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« Soundtracking: "Boy Erased" | Main | Golden Globe Nominating Begins! »
Wednesday
Nov212018

Watch at Home: Crazy Rich Asians, We the Animals, and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

What's newly available for home viewing this week? 

DVD/Blu-Ray
Blindspotting - Just discussed.
Crazy Rich Asians -Currently the 12th biggest hit of the year, and hopefully the film that changes everything for Asian-American actors. We should probably watch and discuss again. Do you think it will be up for the Golden Globe Comedy or Musical Best Picture prize or SAG's Best Ensemble prize? I wonder.
Kin - A sci-fi film about a weapon of unknown origin and two brothers in trouble.
Skate Kitchen -a drama about skateboarding girls in Manhattan. Nominated for Breakthrough Director at the Gotham Awards.
We The Animals - The nomination leader at the Spirit Awards this year. We've interviewed the director and we just love the film here at TFE. You really should see it and the book is a swift gorgeous read... the two experiences go well together but are also their own things, perfectly tailored to each medium.

New iTunes 99¢ Deals
A Quiet Place - The Emily Blunt monster movie smash (and longshot Oscar hopeful) is this week's highlighted deal
My Cousin Vinny - Revisit Marisa Tomei's hilarious Oscar-winning breakout
Under the Skin - My personal #1 of 2014, the sensationally unsettling sci-fi masterwork from Jonathan Glazer and Scarlett Johannson in that brief run when Scarjo was experimenting with every movie and knocking it out of the park each time.

ALICE: Two people have asked me about President Pierce...well, complained. 
GILBERT: About what?
ALICE: The barking.
GILBERT: Well, I don't know what to say. President Pierce is a nervous creature and excited by animals larger than himself. 
ALICE: Almost all animals are larger than President Pierce.

Brand New Streaming
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Netflix) - The Coen Bros originally planned this as a TV series. It became a standalone anthology movie. Add "President Pierce" to 2018's long list of memorable dogs onscreen. If you've watched it already which of the six stories is your favorite? 
Loving Pablo (Prime) -Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem reunited onscreen but the movie didn't make any waves
McQueen (Prime) -Our review. This highly praised doc about the fasion designer Alexander McQueen is eligible for the Documentary Feature Oscar

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Reader Comments (17)

It's never been a travesty that Marisa Tomei won Best Supporting Actress.

It's a travesty that My Cousin Vinny didn't get additional nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and a win for Best Original Screenplay. The direction for those courtroom scenes shouldn't have gone overlooked, either. Possibly editing? Or costumes, when costumes were such a key part of the story/characters?

It is one of the most entertaining, rewatchable films of the 90s. Not just a funny movie but a great movie in so many ways.

November 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterHayden

No lie: We studied a great Marisa Tomei scene from My Cousin Vinny in one of my courses in law school.

November 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterCash

I watched Buster Scruggs, but didn't think much of it. The anthology format allows the Coens to indulge all their worst impulses: we know they can celebrate/subvert Hollywood genre material better than anybody... but without a narrative through-line (like Hail Caesar!'s focal use of Josh Brolin's fixer and his complicated morality/religiosity), I don't see the point. Sure, it looks great and has some fine performances... but what are we supposed to take away from it? The Coens are too accomplished writer/directors to just fool around with western motifs for the heck of it; they're slumming.

I guess I liked the Zoe Kazan segment best, but as with the rest of the stories, it's got a pretty downbeat ending that drains away any positive feelings...

November 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDoctor Strange

How did Loving Pablo slip through the cracks like that? Is it not very good or just couldn't get good US distribution?

November 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (the story, not the compilation) was very entertaining, but The Girl Who Got Rattled was by far my favorite story. I'd have loved to see either as a full-length film.

Stories 2, 3, and 4 were fine. #6 was interminable.

November 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

I liked the third segment the best ... Meal Ticket.
Except for the last one, they were all quite enjoyable.

