Film Junk Podcast Episode #685: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs + Police Academy


0:00 – Intro
20:55 – Review: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
51:30 – Retro Review: Police Academy
1:13:45 – Other Stuff We Watched: The Force, The Greatest Showman, Cat People (1942), Pop Fun to Play, The Night Comes for Us, Zombie, Mandy, Prince of Darkness, Making a Murderer: Part 2 (possible spoilers)
2:30:25 – This Week on DVD and Blu-ray
2:33:38 – Outro

» Download the MP3 (75 MB)
» View the show notes
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  • tyler mikol

    Love when I see that you guys went 2.5+ hours. Thanks for the show and thanks for doing the lords work. I truly need some quality time with my Canadian homies this week. ????????????????????????

  • devolutionary

    The Boys in Blue are Back (in Town)! A 20 minute intro with Singe and Scott usually means “COPS… in Niagara”.

  • Sam

    Definitely would recommend Jay to listen to that Vinegar Syndrome episode that Scott talked about. Definitely fascinating and the guys in charge made me even enjoy the distribution label even more. They even give a few lesser known recommendations from their label that I’m probably gonna pop on.

  • schizopolis

    Love the Singe and Scott shows!

  • parapa

    Singe and Scott are the best, great episode!

  • Brian.M

    I could listen to these guys do their own podcast. Love ‘em.

  • schizopolis

    Singe & Scott: The Buddy Cop Movie Podcast. Do it! Or at least a premium of buddy cop movies (i.e. 21 & 22 Jump Street, first ever buddy cop films – Freebie and the Bean and Busting, both from 1974).

  • Jameson

    Singe & Scott are always a welcomed addition to the show!

  • pcch7

    I watched Police Academy 4 so good damn often when I was a kid, it was the shit. Would love a premium.

  • pcch7

    Regarding the Bobby Dassey hdd, the reason it wasn’t brought up at trial is because that evidence was never handed over to the defence

  • Sean

    Oh that’s right, they hid it by mislabelling it.

  • Sean

    I think we did talk Freebie and the Bean during one of their previous appearances although they didn’t get a chance to watch it themselves.

  • pcch7

    I don’t know about that Cop Rock show but Singe and Scott rock, I know that much

  • Jake

    MRW I haven’t been able to listen yet but read comments about Singe & Scott being on.

  • pcch7

    Yep, labelled it as Brendan’s pc and said they didn’t find anything. Would’ve been pretty useful for the defence though

  • Newtman98

    Same here. It’s the only one i ever saw but i watched it over and over again.

  • Beat_C

    grrrrreat episode! S&S are so entertaining.

  • Mrespony

    Was it because of the skating? I loved The Bones Brigade back in the 80’s!

  • Newtman98

    That’s not skateboarding. THIS IS SKATEBOARDING!!! Absolutely loved that scene as a kid. Used to go outside afterwards and shred up and down driveways on my Bart Simpson skateboard. That and the ET bike chase used to get me amped.

  • pcch7

    I still rock out to Shoot For The Top by Southern Pacific

  • Two vastly different episodes week to week, two great listens. Thanks junkers, and thanks to your extended FJ family who are solidly entertaining guys all around.

  • Th-Th-Timmey

    Great to have Scott and Singe again) made the absence of Frankie more tolerable :)

    Regarding Zelners strategy – I don’t think its not her job to find the actual killer, it’s her job to raise enough doubt to warrant another trial. That’s why she’s building those theories about Bobby and Brendan’s stepfather, she needs to have possible suspects to show that Averies were not the only people that could’ve done it.

  • traynor

    What was the other podcast that was mentioned, aside from Shock Waves? Scott said he was liking it, and they talked about the guy’s voice? I think Jay said he’s going to interview the guy sometime soon. I didn’t catch the name.

  • Sean

    I believe it was Port Mortem with Mick Garris.

  • They reviewed Police Academy without Frankie? Hoo boy.

  • Lior

    At least according to the Hollywood Reporter and the Coen Brothers themselves, Buster Scruggs was never supposed to be a TV series:

    I felt the review kind of missed the film a little bit. While watching it, I never felt like it was an inferior version of a planned TV series, but a solid collection of short stories which uses dramatic irony to a large degree, hence the similarity to The Twilight Zone and Creepshow.

