine, Friday, 16 November 2018 22:33 (five years ago) link

It’s absolutely terrible. Like a joke they decided to play on Netflix.

Chris L, Saturday, 17 November 2018 02:47 (five years ago) link

I kind of loved it

wayne trotsky (Simon H.), Saturday, 17 November 2018 04:56 (five years ago) link

what does that mean?

brokenshire (jed_), Saturday, 17 November 2018 04:59 (five years ago) link

you're too smart to make a post like that, Simon.

brokenshire (jed_), Saturday, 17 November 2018 05:03 (five years ago) link

I'm through the first three tales right now and will resume later this weekend, but I... love it too?

I'm dumb I guess.

Johnny Fever, Saturday, 17 November 2018 05:10 (five years ago) link

I assure you I'm not too smart for anything!

I found it had a cumulative effect that I don't want to get too deeply into before more people have a chance to watch. I do recommend Adam Nayman's piece for The Ringer, though.

wayne trotsky (Simon H.), Saturday, 17 November 2018 05:20 (five years ago) link

Also, I think the bros made the right move cramming these stories into one 130-minute movie rather than lavishing all of them with 45 to 60 minutes apiece. I have to imagine at least a few would have dragged considerably.

wayne trotsky (Simon H.), Saturday, 17 November 2018 06:10 (five years ago) link

That said, I think this will be the most common reaction for most audiences:

Report: Holy Shit, There Still 50 Minutes Left In Movie https://t.co/yU7eUVHY5N pic.twitter.com/yCwEVJnz5d

— The Onion (@TheOnion) November 17, 2018

wayne trotsky (Simon H.), Saturday, 17 November 2018 06:37 (five years ago) link

I had to go an hour and a half into the suburbs to get to the one cinema showing it here, but it turns out once you get that far, all tickets are $4 (or $5.50 for 3D)

fucking loved it, would definitely recommend taking a break after the third or fourth if you're watching it on Netflix though

much of it looks really ugly as well, really horrible colouring/contrast

yeah, at the very least the four middle pieces would have benefited from being shot on film, even if still graded as intensely (O Brother is fine by me). the bookends each have such a deliberate artificial tone that it's not necessarily a detriment. and the setting of the final piece may have been easier to shoot with what seemed to be smaller crappier camera? idk

Bing The Mighty Seat (sic), Saturday, 17 November 2018 08:54 (five years ago) link

can understand others getting more out of this tone of coens but people saying this is their best looking film is mind boggling

devvvine, Saturday, 17 November 2018 14:28 (five years ago) link

the digital look didn't bug me, it was clear they were going for a "constructed" look rather than the more classical western vibe of say True Grit

wayne trotsky (Simon H.), Saturday, 17 November 2018 15:22 (five years ago) link

Garbage

F# A# (∞), Monday, 19 November 2018 02:09 (five years ago) link

I thought this was fun, though I was in and out of the room so I really only watched Ballad, the Tom Waits gold bit, and the last part with the carriage o'doom. I wasnt looking to be all Comic Book Guy about the film stock though, so ... eh.

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Monday, 19 November 2018 05:27 (five years ago) link

summary of opinions expressed so far:

  • inconsequential
  • terrible
  • kind of loved it
  • love it?
  • fucking loved it
  • garbage
  • fun
so, one can see a consensus starting to emerge here, if one stands across the room, is drunk, and squints very hard

A is for (Aimless), Monday, 19 November 2018 05:42 (five years ago) link

I missed the longest middle drawn out sombre stories so may have had less of a positivwe take if I'd sat thru the whole thing. The whole YOU HAVE DIED OF DYSENTERY oregon trail bit I did tap out on tbrh.

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Monday, 19 November 2018 05:49 (five years ago) link

Plenny a good westerns

This aint one ovvum yahear

F# A# (∞), Monday, 19 November 2018 05:54 (five years ago) link

but was it good enough to be entertaining?

A is for (Aimless), Monday, 19 November 2018 05:58 (five years ago) link

it's ~entertaining~, but it's six longish short films that are all about death, and how everything we do on earth is striving pointlessly to fill our time and find some diversion and fulfillment during the eyeblink of time that we spend here. a couple of them are comedies.

