Author Topic: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs  (Read 4631 times)

Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #30 on: November 25, 2018, 05:32:48 AM »
How could you be bored by a series of 20 minute segments generously filled with violent deaths? Not enough commercial breaks?

There are other valid criticisms, but saying that anything dragged in this movie is preposterous.

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Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #31 on: November 25, 2018, 09:55:20 AM »
The fourth one definitely dragged for me. I didn't particularly care about the lady and whether she could pay her helper. You could've taken out ten minutes of stilted fireside conversations and not lost anything.

Can't believe I didn't realise the last one was a metaphor for passing away. And I've got a fucking English literature degree! My excuse was I was tired.

Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #32 on: November 25, 2018, 02:14:00 PM »
How could you be bored by a series of 20 minute segments generously filled with violent deaths? Not enough commercial breaks?

Because the first one was annoying after the novelty of rootin' tootin' Western pulp had worn off. After 10 minutes I was thinking "so when are they going to pull back and reveal what this thing really is, because I'm getting tired of this now." This was obviously before it was made clear this was a collection of short stories, which I'm not really a fan of anyways.

The second one was alright, but I kept looking for something that carried over from the first one, to indicate it was part of the same universe. That never came. So when the third one rolled around I didn't really care about any of the characters, because there was no overarching plot to speak of.

I think the third one was the travelling thespian one. This is were my interest started to fall dramatically - it seems obvious to me that this was padded out way longer than it needed to be. The endless repetitions of his "play": I get it, being a travelling theatre act is miserable and pays little. Where's the dialogue between the two? They've only got each other as company. What's their story? An irishman and a pillowbody travelling the frontier, there's some story to be told there. Nah, better han the same recitals over and over again. Also, you're a travelling carnie, you know there's no such thing as a maths whiz chicken. Or is there in this universe? I never really got the "rules" of the universe(s). And he drops the pillowbody into the river ... why? Just leave him in an inn somewhere.

The fourth one (prospector Waits) was, again, incredibly boring. You're just watching an old man dig in soil and yammer to no one in particular for way too long. This can be done well - see the opening to There Will Be Blood. What is supposed to reel the viewer in here? Will he/won't he find gold? Well, of course he will. So I fast forwarded. The only bit of excitement appears out of nowhere and is not foreshadowed at all. The prospector overcomes. Fin.

The rest I didn't watch, but according to others (who liked it) the fifth one is even more drawn out. Blimey.

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Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #33 on: November 25, 2018, 03:17:24 PM »
I liked it but I can see where Hank’s coming from.

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Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #34 on: November 27, 2018, 06:49:41 AM »
I liked the first though it wrongfoots you for the rest.
Tom Waits and The Girl Who Got Rattled the other standouts.
It might take a second watch as the first is so unlike the rest it sets you waiting for something similar.
A second run without that anticipation could help.

neveragain

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Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #35 on: November 27, 2018, 02:58:19 PM »
Re-ordering the stories to vary the pace could have helped a bit.

Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #36 on: November 28, 2018, 10:24:06 AM »
I liked it but it was very shootout-y and death-y, like most juvenile short stories. Diverting for a couple of hours but nothing to compare to their real body of work. Glad it's kind of just been slid out quietly on netflix rather than given the real COEN treatment. Super glad they didn't stick to the original plan of making them a series, as I guess that would have meant the segments were even more padded.

Is there any word on what their next true feature will be? Found Caesar fun but incomplete somehow, and it hasn't really stuck with me. Think it would benefit them to go very simple down n dirty crime story again.

Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #37 on: November 28, 2018, 09:36:44 PM »
Quote
But as Roger Ebert says, it's not what they're about, it's how they are about it.

Is this something Ebert said directly about the Coens?


There's definitely more to unpack in A Serious Man, but Hail Caesar I thought I very very entertaining.

I was confused by A Serious Man on initial watch, it was hard to discern what it was about. Then I read somewhere that it had a lot to do with The Book of Job, so I wikipedia'd that shit and read up. Then watched the film again with this knowledge, and wowsers I really liked it. With the added biblical knowledge what seemed like a bunch of unconnected events made a lot more sense.

I'm still waiting for this moment with Hail, Caesar! and Buster Scruggs. The Coens seem so certain in their direction that there must be more to the latter than people just getting killed at the end of a series of twists and turns.

