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The Ballad of Buster Scruggs - Coens + Netflix

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The Coen Brothers are coming to Netflix with The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, in 2018.

 

It's a 6 part western anthology series set in the frontiers of the American West. Each episode tells a different story, tied together by Buster Scruggs, played by Tim Blake Nelson. The Coens are writing and directing.

 

Quote

"We are streaming motherfuckers!," said Joel Coen and Ethan Coen.

 

[edit]

 

Now a movie instead of TV series.

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A Coen Brothers TV series could go either way, really. I'd be worried that the extra time would let them indulge themselves with all the random digressions that spoiled, say, Hail Caesar. But maybe that extra time will give them more room to breathe, and let the story and the quirky asides co-exist more happily. 

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I enjoyed this but it dragged a fair bit which is surprising considering it was a bunch of short stories.  Most of the stories are tragic and I'm not sure I got the point of all of them.

 

 

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3 hours ago, JPickford said:

Most of the stories are tragic and I'm not sure I got the point of all of them.

 

Welcome to Coen brothers films.

 

Joking aside though, I really enjoyed these. I think there was a very strongly nihilistic vibe across them that could be read a number of ways.

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Well, indeed. I loved how slow-paced some of it was. I could watch Tom Waits panning for gold all day. It looked absolutely beautiful in HDR, too.

 

It got me thinking how cool a Coens-written RDR would be. The answer is very.

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I think the Tom Waits segment was the best of the short stories, but they are all superb. In that one:

 

Spoiler

I liked how obviously shaken the kid was. He did a bad thing but it was obvious from his body language that he had never killed before, and could well have been desperate, for reasons unknown. The pristine landscape being slowly dug up by human obsession was a subtle tragedy that I was expecting to get worse if anyone else found out there was gold there. The photography was also utterly stunning. They used different filtering in each story but the slightly oversaturated but natural look of this one gave it an almost dreamlike quality.

 

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I had no idea this was a collection of short stories when started watching, so at the end of the first one I was like WTF?!! But thankfully every chapter was superb, is it too soon to be calling it a modern classic?

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This was surprisingly meanspirited. I mean, I enjoyed it, but it's kinda nasty.

 

And it was a bit bizarre to go from all these spectacular America midwest vistas filmed on location to a bunch of British actors filmed in Pinewood with possibly the most obvious green-screen setup for the last story, that bit felt like a tax dodge.

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1 hour ago, RubberJohnny said:

This was surprisingly meanspirited. I mean, I enjoyed it, but it's kinda nasty.

 

It certainly doesn't have the lighter moments of something like Fargo, but I think the downbeat feel was very intentional. Reminds me a little of the low lying sense of menace of the old West I got from There Will be Blood.

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This was very good, I thought. Really liked how different each story was in tone and style, and the way they set up the theme with a couple of short pieces then explored it with some slightly longer ones. The Tom Waits story definitely stood out though. Also, I didn't get how the last story ended - feel like I missed something there.

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Aye, it was very engaging overall if a little bleak. 

I'm not super attuned to subtext or metaphor in film but I was getting a strong vibe in the last story that they were all already dead and crossing over or something, but I'm probably way off. 

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That's what I got from it, yes.

 

Spoiler

The whole series seems to be taking a nostaligia for the Wild West and showing where it is misplaced, where the whimsical re-imaginings of how it is portrayed in film clashes with the harsh reality of what it would be really like back then. There's a lot of dark irony just dripping all over the shorts.

 

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6 hours ago, Ran said:

Aye, it was very engaging overall if a little bleak. 

 

Most of the Coen films are pretty bleak really. I mean, I adore Fargo, but beneath the black humour and the lovingly observed regional setting, it's a very downbeat film about how stupid and awful most people are and how bewildering one of the few good people finds all of it. (Much like No Country is.)

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7 hours ago, Ran said:

Aye, it was very engaging overall if a little bleak. 

I'm not super attuned to subtext or metaphor in film but I was getting a strong vibe in the last story that they were all already dead and crossing over or something, but I'm probably way off. 

That makes sense.

Spoiler

I thought that for a moment when he said something about being reapers of souls, but then disregarded it for some reason. And now it seems pretty obvious in hindsight. The coachman never stops, they always bring the bounties in dead etc.

 

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I really enjoyed this. I was a little apprehensive after the praise Hail Caeser got because I just didn't get on with it that all and that had an anthology feel to it. But this was so much better than HC and shows how the Cohen's really do know how to do their westerns. I liked each story and thought they all had their own merits. My wife came home from work during the Tom Waits one and was completely sucked in by it. It's worked it's way into my top 10 for the year so far.

 

On a side note, the film looks absolutely gorgeous in 4K. It's the best looking film I've seen on my TV since I upgraded it.

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As a massive fan of westerns and a total non fan of the Coens I was somewhat apprehensive of this. (Only film of theirs I really think is fantastic is ILD)

 

But, I thought it was utterly brilliant and had me considering a reassement of the Coens back catalogue. Everything about it was pretty much perfect. 

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1 hour ago, Mr Cochese said:

Still trying to figure out if ILD is a regularly employed acronym of a Coen Brothers film that's somehow passed me by.

 

Inside Llewyn Davis

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