Bing The Mighty Seat (sic), Monday, 19 November 2018 06:28 (five years ago) link

this is brilliant. get fucked, ilx

. (Michael B), Monday, 19 November 2018 09:46 (five years ago) link

I'm not sure I like the Coen bros very much, but liked this quite a lot. The short story format means everything has to get to the point, means there's a lot of things to think about. I'm not sure it adds up to anything more than some fairly boring points about life and death and frontier existence.

Frederik B, Monday, 19 November 2018 13:00 (five years ago) link

this made me realize I want to see a movie with Tom Waits and Nick Nolte as long-retired PIs chasing down one last case.

wayne trotsky (Simon H.), Monday, 19 November 2018 14:19 (five years ago) link

This thread has not yet dampened my anticipation for existential Coen westernisms in the comfort of my home.

change display name (Jordan), Monday, 19 November 2018 14:23 (five years ago) link

The Western tropes and the goofiness of the opening/titular segment disguise the fact that this has much more in common tonally and thematically with A Serious Man than with any of their other Westerns or comedies, imo

wayne trotsky (Simon H.), Monday, 19 November 2018 14:26 (five years ago) link

Will watch Tom Waits part and then remove from list.

Yerac, Monday, 19 November 2018 14:34 (five years ago) link

Stick around for the following episode, you will not regret it.

I enjoyed all of these, except for Meal Ticket, which took its sweet time getting to a very obvious point.

oder doch?, Monday, 19 November 2018 14:55 (five years ago) link

I guess I took it as less "obvious" than "inevitable," the natural result of the simple, ruthless everyday calculus. But I found it affecting nonetheless.

wayne trotsky (Simon H.), Monday, 19 November 2018 14:58 (five years ago) link

the bookends each have such a deliberate artificial tone that it's not necessarily a detriment

rewatched most of it on TV and the day-for-"night" section of the last story looks like dogshit

Bing The Mighty Seat (sic), Tuesday, 20 November 2018 07:07 (five years ago) link

I've had the Surly Joe song stuck in my head for the last two days :(

paolo, Tuesday, 20 November 2018 09:43 (five years ago) link

I thought the first story was some brilliant genre satire, and the last one an unnerving meta-commentary on the whole thing, and the four stories in between varying degrees of good to very good. The digital photography bothered me until it didn't, and the Waits story was beautifully shot (the day-for-night stuff in the finale looked phoney, sure, but in a silent movie way that I kind of admired). I didn't even recognize Waits, but I'd get behind a Best Supporting Actor campaign if he's eligible (still not sure how the whole Netflix thing works re: awards). Also, James Franco's best performance either since Freaks and Geeks or ever, for whatever that's worth.

Timothée Charalambides (cryptosicko), Thursday, 22 November 2018 17:45 (five years ago) link

I didn't even recognize Franco or a full minute or two because he didn't look like an underfed stringbean. Dude should keep some meat on his bones.

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 22 November 2018 20:37 (five years ago) link

I'm sure I've said this somewhere before, but as much as everyone hates to admit it, Franco is a pretty consistently strong actor

wayne trotsky (Simon H.), Thursday, 22 November 2018 20:43 (five years ago) link

i didn't quite bust my scruggs to this but it was a diverting 2 hours and change.

( ͡☉ ͜ʖ ͡☉) (jim in vancouver), Thursday, 22 November 2018 20:58 (five years ago) link

I liked Franco's bit. "First time?" made me lol.

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Friday, 23 November 2018 00:29 (five years ago) link

He's good at doing that bewildered "wtf is going on" thing.

Stoop Crone (Trayce), Friday, 23 November 2018 00:29 (five years ago) link

I’m sure Franco’s been in loads of rubbish, but he’s capable to v good in the things I’ve seen him in

the next film I saw in the cinema after Scruggs was Addams Family Values (for the first time), lol at the range of unexpected Krumholtzery in the pair

Bing The Mighty Seat (sic), Friday, 23 November 2018 08:58 (five years ago) link

this was so good

iatee, Saturday, 24 November 2018 04:41 (five years ago) link

I also loved it. Giving owl looks to the haters.

Tom: I do all the bills. (Sufjan Grafton), Saturday, 24 November 2018 07:25 (five years ago) link

This is excellent. My fave Cohens since "A Serious Man".

An Uphill Battle For Legumes (Capitaine Jay Vee), Saturday, 24 November 2018 13:55 (five years ago) link

The Kazan one kind of dragged for me. And there was a missed opportunity not showing the Arthur character attempt to deliver the bad news without making it seem like HE did it to keep Billy as an employee... and yes that may or may not be the “obvious” consequence teased in the closing scene but I imagine most people assume it is just meant to imply “Arthur is dreading giving his buddy the sad news”.