It does seem like they're making films that only they really understand and the average viewer, if lucky, gets the occasional scrap of meaning.





grassbath

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Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #38 on: December 01, 2018, 10:58:20 AM »
Was really enjoying this, and then the last two stories bored the arse off me, especially the last one. I have no idea what made me switch off so quickly. Maybe as others have suggested it was a pacing/variety issue.

zomgmouse

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Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #39 on: December 23, 2018, 09:43:57 AM »
I quite liked this and after reading what Hank said above I like it even more. It's just a series of unconnected yarns. Their films are all about nothing happening and if things happen they don't mean anything anyway. And that's the point. And that's why I enjoy watching their stuff.

The tagline says it all really: STORIES LIVE FOREVER. PEOPLE DON'T.

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Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #40 on: December 23, 2018, 10:08:13 AM »
'Twas a fine film.  A fine film indeed.

10 out of 10 - Best film with cowboys ever.

Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #41 on: December 23, 2018, 12:54:00 PM »
Will agree with Hank here. Got to the end of the Liam Neeson story and was bored out of my mind. The first ten minutes or so was quite fun though!

Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #42 on: December 23, 2018, 06:24:00 PM »
I was confused by A Serious Man on initial watch, it was hard to discern what it was about. Then I read somewhere that it had a lot to do with The Book of Job, so I wikipedia'd that shit and read up. Then watched the film again with this knowledge, and wowsers I really liked it. With the added biblical knowledge what seemed like a bunch of unconnected events made a lot more sense.

I'm still waiting for this moment with Hail, Caesar! and Buster Scruggs. The Coens seem so certain in their direction that there must be more to the latter than people just getting killed at the end of a series of twists and turns.

It does seem like they're making films that only they really understand and the average viewer, if lucky, gets the occasional scrap of meaning.

Hail Ceaser to me seemed like it was almost made to tell Eddie Mannix story in the way Mannix would have, everything he does is very innocent, the red menace is both present but also made up of bumbling fools, etc.

I'd agree it doesn't really feel fully formed and not top draw Coens as a result but still I think most of what he attempts it does well, probably the funniest Clooney has been for them.

Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #43 on: December 25, 2018, 10:18:23 PM »
This has been my Christmas evening viewing.  Feels very odd to be watching a 'first-run' film on TV.

Didn't like the first two stories at all.  That mixture of glibness and gore revolts me, though it was good to see Finchy in charge of a posse.

Meal Ticket was great.  If you were to tell someone about it, it would sound like a one-joke grotesquerie, like a pulp horror story, but it was so well made it rose above that, and the scene with the whore was brilliant.  "Wanna buy your friend some loving?"  "I don't think so."  "Has he ever had any?"  "Once."

The Tom Waits one went on a bit, though it didn't bore me.  I would have preferred a better actor in it.  The last one was entertaining with excellent dialogue and had the best shot of the film: the long shot of the three nervous passengers outside the coach and approaching the hotel.

The Gal Who Got Rattled was the pick for me, the only one I would have been happy to see as a feature.  The period detail and characterization were fantastic and the love story was the most affecting I have seen in a movie since, well, God knows, because I don't normally rate movie romances as being more or less involving than others, they pretty much all just function as narrative necessity, but here I really wanted Billy and Alice to get together.  So the ending seemed to me the Coens at their sadistic worst but against that the irony was so exquisite is was worthy of O. Henry.

So two-thirds fantastic, and the other third only really suffers in comparison: I did laugh a couple of times (including at that witty establishing shot from inside Buster's guitar).

Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #44 on: January 03, 2019, 02:58:53 PM »
Found this very enjoyable. In particular the first little story with the excellent song at the end. Can't get the Buster Scruggs tune out of my head. Very nicely put together with that typical Coen eye for detail and a lovely tune. The only slight gripe would be the last story which just felt a bit middle of the road. The other stories being open ended didn't bother me but what was the implication in the last one? Did the 3 people have some guilt in them that they thought they were being hunted for? It had a nice song in it again so I suppose it fulfilled the brief of nice period tunesmithery, period costume and character actor plying their trade.

It's always a good thing to see a new Coen brothers release. It will be a sad day for film if they ever retire.

Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #45 on: January 03, 2019, 04:47:58 PM »
Am I the only of who would have been much happier having the whole film be about Buster Scruggs?

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Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #46 on: January 03, 2019, 06:29:25 PM »
Am I the only of who would have been much happier having the whole film be about Buster Scruggs?

That definitely could have worked but ultimately, I'm happier with the anthology format, I think.

zomgmouse

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Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #47 on: January 04, 2019, 12:02:58 AM »
what was the implication in the last one?

