So technically I have seen this before, but I was on Ambien the first time I saw it so needless to say I didn’t quite remember everything…
Anyways, I felt like I might as well celebrate the legalization of Marijuana in my state with the slightly more legal option of watching this movie sober, although having now seen it as such I can imagine how fun it might be to see it completely baked. At the top of many reviewers’ Favorite Films lists, The Big Lebowski is one of those movies where upon watching it you suddenly understand hundreds of references that have been made to you over the past 14 years. Whether it’s the rug that “really tied the room together”, the simple fact that “No one f*cks with the Jesus” or the classic “The Dude Abides”, I feel like I’ve now been let in on a massive inside joke. Aside from being infinitely quotable, the Big Lebowski is an extremely fun Cohen-brothers-style romp that absolutely deserves its status as a modern classic.
After being mistaken for a millionaire with the same surname, Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) seeks restitution from the intended target of a break in that left The Dude’s favorite rug ruined. Soon he realizes he is caught up in things beyond his control as The Big Lebowski’s wife Bunny (Tara Reid) is kidnapped, drawing The Dude into a world of German Nihilists, Pornography Magnates and grand theft auto. With the help of his bowling buddies Walter (John Goodman) and Donnie (Steve Buscemi) as well as The Big Lebowski’s daughter Maude (Julianne Moore), The Dude attempts to solve the mystery of Bunny’s kidnap and to get through the entire ordeal without losing his head (or his Johnson).
Between his love of white russians, weed and bubble baths, The Dude is arguably the most iconic character the Cohen Brothers have ever created. Hollywood generally has trouble dealing with perma-stoned characters in a way that doesn’t cartoonize them, usually resulting in the pot-heads being delegated to supporting/comic-relief roles. Whenever they’re given the lead, though, there’s rarely any middle ground between amazing and terrible. Luckily, Bridges ends up with the former, creating a very likable and adorably bumbling leading man. I also absolutely loved all of the other characters referring to him as “Dude” even in the most serious or threatening contexts (Especially Philip Seymour Hoffman as The Big Lebwoski’s simpering butler)
There are plenty of other gems in the cast that show up from time to time, but the main two I’d like to recognize are Walter and Maude. Goodman is equal parts hilarious and scary as the anger-prone Vietnam vet and Jewish convert Walter, who steals more scenes than any other in the film. Admittedly, his meddling is the entire reason why The Dude got dragged into everything in the first place, but the combination of his short fuse with The Dude’s laid-back social-consciousness turn the Big Lebowski into a strangely wonderful Buddy-Cop flick.
Maude is also incredibly strange as a deadpan, artistic and sexually explicit aristocrat with designs on Bunny’s ransom money, and while she added a little much to the confusion of the plot for me she’s also part of the Best Dream Sequence of All Time. I can only imagine how many people dressed in over-sized Viking hats for Halloween after this came out…
My Favorite Moments:
- The Dream Sequence (of course)
- The Dude barricading a door that opens outwards
- The Face full of Ashes
- Decoding the mysterious Dick drawing
- “It increases the chances of conception”
The Verdict: 9.0/10 Incredible
+ The Dude is nothing short of amazing
+ Hilarious, highly quotable script
+ Great chemistry between Bridges and Goodman
+ Creative directing/cinematography by the Cohen Brothers
Marked Movies: 5/5
Andy Watches Movies: 5/5
Cinemaniac Reviews: (Very Positive)
Fogs’ Movie Reviews: (Movie Everyone Should See)