November 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRod

"Meal Ticket" and "All Gold Canyon" impressed me most, cinematically speaking. They have the most arresting imagery and are the most economically told. And the latter has the rare happy-ish ending.

November 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Isn't President Pierce the brother of the now deceased Uggie (The Artist)? I know Uggie had a younger brother who was trying to break into showbiz.

November 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterStan M.

Even though I watched it from the comfort of my sofa, Buster Scruggs was the most satisfying cinematic experience I've had all year. I laughed, I cried, and I was genuinely chilled. A+ - a real return to form for the Coens.

I saw a lot of my late father in the Tom Waits character, the wandering prospector who perseveres and perseveres. And I thought the other segments were outstanding, with the possible exception of the James Franco segment which was still fun. The performances were all excellent too, especially Zoe Kazan, Tim Blake Nelson and Tyne Daly.

I'm sad that this tremendous film may not really get its dues, but I think classic status awaits in the not so near future.

PS: If Bill Heck still wants to settle down and claim some land in Oregon, I'm available...

November 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLuke

Anytime I can comment and give some Mona Lisa Vito love, I would and do! I can watch that movie over and over.

November 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Hayden, I agree about my cousin Vinny, but I have to ask who is supporting actor nomination for?

November 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMike Troutman

Today I give thanks for unexpectedly finding some MCV love on TFE. That was the 2nd year I had followed the Oscars, watched as many films as I could, and tried to make predictions. I thought a win for Tomei was so far beyond possible. That upset win over Davis by a performance that I had loved so much is one of the reasons why I love the Oscars (and always will).

Occasionally the Academy finds it still has a funny bone...

And the Buster Scruggs comments have convinced me to go sit down and watch it tonight. Tomorrow, its the family tradition of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, then Christmas Vacation.

November 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTravis

Just saw BUSTER SCRUGGS tonight! While some chapters were inevitably stronger than others, overall we enjoyed it. The structure, with the prefacing "illustration" and single, enigmatic quote/tag line, made me think of an old Chris Van Allsburg picture book, THE MYSTERIES OF HARRIS BURDICK...anyone else read that as a kid?

(SPOILERS)

"Meal Ticket" was the biggest gut punch, but the Zoe Kazan story made me the saddest or at least the most wistful, maybe because I was rooting for it to end well and...it didn't.

Thank heavens at least Tom Waits got his gold. That was a gorgeous segment, too.

Also, I will say while the second story (with James Franco) was one of the slighter ones, it did have the best punch line. "First time?" Talk about literal gallows humor...

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterlylee

Tomei is easily better than Davis in an above average performance of a stock Allen character. I mean, even Redgrave is more special than Davis.

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonah

Didn't around half of Supporting Actress winners in the 90's go to comedy performances/roles in comedies? What a time!

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNolan

@Mike Troutman - Not sure who Hayden had in mind, but I would say Fred Gwynne. His Judge Chamberlin Haller is perfect.

November 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterReady

Buster Scruggs is a movie about storytelling and how stories of the conquest of the west bleed into each other to form an unconscious narrative universe. The stories themselves are all about the presence of death (and chance as so many Coen movies are about) in the pre revisionist western stories (which is why the indians are there only as a force of chaos and chance). But the most satisfying thing is thinking afterwards about how they subtly reference each other. Buster Scruggs using archimedian tactics (like the prospector did to find his gold) to win a gunfight "unarmed" (like "meal ticket"); The prospector wondering loudly about how high a chicken can count; the bank teller boasting how he shot a man in the legs and had to keep him alive for weeks and take care of his needs until the sheriff came; Buster shooting a guy in the back without hitting anything important like the prospector and so on. I thought "Hail Caesar" was underrated as it was a movie that gave you a lot to think about if you actually knew things about the period even though it didn't totally work, this has the same strengths but hang together much better and is better cast. Clearlt the best american movie I have seen this year.

November 25, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterkirenaj1971

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