Saw "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" last weekend in the theater (it's also streaming on Netflix at the same time). So, it's time to talk about the six stories included in the anthology, hopefully without giving too much away. You need to go see it for yourself, but here we go:
It opens with a full blown parody of Gene and Roy and all those singing Westerns, although it's not really a parody, it's an authentic song, sung ALL THE WAY through, then quickly the scene devolves into a Sergio Leone parody, which gets the biggest laughs and deservedly so.
Unfortunately, this is short-lived and we are off on other stories that do not connect. So, the title of the entire film is a sort of false front come-on, which in itself is kind of frustrating and satisfying in a I-sure-didn't-expect-that! way. Get used to it. It is a Coen brothers film, after all.
According to an interview I heard the Coens have been writing some of these Western stories for "about 20 years" as stand alone stories without any concern about whether they are commercial, or not. This is a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that none of the stories go where you might think they should go, and the curse is, you will find yourself muttering, "Well, that was a long way to go for a half-assed ending."
On the plus side, the Boys get credit for tying the stories together with a throwback to early Old West book covers and artwork.