The Big Lebowski – 20th Anniversary

The Coen Brothers have a long history of making movies. Specifically, they have a long history of making incredible movies. Surprisingly, I found that the love for the Coen Brothers splits opinion. Some of you (like me) find the possibility that the Coen brothers are anything less than genius ridiculous. After all, they not only manage to make a tense, heart-pounding thriller (No Country For Old Men), but manage to tickle us with hilarity (Fargo) in equal footing. I was going to lead into a “one of their most popular” or “one of their most well liked movies” bit, but then I realised that this is a cult film by the best definition. There is no fun in being popular. So here it is man, The Big Lebowski.

Image result for The Big Lebowski.

The Big Lebowski is every slacker’s wet dream. Revolving around a middle-aged unemployed man known as ‘The Dude’ (epic protagonist already),  The Big Lebowski is about a kidnaping gone wrong when German Nihilists confuse The Dude with wealthy, wheel chair bound Jeffery Lebowski (they share the same name). Along with Vietnam Vet Walter and the gentle Donny, The Dude must rectify this situation as it rapidly escalates. After all, there is no vengeance like the vengeance over a rug.

Choosing to opt for a very non-linear narrative, The Big Lebowski is a hilarious compilation of sketches revolving around a ‘White Russian’ swilling stoner. The lack of plot may seem confounding but its reduction to the background makes the brilliantly witty dialogue stand out. The script is so strong that you forget that you are watching basically skits because they are juicy and full of so many hilarious jokes. There is no beginning, middle or end to this story. It feels more like a collection of ‘days in the life of’ The Dude and you can’t complain at such a charismatic character.

And that is much to the strength of actor Jeff Bridges doing a sublime job as Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski. The laid back “hero for the burn out generation” is just the guy we need to save our screens. He is a victim of identity confusion and a basic slob but Bridges makes him loveable and admirable.

Much of the cast are great; John Goodman is outstanding as the irate Walter, who flips his lid over the tiniest of details and even goes as far as threatening a 12 year old boy. Steve Buscemi (everyone’s favourite “ugly guy”) does what he does best as the ever outsider Donny who lacks the prowess to put his ideas into motion. Even the support are stand out and this collection of great actors and actresses is mind blowing.

Image result for The Big Lebowski.

There is much thrown in The Big Lebowski that could make the film flop. There is naked artist (Julianne Moore) who straddles herself to harnesses, a trophy wife (Tara Reid in one of her two good roles), a purple clad Jesus (John Turturro), a bungled ransom drop and much more. While other movies would over saturate the humour turning The Big Lebowski into nothing more than a farce, The Coen Brothers inject an ease into the story. It’s quotable and enjoyable fun that has inspired Lebowski fests worldwide where they dress up as their favourite characters, drink White Russians and bowl. Hell, it has even been parodied in My Little Pony (so epically, might I mention). It’s not serious, it’s genius.

“This is a very complicated case, Maude. You know, a lotta ins, a lotta outs, a lotta what-have-yous. And, uh, a lotta strands to keep in my head, man. Lotta strands in old Duder’s head. Fortunately, I’m adhering to a pretty strict, uh, drug regimen to keep my mind, you know, uh, limber.”
– The Dude   

Holy words, my friends. Holy words.

Happy 20th Anniversary The Big Lebowski! 

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