Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Big Lebowski (1998)

John Goodman, Jeff Bridges, The Big Lebowski
Sometimes, there's a man, well, he's the man for his time and place. He fits right in there... Well, sometimes there's a movie, and it's the right movie for its time and place. The Dude, is such a guy, and The Big Lebowski is such a movie. Ten years ago, fresh off their best picture win for Fargo, the Coen Brothers1 wrote one of the greatest comedies of all time.

The Big Lebowski follows Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski,2 who wants nothing more than to bowl with is friends Walter and Donny,3 when a case of mistaken identity launches him into a kidnapping scandal meant for Jeffrey "The Big" Lebowski, his wife Bunny, his daughter Maude, and a host of others.4 Because it is a Coen Brother's script it's filled with fast and smart dialogue that makes for infinite quotability. The movie even tends to quote itself, as a good portion of the Dude's lines are said by another person in the film.

The movie has also achieved a cult following as every year fans all over the country organize Lebowski Fests. My friends Robin and Patrick have attended one in Los Angeles. My friend Kevin went to a Lebowski themed birthday party the other day. And while I was traipsing around Kalimndor slaying Deadwood tribe Furbolgs to gain reputation with the Timbermaw Hold, I saw a Night Elf who belonged to the "Lebowski Urban Achievers" guild.5

John Turturro, The Big Lebowski
It's hard for me to really explain why I love this movie. I think in the end it's just filled with so many outrageous and absurd lines that I cannot help but laugh when I think about it. And whenever two Lebowski fans get together, they'll either spend a lot of time quoting the movie... or I guess, organizing a Lebowski Fest. This film also has some fun moments when seen on basic cable, but only if you know the real movie. At one point, Walter is teaching young Larry a lesson and he says to him "This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass!" On cable, however he says, "This is what happens when you meet a stranger in the Alps!" Classic.

I should also ad that I had to replace my copy of The Big Lebowski because someone had stolen it. I got the collectors edition as a replacement, and this blog had me watching this copy for the first time ever. It has an introduction from "Forever Young Films" that I have never seen and that is quite humorous with Mortimer Young talking about this restored version of The Grand Lebowski.

Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, The Big Lebowski
The Dude: Let me explain something to you. Um, I am not "Mr. Lebowski." You're Mr. Lebowski. I'm the Dude. So that's what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing.

Notes:
1. Ethan and Joel.
2. Jeff Bridges
3. John Goodman and Steve Buscemi, respectively.
4. Dave Huddleston, Tara Reid, and Julianne Moore, respectively. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, John Turturro, and Peter Storemare also have notable roles.
5. That's World of Warcraft for those of you who don't know.

1 comment:

Robin said...

We've been to two LebowskiFests. One in L.A., the other in Seattle. In Seattle we won best group costume when we dressed up with our friends as the Human Paraquat Squad.

Also, The Dude recycles dialogue he hears from other people frequently in the film, for example "This aggression will not stand," is repeated by The Dude after hearing President Bush (senior) say the phrase on televison.

Also, also, Walter says "This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass," twice in the film. The second time he says it, basic cable has dubbed in "This is what happens when you feed a stranger scrambled eggs."