Pulp Appeal: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Posted: December 3, 2018 in Uncategorized

I talk about THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS… which wouldn’t have quite gotten the love it had if it hadn’t been made by the Coen Brothers.

Broadswords and Blasters

THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS is the latest release by the Coen Brothers and just so happens to be part of Netflix’s original catalog. The amount of talent represented is noteworthy. The writing is excellent. But, at the end of the day, the whole piece falls weirdly flat. Fair warning: some spoilers ahead.

The structure is non-traditional as well. Instead of a flowing narrative, the film is divided into six unrelated vignettes and uses the concept of a short stories in an anthology as a framing device. Each story is preceded with an illustration, as well as a small bit of text preceding and ending as if one was reading a story.

The vignettes start with story of a singing cowboy (the eponymous Buster Scruggs) as he makes his way through the Old West. The story is a weird juxtaposition of songs with brutal violence, including one part where Scruggs…

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