Buster Scruggs Question

Anyone know why this Cohen brothers film wasn’t in the theaters?

Well, it was funded by Netflix, not a traditional Hollywood studio - it had a limited release in LA and NYC, though - just enough to make it eligible for Oscars, I think?

Netflix movies are made-for-tv movies, like HBO original movies.

Some have argued that Netflix movies should be eligible for Emmys, not Oscars, the same as any other made-for-tv movies. You certainly don’t see HBO original movies at the Oscars, but they tend to clean up at the Emmys.

Netflix shows their movies in like 2 theaters for 1 week or something ridiculous like that just to meet the absolute minimum requirements to qualify for Oscars. It’s kind of lame.

Not to mention that it’s not really a ‘movie’ in the usual sense. It’s a series of 15-20 minute mini stories. Unless there is something that ties them all together at the end. (I only watched about half of the stories tonight).

Because it’s really weird…even by the Coen brothers’ standards. And in this era of overblown, formulaic superhero movies, it’s doubtful this movie could have attracted enough of an audience to survive even a week in the theaters, but is the type of thing that people will discover while randomly flipping through Netflix or by word of mouth.

Also, the individual vignettes range over a vast range of tones, from broad slapstick comedy to seriously, seriously dark drama, which can be jarring if you watch it in one sitting straight through. (I almost felt like turning it off after the “Meal Ticket” story.) It’s actually a movie that does work better when you can watch it at home, when you can turn it off and then resume it after you’ve had a moment to …gather yourself.

I don’t know, it was all pretty dark. Even the one vignette that, arguably, didn’t end with the protagonist worse off than he began, (“All Gold Canyon”) involves someone shooting him and then being brutally killed in return.


Anthology movies are hardly unknown. They’re not as popular as they used to be, to be sure, and horror is a lot more likely to get them than other genres (especially theatrical release), but it isn’t a bar to theatrical release.

I agree with this. I asked a question on these boards some time ago about why there are no original ideas in cinema any more - the answer: big movie studios are very risk averse and they will not put any money into something that isn’t nearly guaranteed to make money. Netflix, HBO, and other ‘alternate’ studios are smaller and not only can afford to take more risks with movies like this, but also have a better format for distribution and for audiences to be exposed (and re-exposed).

I am kind of glad that while the whole superhero genre is ascending now, there is also the rise of alternate production avenues for other ideas to be developed. I think Coen films lend themselves well to this approach, knowing that they will require multiple viewings in order to catch all the nuances and tricks they typically add.

It was in theaters. Equipoise saw it twice.

Not widely. It was shown in 3 cities for one weekend.