Everything leading up to that moment felt a little slow watching them think through how she will negotiate her financial issue, and then the proposal conversation... Maybe I just wasn’t detecting enough chemistry? idk

Evan, Saturday, 24 November 2018 15:09 (five years ago) link

I kind of liked the anti-romantic nature of their courtship

Number None, Saturday, 24 November 2018 15:25 (five years ago) link

I don't think the possible consequence Evn mentions is supported by what we know about those characters.

For me that segment works for the ambiguity of Arthur's level of engagement with the situation (until the climax), the herky-jerky rhythms of Billy and Alice's courtship, and of course the Coens' facility for building a little nested comic tragedy of tiny errors and massive consequences out of not much of anything.

resident hack (Simon H.), Saturday, 24 November 2018 15:49 (five years ago) link

buster being a live action looney tunes character was unexpected and ridiculous

mh, Saturday, 24 November 2018 19:42 (five years ago) link

I've had the Surly Joe song stuck in my head for the last two days :(

― paolo, Tuesday, November 20, 2018 4:43 AM (five days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Likewise. The soundtrack is on Spotify, but I just found that "Surly Joe" doesn't play nearly as well out of context. Carter Burwell's score is (typically) beautiful, though.

Timothée Charalambides (cryptosicko), Sunday, 25 November 2018 19:58 (five years ago) link

what if leprechauns were just a mythical representation of claim jumpers the whole time? always hoarding gold, just out of our reach

mh, Wednesday, 12 December 2018 03:53 (five years ago) link

In the original Jack London story, the fact that the gold does NOT belong to the claim jumper is absolutely essential to the story. Even hinting that this was in some way a legitimate act, protecting the murderer's legitimate rights to the gold turns the entire story on its head.

But such a reversal of roles makes zero sense. The deeper moral outrage of the story is predicated on the idea that, not only does the stranger murder the prospector for the gold, but he purposely waits around before killing him, so the prospector would do all the hard physical work for him. He not just greedy and violent, he's lazy, too.

A is for (Aimless), Wednesday, 12 December 2018 04:01 (five years ago) link

did anyone imply the claim jumper was ever in the right

mh, Wednesday, 12 December 2018 04:12 (five years ago) link

I mean, it would be implied if he was a leprechaun...

change display name (Jordan), Wednesday, 12 December 2018 04:13 (five years ago) link

so mythical beings have property rights now? pshaw

mh, Wednesday, 12 December 2018 04:19 (five years ago) link

ersatz pshaw. I'm not buying it.

A is for (Aimless), Wednesday, 12 December 2018 04:32 (five years ago) link

I need to rewatch, but I totally think it's possible the Coens saw the Leprechaun parallels and played into it a bit without literally trying to say the dude was a Leprechaun.

― circa1916, Tuesday, December 11, 2018 8:28 PM (three hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Thank you! Seriously...

Evan, Wednesday, 12 December 2018 04:47 (five years ago) link

Just what are the property rights of leprechauns, this needs to be sorted out

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 12 December 2018 05:22 (five years ago) link

They own this shit over here, ok?

https://media.fromthegrapevine.com/assets/images/2017/2/rainbow-israel-0208.jpg.480x0_q71_crop-scale.jpg

Evan, Wednesday, 12 December 2018 05:42 (five years ago) link

Aimless otm

“claim jumper is a leprechaun” makes the whole story so on the nose as to be pointless. leave Johnny Fever to his lucky charms fanfic, i beg you all

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 12 December 2018 06:31 (five years ago) link

hmmm, you eat lucky charms from a cereal bowl

Sufjan Grafton, Wednesday, 12 December 2018 07:15 (five years ago) link

I started watching this. First 2 segments are solid gold. 3rd is weird but kind of interesting. 4th is kinda boring so far.

o. nate, Saturday, 15 December 2018 03:47 (five years ago) link

I generally liked this! No outright bad episodes -- though the most promising, with Zoe Kazan and Bill Heck, is where I overdosed on the cruelty -- and several ace ones, including the Tom Waits prospector and "The Meal Ticket."