    Having said that, the film does feel like TV when the final credits appear, something about it – maybe the fonts – smacked of TV movies in the 80’s, maybe something like Lonesome Dove. Westerns were a big thing on TV during the 60’s, 70’s and into the 80’s. I prefer to think this is a conscious choice by the filmmakers rather than thinking the Coens didn’t have the budget for better fonts.

    Also, while the cinematography was expansive and quite beautiful, you could easily feel it was digital and not film. In some sections it also felt over-processed, with very obvious color-correction.

    Yes, it’s not necessarily a masterpiece by the Coens (I don’t think it’s fair to say this is a minor Coen Brothers movie because of Netflix. The Ladykillers, anybody? That was a theatrical release.)

    I liked the film quite a bit.


    The first story is a darkly funny take on the Gene Autry westerns of the 1950’s, that image of the wholesome, singing cowboy. If nothing else, the Coens are exhibiting here the breadth of their knowledge in the genre. It’s a slight story, but amusing.

    The second story, for me at least, is about how everyone is ultimately an outlaw in the wild west. The poor bank robber seems to be the saner of the lot.

    The third story, perhaps my favorite, is where the movie drops the over-the-top antics of the first two stories and becomes much more serious and poignant. It’s really a masterful little short which drives its point home using minimal dialogue. The ending is heartbreaking.

    The brilliant fourth story juxtaposes the beauty and tranquility of nature against the violence and greed of man. But the Coens still make us care for the crazy old prospector (he only takes the one egg). Great performance by an almost unrecognizable Tom Waits.

    Fifth story is all about the idea of certainty vs. uncertainty in the crazy, tough world the characters inhabit. The key scene is the dialogue exchange between Mr. Knapp and Ms. Longabaugh where they talk exactly about that, and it comes full circle in the final, again, heartbreaking, scene.

    The last story is the oddest one. Obviously, as all the stories deal very much with death, we can only assume the people in the carriage are not… well… of this world anymore. But the Coens leave it ambiguous until the final shot. It’s also the funniest short since the second one.

  • Beat_C

    any chance for a nicolas roeg premium, who died last week?

  • Sean

    That seems unlikely although I would like to check out more of his stuff.

  • Sean

    Thanks, there is some interesting stuff in that article. For one, it does seem like these were stories that they just had kicking around and didn’t know what to do with them.

    To be clear, I don’t think it’s a minor Coen film just because it’s on Netflix. Many of the segments felt half-baked to me, but I guess that’s supposed to be the point… or at least part of the fun.

  • Lior

    The Achiles’ heel of anthology movies is that some stories are always better than others and you can’t help compare. The Coens don’t directly address why the film ended up on Netflix, but Netflix is certainly going for prestige acquisitions these days.

  • Tommy

    Retro review The Witches when Frankie’s back.

  • windh

    Not sure what to think of S&S. The tone and what they talk about when they talk about their work is kind of off. I would expect it to be more serious. Gives off an unprofessional feeling. Maybe they should just talk less about their jobs.

    Anyways, thanks for the ep!

  • gibson8

    Good to know that they are still as half-assed as last time they were on. I thought it was a reflection of the relatively low levels of crime in Canada that these fuckwits prospered in their chosen profession.

  • disqus_OuXZXSTjuz important

  • OsoDuck

    Just watched Buster Scruggs for the first time a few days ago and I loved it. I wanted to comment here though because I’ve been making the case in the comment sections all over this Film Junk website that the Super Coen Bros are not so easy to peg in their philosophical leanings, particularly as of late, owing to a very unhollywood sympathy for the Christian religion in films like True Grit and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. That is not to say that they’ve become secret Christians but that they’ve certainly warmed to Christian ideas over time. Perhaps their love of the western even stems from the opportunity provided by the genre to play with such ideas. For example, after True Grit opens with the Biblical quote “The wicked flee when none pursueth,” the girl heroine of the film speaks about the gift of Divine Grace. Perhaps even more significantly, this section of Scruggs, written by the Coens, is as Christian as it gets, in terms of philosophy ( the scene ends with Jesus’s warning that the path to heaven is narrow):

    And this short dialogue is the heart and soul of the entirety of the section. The wagon train is the narrow way. When the young woman leaves this narrow path to chase after America (President Pierce, the annoying dog) she loses her life.