(Spoilers - do not read if you want to see the picture - this will ruin your film).
1) If we assume that the town is super corrupt, wouldn’t they just tear down her billboards every day or get someone who would do it at night? Right? They can keep a person in jail without bail for a petty misdemeanor, but they cannot find a stooge to tear down the billboards twice?
2) If we assume that Sheriff Woody (not his name, but Woody Harrelson plays him - how about that Toy Story tribute?) at heart really doesn’t mind the billboards (as we find out when he secretly pays the $5,000 in cash to keep them up) then why doesn’t he just go to his deputies and tell them not to harass the Mom or billboard owner Red? I mean, the Sheriff must know that they are harassing the Mom and Red – that is why the black lady is in his jail and why the $5,000 the mom paid is not being honored. Right? The Sheriff is a dying man with little money and two small kids – save yourself the $5,000.
3) We are in rural Missouri – it is a shitty town that is small that it has a road that “no one” drives on (which is the reasons billboards are so cheap and no one will see them). It has a zoo? The 19 year old girl character worked at a zoo. If the county has like 6,000 people, how does it sustain a zoo? Duluth, MN has a 100,000 population like 500,000 visitors a year, it struggles to maintain a zoo. What animals are in a rural Missouri zoo? What can they afford? A large dog?
4) When this same 19 year old girl gets fired from the zoo, she goes and works at a business that gives pony rides to the disabled…in Ebbing, Missouri. Are these disabled folks bussed in? I mean, it seems awfully unusual that the, what, 100 disabled people in the county(?) would have an entire business dedicated to helping them.
##3 and 4 are obviously plot devices to create jokes. They are ludicrous. Certainly someone could have created plausible jobs for the 19 year old to have that would have resulted in jokes.
5) The Dad comes to the Mom’s house to bitch at her. There is not one sign that he is going to be violent. The son expresses no concern about the dad. All of a sudden the divorced dad chokes the mom and threatens to punch her? Then the son grabs a butcher knife and threatens to slit his Dad’s throat. This very concerning life and death situation is broken up by the 19 year old saying she has to pee – it is a joke. So…….domestic violence that may end in death? Hilarious.
(I have heard it explained that this is a "black comedy" so such jokes, and the "people of color abuser" joke are OK. Are they? Is the point of the movie solely that what we are seeing on screen has happened? If so, doesn't the film lose a lot of its supposed power? That the mom was tough and brave and fighting the system to get justice? If domestic violence possibly resulting in death and racial assaults by police are funny gag setups, where exactly is the movie going?)
6) The investigation of the firebombing is ridiculous. “Why are you here?” Drove here after our date. “OK, huh, I will look elsewhere then." That was the best alibi we could get?
(One theme of the movie appears to be that no one in this town ever gets held responsible for anything they have done.)
7) The difference between the amount of daylight in scenes is crazy. There is the whole “it is broad daylight when I throw the guy out the window and then it is 8AM” and there is also the “I am calling you about going to kill the Idaho guy” scene where the bad cop is in a pitch dark house where it is like 2-3 AM. The mom is out checking her plants by her billboards and the sun is coming up over the mountains. He is calling from 3AM and she receives the call a few miles away at 7-8AM her time. Which, I guess, is pretty cool if you can do it.
8) The Sheriff is PISSED that he is bothered during his Eastern dinner with his little kids. Easter twilight in Kansas City is around 8PM. It is pitch dark in Sheriff Woody’s house. So it is like 9PM. When he is making his little kids eat dinner? Why? He is pushing 60, so why does he have a hot 30 year old English wife in the middle of Hicksville, USA? Maybe because he likes having dinner at 9PM and that appealed to her? Maybe they have high tea every day? Who knows?
##7 and 8 are just simply lazy and sloppy directing, which is probably why the director failed to even garner a nomination for Best Director.
9) The black woman is arrested for having two marijuana cigarettes – let’s ignore that Sheriff Woody is supposedly secretly favorable to the Mom and the black lady is her boss being harassed to get back at the Mom. She is held without bail because…per the script…..she had one prior crime? That isn’t why you get held without bail; she OWNS A BUSINESS IN THE TOWN! Where is she going to flee to avoid her eventual $1,000 fine? Then she has a hearing some days later and gets released “because they filled out the police report wrong.” I am not sure what legal scholar wrote that, but wouldn’t it have been easier just to say “illegal search”? I mean, it is a throwaway line that isn't followed up on. Why not just use a vague and well-recognized actual constitutional defense?
10) How well staffed is this town's police department? I mean, towns are routinely cutting staff nationwide and allowing the county sheriff to take over. It is called (per the view from the firebombing) the Ebbing Police Department, so it is the town's department. Why would the State of Missouri send someone to take it over when the sheriff died? But let's say it doubles as the County Sheriff's department. and it has some sort of deal with the state. OK, so why are these guys always at the station and not out patrolling the county? Why? And if they had a cop who managed to find a black guy or woman in rural Missouri and managed to beat them up, why is he still on the force? They aren't a union force - we know that because the bad cop gets immediately fired without notice or a hearing.
11) Why not shoot it in Missouri? I mean, the movie is about Missouri. Why shoot it in North Carolina. I guess because no one knows what Missouri looks like? If you call it Missouri in the title, use it.
I will stop there. Believe it or not - I still like it, but boy does it have a ton of issues.