The Big Lebowski: Twenty Years Of Abiding
Hey gang, Pete here with you! As always annoying you with more jibberish about cinema.
Today I’d LOVE to review for you one of my favorite movies. Anyone who’s anyone over the last 20 years has stumbled across, been directed to, or somehow been led to the Coen brothers cult classic and masterpiece, The Big Lebowski. Rich in off-beat humor, stylistic vision and editing, the film is a throwback in sentence two films of yesteryear.
Influenced by Chandler novels in stories from people of the Hollywood set in the Coen Brothers Circle, the film is hard to put into words when trying to describe it to the first time viewer. Rich in sarcasm and heavy on silliness, The Big Lebowski has always and will always be one of my favorite films and most definitely my favorite comedy.
It was initially overlooked by critics and panned to a small degree. But somehow the little film that could took off. It has become one of the most successful cult films of all time. Inspiring traveling film festivals that feature costume contests, garden parties and of course bowling, this movie is more than just some underground gem… It’s an experience. To some, a way of life.
Colleges offer Dudeist courses. You can become an ordained Dudeist minister.
I’m a Dudiest minister and can marry people in I believe 46 states. I charge a nominal fee.
But let’s get to it. This film is about mistaken identity from the jump. We all know the character of the dude. He’s an easy going really-do-nothing type of fella. The kind of guy who’s unaware that the sixties are over. He’s of the Mind that the world should just be Live and Let Live. But as he finds out in the opening moments of the film, the world is hardly that.
That rug of his, you know the one, it really tied the room together, becomes his motivating factor in his journey of silliness through L.A. accompanied by such characters as Walter, the militant Jew, in Donnie Who Loved bowling, The Dude embarks upon a quest of, I wouldn’t say enlightenment, but rather random unchecked aggression to seek compensation for his soiled rug. Along the way he becomes drawn into a kidnapping plot of sorts, runs afoul of Da Jesus and incurrs the wrath of nihilists.
Confused yet? You will be. This film takes a few viewings to put together the pieces. I’m still trying twenty years out. It’s rich in visual beauty and character. Jeff Bridges was brilliantly cast as Jeff Lebowski. John Goodman, he hits the grandslam with his portrayal of Walter Sobcheck. Even Steve Buschemi is the right amount of reserved as Donnie. The supporting cast, featuring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, John Turturro, Julianne Moore and even the incomparable Flea shine as the eclectic Los Angeles who wander into The Dude’s life raining havoc upon his nomadic existence.
So much of the film seemingly makes no sense. But if you’re clever enough, you’ll find that it’s outlandish story is so unbelievably relatable that the bulk of it has to be true. Twenty years later, I still chuckle at the thought of being immersed in the story of a man questing to get compensated for his rug that was peed on.
If you haven’t seen this gem, you truly haven’t lived.
This film gets six reels folks. I’m not gonna tell you how it ends, because The Dude doesn’t want me to… He has no idea how it does himself. So kick back, pour yourself a White Russian, grab some Thai stick, and follow the Dude to, well, I don’t really know.