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The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Netflix Movie Review

Name: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen

Year: 2018

Genre: Western/Comedy/Drama/Musical

Starring: Tim Blake. Liam Neeson, James Franco, Tom Waits, & Clancy Brown

Although premiering on Netflix over a year ago, the popular streaming service cranks out so much content that there are so many good movies that go unnoticed. I try to review the gems that I come across and think that other geeks will enjoy as well! “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” is a Coen Brothers Classic you’re not going to want to miss!

So, if you’re a fan of westerns, comedies, drama, musicals, and the Coen Brothers then you should check out “the Ballad of Buster Scruggs.” If you’re not enjoying the story you’re watching give it a few minutes, the next one will be totally different!


The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a movie told in small vignettes about the frontier life of the late 1800’s. Despite it’s name and the opening sequence, the Ballad of Buster Scruggs is not a musical, per say. Each little frontier story is like a mini movie unto its own. A perfect beginning, middle and end all with it’s own unique spin and style.


What’s So Good About It: 

Nominated for three Academy Awards, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a well made film! I’m a big fan of Westerns. Since I was a child I loved John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and movies like Young Guns, Unforgiven, and Tombstone. From start to finish, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is entertaining! Like in all good Westerns, some of the details of frontier life are exaggerated for effect, while others are a true glimpse into the harshness that was the Wild West. Life was hard as were the things that people had to endure to survive in the wild of the frontier, and sometimes they don’t. Each story has a different feel and style.

The Cinematography is phenomenal! The Ballad of Buster Scruggs visually captures the vastness of the frontier, the feeling og traveling in a wagon train, the loneliness of the gold miner, or the harshness of moving from town to town just to try and make a living.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is broken into several small stories. The music and score are fitting for each of the individual tales, for instance, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ story itself would be considered a musical. The songs are nothing short of toe-tapping, Broadway-esque, and memorable. I often find myself humming some of the tunes in everyday life. Not all the stories in this movie are like Busters. The music, however, still plays an integral part of the individual tales.

No period piece would be complete without good costumes, and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs does an excellent job there as well. Each character is made more convincing with the uniqueness of their costume. Again, because Buster’s story is more on the level with a Broadway style musical, the characters outfits are more lavish. In the story of the Bank robber, played by James Franco, the outfits are more true to period.



Tom Waits is Prospector in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, a film by Joel and Ethan Coen.

I gave the Ballad of Buster Scruggs the Best of Movie of the Year 2018 title because I felt that it was exactly that. To me, the best movie has the best soundtrack, score, costumes, acting, editing, and it’s all tied together with creative and artistic choices that the Coen brothers have become famous for. It really is one of the best movies that Netflix has produced and is a great addition to the Coen Brothers portfolio of works.


BEST OF 2018-Review


“The Coen Brothers took to the streaming market with a feature film that is on par with their past artistic endeavors. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a film that highlights individual vignettes of the west. Despite its name and opening story the Ballad Of Buster Scruggs is not a musical.

The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs is a breath of fresh creative filmmaking that the Coen’s have become famous for. Every story has its own tempo and theme. The Coens do a wonderful job in making the audience connect with their characters even when dialogue is practically nonexistent. The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs is one of 2018’s best films and one that will go on to be a classic.”