I am familiar with counting chickens in sideshows.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 20 December 2018 05:36 (five years ago) link

Yeah, “Meal Ticket” and “The Prospector” are def the two that have stayed with me the most, I still think about them a lot.

also where do you stand on ‘claimjumper is a leprechaun’

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 20 December 2018 05:48 (five years ago) link

hadn't occurred to me, sure n' begorrah

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 20 December 2018 11:37 (five years ago) link

I'm willing to accept the guy as a leprechaun because it's not the only, or even the most, unrealistic thing in the episode. The prospector gets shot in the back and just carries on like nbd? They're both supernatural beings!

WmC, Thursday, 20 December 2018 13:46 (five years ago) link

I honestly thought that happens all the time in the US tbh.

calzino, Thursday, 20 December 2018 13:52 (five years ago) link

"Hyper-resilient old prospector" makes more sense to me in the context of a Western homage than "gun-wielding, smoking, human-sized leprechaun stopping by from Celtic myths to protect a pocket of gold".

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Thursday, 20 December 2018 14:31 (five years ago) link

Tbf I never said he WAS a leprechaun, I said he LOOKED like a leprechaun

Οὖτις, Thursday, 20 December 2018 15:30 (five years ago) link

I need to rewatch, but I totally think it's possible the Coens saw the Leprechaun parallels and played into it a bit without literally trying to say the dude was a Leprechaun.

― circa1916, Tuesday, December 11, 2018 8:28 PM (three hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I need to rewatch, but I totally think it's possible the Coens saw the Leprechaun parallels and played into it a bit without literally trying to say the dude was a Leprechaun.

― circa1916, Tuesday, December 11, 2018 8:28 PM (three hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I need to rewatch, but I totally think it's possible the Coens saw the Leprechaun parallels and played into it a bit without literally trying to say the dude was a Leprechaun.

― circa1916, Tuesday, December 11, 2018 8:28 PM (three hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Evan, Thursday, 20 December 2018 15:51 (five years ago) link

"Hyper-resilient old prospector" makes more sense to me in the context of a Western homage than "gun-wielding, smoking, human-sized leprechaun stopping by from Celtic myths to protect a pocket of gold".

― Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Thursday, December 20, 2018 9:31 AM (one hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Coen Brothers, meet Neil Gaiman's American Gods. Gaiman, meet the Coen Brothers.

I Feel Bad About My Butt (j.lu), Thursday, 20 December 2018 15:59 (five years ago) link

The prospector gets shot in the back and just carries on like nbd?

IT DINT HIT NOTHIN' IMPORTANT

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 20 December 2018 17:25 (five years ago) link

Johnny Fever originated the leprechaun theory, and as far as I can tell he did mean a literal leprechaun

Number None, Thursday, 20 December 2018 17:26 (five years ago) link

yeah, well

Οὖτις, Thursday, 20 December 2018 17:28 (five years ago) link

btw Nelson, Kazan and Bill Heck did a Q&A after the screening at MoMA last night. Nelson said he first saw a script or treatment for his segment in 2002, I think?

Kazan said she prepared by re-reading Willa Cather. Not the history ("I'd done a shit-ton of research for Meek's Cutoff" -- which i'd forgotten she was in).

The digitalness of the imagery was distracting at times, like in the opening scene, where I doubt TB Nelson was anywhere near Monument Valley.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 20 December 2018 17:30 (five years ago) link

The whole YOU HAVE DIED OF DYSENTERY oregon trail bit I did tap out on tbrh

cholera, i'm pretty sure

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 20 December 2018 18:18 (five years ago) link

this was def the hottest i've seen Franco looking in years... but Bill Heck tops him (heh heh)

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 20 December 2018 21:17 (five years ago) link

I not only found Franco attractive in the film (which is rare) but I actually enjoyed his performance (which is even rarer).

Timothée Charalambides (cryptosicko), Thursday, 20 December 2018 21:50 (five years ago) link

I feel like there was some kind of deliberate cross-reference between "PAN SHOT" and "PRAIRIE DOG" or whatever the wagon train guy yelled

sleeve, Thursday, 20 December 2018 21:53 (five years ago) link

the first episode is an extended Singing Cowboy joke... it's hard to believe how many singing cowboys on film there were in the '30s and '40s. Roy Rogers was the only one who endured.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 20 December 2018 22:22 (five years ago) link

I was trying to think of a name of another one besides Roy while watching it and sadly drew a blank

Οὖτις, Thursday, 20 December 2018 22:26 (five years ago) link

Gene Autry was the only other one I'm really familiar with

Οὖτις, Thursday, 20 December 2018 22:26 (five years ago) link

Yeah gene autry has endured. His Xmas songs get a lot of play

( ͡☉ ͜ʖ ͡☉) (jim in vancouver), Thursday, 20 December 2018 22:28 (five years ago) link

I watched a Ken Maynard one the other night for lols and it was weird as hell.

