I got a chance to catch The Coen Bros' latest - the shaggy, six-chapter Western anthology The Ballad of Buster Scruggs - last week and, frankly, it was the first time I've been let down by one of their movies in a long, long time. It's not that it's bad, per se; rather, Buster Scruggs feels like a collection of Coen B-Sides, strung together into an omnibus that works more as a cinematic scrapbook than anything else (with at least one of the stories' conception dating back to The Hudsucker Proxy), and with only a single dusty entry reportedly written specifically for this project (which, weirdly enough, is the worst entry).
If the latest trailer is any indication, this writer may end up on his own island regarding these singing cowboys, as the spot is filled with pull-quotes hailing the Brothers' latest weirdo saga (or, set of sagas, in this case). In fairness, it's tough to hate on anything that has a full segment devoted to Tom Waits as a grumbly gold prospector.
Take a look:
I dunno, maybe I'll give it another shot at home, as the format definitely lends itself to Netflix's "binge" model than a traditional theatrical experience. Also, the Coens' movies always improve with repeat viewings (unless you're The Ladykillers), so maybe I just wasn't in the mood for murder songs just then.
Anyway, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs hits Netflix and select theaters come November 16th. Get out there and judge for yourself.