I think the implication was that they were all dead.

Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #48 on: January 04, 2019, 01:08:27 PM »
Am I the only of who would have been much happier having the whole film be about Buster Scruggs?

Enjoyable as it was, I'm not really convinced it would hold up over 90 minutes, but who knows. I think it was perfect as it is.

Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #49 on: January 04, 2019, 01:23:13 PM »
It's just a series of unconnected yarns. Their films are all about nothing happening and if things happen they don't mean anything anyway.

I'm not sure they're about nothing. The first one is about being complacent at the top "I gotta set myself up in the undertaking business. Stop doing all the skill work so another man can profit." That's 2 minutes before he gets his head blown off. Or it could be taken as no matter how good you are there's always some kid plotting to take your place, and he will take your place, probably when you least expect it.

The second one is gallows humour (saying "First time?" to the guy trembling while waiting to hang) or being able to take the positive out of something even when you're 5 seconds from death "There's a pretty girl".

The third one is the avarice of business or the cruelty of humans. Dumping the boy in the river to drown as soon as he becomes surplus to requirements.

Fourth one is greed and laziness, waiting for a guy to find something worth money through hard work and then just robbing the poor bastard. Or it could be determination because the old duffer won't stay down.

Fifth one ls appearances can be deceptive or look before you leap (shoot yourself in the head).

Last one is I don't know, guilty conscience, fear fucked if I know. Didn't get the point of the last one to be honest.

They're little parables. Even if they're not it's fun to watch character actors in costumes shot by a good director.

St_Eddie

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Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #50 on: January 04, 2019, 03:20:20 PM »
Last one is I don't know, guilty conscience, fear fucked if I know. Didn't get the point of the last one to be honest.

Did you really not get that it's purgatory and they're heading to Heaven/Hell or are you referring to a deeper subtext?

Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #51 on: January 04, 2019, 03:48:57 PM »
Did you really not get that it's purgatory and they're heading to Heaven/Hell or are you referring to a deeper subtext?

No, didn't get that. Suppose that's why the driver never stops.

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Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #52 on: January 04, 2019, 04:53:06 PM »
Did you really not get that it's purgatory and they're heading to Heaven/Hell or are you referring to a deeper subtext?

A few people in this thread mentioned they didn’t get this, which I found a bit odd.

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Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #53 on: January 04, 2019, 10:55:06 PM »
I didn't think it was subtle so I don't get it either.  Maybe it's because it doesn't really attempt to hide it?  It's the kind of story that would usually involve a sudden reveal, but here it's just there throughout and you cotton on in your own time.

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Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #54 on: January 05, 2019, 12:32:04 AM »
I didn't think it was subtle so I don't get it either.  Maybe it's because it doesn't really attempt to hide it?  It's the kind of story that would usually involve a sudden reveal, but here it's just there throughout and you cotton on in your own time.

I thought it was a bit overdone tbh, but I thought saying that would make me sound like a prick.

Too late now.

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Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #55 on: January 05, 2019, 12:37:29 AM »
I thought it was a bit overdone tbh, but I thought saying that would make me sound like a prick.

Too late now.

At the risk of also sounding like a prick, so did I.

Pricks unite!

gib

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Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #56 on: January 05, 2019, 12:42:42 AM »
i watched this today and thought it had its moments but on the other hand it was a bit shit

Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #57 on: January 05, 2019, 01:57:18 AM »
Yes, I've just saw this film and I thought it was really good. As for the subtext of the last segment, I thought it was pretty obvious. The three passengers are clearly participants in some kind of total-immersion VR game, the purpose of which is to escape before going into the building. If it was me playing, I'd make a run for it as soon as the other two twits wander in and the two ferrymen/demons are stumbling upstairs, make a dash for the departing stagecoach and grab on to the back. It stands to reason.

I don't play a lot of video games.

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Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #58 on: January 22, 2019, 09:00:03 PM »
Interesting article about how some of the stories aren't originals, but adaptions of old short stories. The originals are now online to read: https://www.indiewire.com/2019/01/coen-brothers-buster-scruggs-oscar-nom-adapted-screenplay-not-original-1202037160/

Maybe this is old news, but I'm enjoying the fact that "Mr. Pocket" was an invention of Jack London.

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Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Reply #59 on: January 24, 2019, 05:11:01 AM »
I'm hopeless on subtext stuff and had no clue what the last part was about. Had no clue half of Cagney and Lacey was still alive either.