4. "It's great. Start to finish. Everyone needs to see it." In response to Reply # 3
None of which is news. How is it that these guys are so skilled that basically *everything* they do comes out like gold? The Ladykillers is really their only misstep, in my opinion, and even that had its moments.
As for this, three episodes are better than the other three (I won't say which, because I wouldn't want to prejudice anyone's viewing). But even the 3 that I didn't like as much all had something great about them.
6. "kind of felt like watching a live action Red Dead Redemption 2" In response to Reply # 0
It was fun trying to play spot the landmark during the Nebraska caravan segments, too. Spoiler: there aren't many landmarks out there, and I didn't spot any.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs: C+ A weird way to start the thing off, I wonder if I'd have responded a bit better to it if it were in the middle. Seemed like essentially an exercise in getting the audience used to the type of language the characters in this world would be speaking, and I suppose it summarizes a lot of what the other vignettes will be about, but it was just a little too fantastical for me to fully get with.
Near Algodones: B+ The potshot and hangman gags were gold, the rustler's cameo was just right, and the cowboy got what he deserved in the end. Simple and clean, I really enjoyed it though.
Meal Ticket: A I'll admit this was the one I paid the least attention to due to the repetition of it, but the inspired casting makes it the one I felt the most affected by in the end. I hadn't really seen Harry Melling before (I cut out from the Potter films early on) but his is the first of a series of breakout performances for me.
All Gold Canyon: A+ Patience is a virtue.
The Gal Who Got Rattled: A- Bill Heck felt instantly familiar to me but apparently I actually have no idea who he is. He killed it, and reminded me of Arthur Morgan's capable but occasionally dopey demeanor in RDR2. Everybody in this thing was charming as hell, though along with the earlier nod to Native Americans in Algonodes it was a bit surprising the Coens took such a tired approach to their involvement in the stories. The firefight lacked tension for me as well and their attack patterns seemed both erratic and meaningless; it's a shame because if that scene had delivered for me, this would've easily been my favorite segment.
The Mortal Remains: B+ Fun stageplay that put a neat little bow on the show. Similar to Heck I thought I recognized the hell out of Jonjo O'Neill but turns out I'm completely unfamiliar - good show out of him! Chelcie Ross killed it as the trapper as well. This one also felt like it needed the most tightening up, though, and was also the only segment that didn't show any promise if it had been a full length movie.
Part of me wishes this were broken out into chapters on Netflix, but I get why the Coens don't want to do that. Some I'd rewatch and others I probably wouldn't, but definitely another win for the Coens and Netflix, and a great companion to all the weird stories I've come across during the past two weeks in RDR as well.
10. "Watched it late on Sunday and it kept me up most of the night" In response to Reply # 0 Tue Nov-20-18 09:16 AM by B9
A ton to digest and jump around on, hard to compartmentalize and fully reckon with it. I think arguing the sequence is fair, especially given the heaviness of The Gal Who Got Rattled going right into Mortal Remains, but if the overarching theme is the cruelness and folly of life, it works as a pummeling whole to end that way. Only real qualm is the rote and predictable Coen-ness of Near Algodones, but that they can distill their style and voice into 10 minutes or so of a complete story says how masterful they are in what they do. I know alot of people aren't liking the title piece much compared to the rest, but, personally, I would have liked another 5 or 10 minutes of that absurdity. Meal Ticket, and Harry Melling's acting, is the one that stuck the hardest. Fairly obvious allegory but his expressiveness when not on the stage was perfect.
So that it got a limited release pre-Netflix debut, is this eligible for the Academy? There are some technical elements that should be recognized.
I've absolutely HATED every feature film from Netflix until this. I honestly don't get the critical drubbing this took during the festival circuit and pre-release. It's not major Coen but it damn sure isn't minor Coen.
Besides the initial two installments not having enough meat on their bones, I don't have any real issues. As a huge western fan, I loved the way they honored, upended and inverted generic convention. There were some amazing performances particularly from Tom Waits, Zoe Kazan, Bill Heck, Jonjo O'Neill and Chelcie Ross.
I am still legit baffled by what actually was going in w/ Mortal Remains
"Things aren't looking too good for black people right now PR-wise" Tracy Morgan
"The way that you control a motherfucker that ain't don't nothing is you give them something. Then you hold it over their heads." Patrice O'Neal
16. "I liked 4 out of the 6 segments" In response to Reply # 0
Overall, very good. Buster Scruggs was really fun. The Tom Waits one, Oregon Trail one, and the last one were all very good. I would've been into the bank robber/hanging one if someone other than Franco was cast. He just felt wrong for the part.
The Liam Neeson-limbless guy one really bothered me though. It just felt needlessly bleak and pretty pointless.
17. "Definitely worth a viewing (mild spoilers)" In response to Reply # 0
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs:
I actually enjoyed this one. I laughed my ass off during the bar room scene, as well as the subsequent gunfight. The fact it ended the way it did was a perfect opener to the absurdity that came after.
If I had to rate, I'd say this was my least favorite, but that's not a knock. Franco played the role well, and there was all kinds of chaos going on. Nice bridge to what I considered the "meat" of the vignettes.
I think this is where we are getting into the wheel house of the movie. Meal Ticket was just soul crushing, like a slow motion car collision that you can't turn your head away from. The vignette wants you to empathize for the Songbird, and the fact that he was so powerless to change his fate was a gut punch. I definitely had to scream at the tv a few times.
All Gold Canyon:
As everyone has said, Tom Waits killed this. Once again, slowly paced like Meal Ticket but it completely fits for this one. When the climax kicks in, you've lived with The Prospector for so long that you are truly affected. Gold Star for Marcus.
The Gal Who Got Rattled:
This is the final vignette that I considered the "meat" of the feature, and the story was very compelling. The fact that they were able to fit so many facets of this journey into such a short period of time was masterful. The dinner, the dog, the journey, the Indians, all sandwiched into a love story....just fantastic. What amazed me was how they managed to give each of the major players time to shine. Even thought the story is essentially about "the gal who got rattled"....every character has a moment when they are the center of the story. Very well done.
The Mortal Remains:
This was the ONE story that I just didn't get until I did some research. After finding out that it was an allegory for death and the passage into the afterlife, I'm now going to go back to it and pay closer attention to the dialogue and the visual clues. 1st viewing, it was just okay. I'll see how I feel the 2nd time. I'm just not watching the previous stories again. I'm already depressed enough.