WmC, Thursday, 20 December 2018 22:29 (five years ago) link

Yes, Autry def #2 (and possibly richer!) but have you ever seen any of his films? My God, there are 97 on Letterboxd; I wonder how many exceed 55 minutes, or weren't serials.

Check out the plot of this one:

https://letterboxd.com/film/the-phantom-empire-1935/

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 20 December 2018 22:33 (five years ago) link

sounds right up my alley

Οὖτις, Thursday, 20 December 2018 22:48 (five years ago) link

Yeah I wasn't responding to circa or Shakey.

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Thursday, 20 December 2018 23:56 (five years ago) link

two months pass...

I'm on team leprechaun, you guys don't deserve JF.

Van Horn Street, Wednesday, 20 February 2019 04:26 (five years ago) link

rmde

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 20 February 2019 04:27 (five years ago) link

Leprechaun lies in the eyes of the beholder imo

Van Horn Street, Wednesday, 20 February 2019 04:29 (five years ago) link

You can think any damn thing you like. Just don't pester me with your sad delusions.

A is for (Aimless), Wednesday, 20 February 2019 04:34 (five years ago) link

^ not new board description

steven, soda jerk (sic), Wednesday, 20 February 2019 04:45 (five years ago) link

five years pass...

Coen Bros are not good with digital effects. You'd think those cottonfields in O Brother with the green desaturated out would've taught them something. Or at the very least, that technology would have improved in 20 years.

There's an evening scene in the Nebraska segment where Alice is interrupting Billy's dinner YET AGAIN, and his red kerchief is just all fuzzy. I don't mind getting set up for stuff like Buster patting himself and leaving a Buster-shaped cloud of dust, but the kerchief or the rainbow appearing over the prospector when he finds Mr. Pocket just took me out of it.

pplains, Monday, 6 May 2024 02:10 (one month ago) link

I dunno, they're part of a huge, *huge* number of established filmmakers for whom that's just not a dimension of life they tend to engage with. I'm sure there are a couple counter-examples, but generally speaking those old(er) dogs aren't about to pick up new tricks. The answer is to fork over dough to more Dee Rees-es and fewer Scorseses, not hoping the latter will suddenly privilege the experiences of [insert marginalized group here].

― resident hack (Simon H.), Tuesday, 27 November 2018 15:39 (five years ago) bookmarkflaglink

Little did we know!

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 6 May 2024 02:30 (one month ago) link

Old dog/new tricks doubters... could never be me

The first act of this movie I remember fondly. The rest? Shot out the ol memory hole as soon as I finished (except for the franco meme viralization)

H.P, Monday, 6 May 2024 03:01 (one month ago) link

The main thing that pops into my head when I think about this movie is this exchange above:

WmC: The prospector gets shot in the back and just carries on like nbd?

Dr Morbius: IT DINT HIT NOTHIN' IMPORTANT

o. nate, Monday, 6 May 2024 14:25 (one month ago) link

Haha. Mostly I remember the Tom Waits sequence from this movie, and pretty vividly.

Jordan s/t (Jordan), Monday, 6 May 2024 14:35 (one month ago) link

The first act of this movie I remember fondly. The rest? Shot out the ol memory hole as soon as I finished (except for the franco meme viralization)

― H.P, Monday, 6 May 2024 03:01 (twelve hours ago) link

Weird, same. I reread a post of mine upthread about how a certain segment dragged for me. I have absolutely no memory or clue what I'm referring to.

Evan, Monday, 6 May 2024 15:27 (one month ago) link

The more I think about the last chapter being filmed completely on a sound stage, the more I think how distracting and unnecessary the digital effects were.

A matted sunset, colored stage lights, camera lens filters... Crazy how 2019 technology doesn't come close to matching the realism of 1939 technology (IN THIS CASE.)

pplains, Monday, 6 May 2024 15:47 (one month ago) link

one month passes...

Just showed my dad the first three segments and he loved it. Said it reminded him of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Bellend Sebastian (S-), Sunday, 9 June 2024 07:26 (five days ago) link


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