“ Genre: Comedy / Theatrical Release: 1998 / Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen / Actors: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman ... / DVD released 18 October, 2005 at Universal Studios / Features of the DVD: Closed-captioned, Collector's Edition, Colour, Dolby, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC „
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MY EXPERIENCE OF THE MOVIE
The first time I watched 'The Big Lebowski' I was drunk. I flitted in and out of what may pass for consciousness and the flitting gave way to full on lack of consciousness way before the ending - cue strange dreams of 'upskirting' at a bowling alley.
Based on this experience it would be more than remiss to judge the film, so I made sure I was sober the next time. This may possibly have been the best decision revolving around a film I have ever made and am likely to ever make. I have now seen the film dozens of times and each time gleaned something new. If ever there was a film that could match or even surpass the quotability of 'Withnail & I'...
"A coward you are Withnail, an expert on bulls you are not" - anyone?
...then this is that film. Barely a moment passes without providing the viewer with enough fuel for a lifetime of re-quotes.
CASTING AND ACTING
Sam Elliot's turn as 'The Stranger' adds a real western charm as he functions as the narrator and also something of a mysterious watchman to the films bizarre and mundane proceedings. Bridges himself pulls out all the stops in adopting the character as an extension of himself, and I can't think of him now without associating him with a dressing gown, a spliff, whale music, Creedence Clearwater Revival and of course bowling. Alongside Bridges, John Goodman is incredible as 'Nam vet and faux Jew Walter who once 'dabbled in pacifism' and looks after his ex-wife's show dog. His craziness and strange observation of Jewish rituals, despite having divorced his Jewish wife and not being of Jewish descent add a wildly entertaining and hilarious edge to proceedings. As their sweet, feeble and hilariously oblivious friend Donnie, Steve Buscemi - a staple of Coen Bros films (who always seems to meet a sticky end!) is his usual understated best. He continually annoys Walter as he butts in with inappropriate comments that reach hilarity levels as he confuses a conversation about Lenin with John Lennon and pipes up with 'I am the walrus' several times, before Walter bellows at him to let him know his mistake. Something of a tragic figure, Donnie continues the Coen Bros film trend of Steve Buscemi being killed off in every movie.
Julianne Moore's performance as feminist artist Maude who wishes to be inseminated by The Dude as well as John Turturo's hilarious turn as Latin bowling pederast Jesus are further casting treats.
What's the film about? Dude's rug getting soiled and him wanting it replaced. That and bowling. Basically, some goons burst into The Dude's house and pee on his rug, demanding to know where the money is. An error has been made as it is clear that The Dude is not a wealthy man. This error revolves around him sharing the same surname with another Jeffrey Lebowski - a disabled man, who is something of a fraud, but still has some substantial assets. The Dude then gets involved with this man, first taking a replacement rug from his house and then, after the rich Lebowski' s trophy wife is 'kidnapped' The Dude is contracted to find her. Capers, complications and much hilarity ensues as Walter joins the fun and The Dude meets some weird and wonderful Coen characters from porn tycoon Jackie Treehorn to Maude and 'The nihiilist' and a weird friend of Maude's with as The Dude so aptly puts it 'a cleft asshole'.
The plot and its crazy subplots arise from such a simple premise. A rug getting peed on. Therein lies the genius of the brothers Coen. This, in my opinion is them at their comic best. Sure, 'Fargo' is a great film too, but 'The Big Lebowski' is where the laughs are at. They are not the kind of cheap laughs that you later regret having given, either, but rather those that you'll carry with you and repeat at inopportune moments no doubt, throughout this crazy tombola called life.
Seek this film out and be sure to give it at least 2 viewings before making your mind up, especially if you are less than sober!
Just remember, sometimes there's a man...
The Dude abides.
The Big Lebowski is one of the most bizarre films I've ever seen. Often it's very ambiguous and has a lot of depth to it that takes some time to get used to. And yet it's just so bizarre that it's totally compelling and hugely enjoyable all the same. The actual plot itself is a very simple one. It's just a case of mistaken identity. But the Coen brothers are not ones for simple, so they filled the plot out with other plot parts and several typical film noir style twists and turns. This film also boasts some very bizarre Salvador Dali style image sequences about bowling and sex which are truly brilliant. And it has to be said that this, like other Coen Brothers films, also boasts some stunning character acting from its starts including Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro and Julianne Moore.
Jeff Lebowski, or 'The Dude' as he is known (Jeff Bridges), is the original loser, who is totally comfortable with being a loser and doesn't care that he's always broke. He's single and lives along, and along with his friends Walter (John Goodman) and Donny (Steve Buscemi) has a real obsession with bowling. He lives alone in a small apartment.
One evening, he arrives home and finds two men in his house. They attack him, then ruin his carpet. It turns out they have the wrong man, and that there is another Jeff Lebowski living in the city who is rich. The two mean leave. The Dude, however, is annoyed and following the advice of Walter goes to see the other Jefff Lebowski, claiming that he shoud pay for the carpet. The Dude ends up having to leave.
However, it turns out that the other Jeff Lebowski has a wife who has been kidnapped. In return for helping him, The Dude will be paid $20,000 by the other Jeff.
However, The Dude and his friend Walter start to find things that don't make sense, and as they try to rescue the other Jeff's wife, they become more and more suspicious that there is a lot more to the story, leading to a very good and somewhat bizarre climax.
A bizarre film, with a bizarre overall plot, some bizarre characters and some truly bizarre scenes. This film has often been described as a mess or a masterpiece, and is something you will either love or hate instantly. I personally think that it really is a hilarious and though it can be hard to follow at times, it's very absorbing and you really to enjoy the characters in this, along with the action and some of the fabulous imagery.
The acting, as with all Coen films, is outstanding. They don't use stars. Instead they use real character actors with depth in their acting. Jeff Bridges, Steve Buscemi and John Turturro are all one form. But the two actors that steal the scenes they are in are John Goodman as the loose cannon Walter, who has been through Vietnam and can't let it go, and Julianne Moore as the truly bizarre feminist.
Weird, bizarre and complicated. Yet hiliarious, totally compelling and one of the most visually stunning films for a very long time. The Big Lebowski is an outstanding film in my opinion.
The Coen brothers are legend and this is one of their greatest movies. The movie is about a lazy stoner 'The Dude', who gets sucked into a noir-esque detective story.
The tag line for this movie should be the quote "all the dude ever wanted was to get his rug back." perfectly summing up the dude's attitude towards everything that is happening to him, in anybody elses life this would be to much to handle but by focusing on what is just important to him he is able to stay the same chilled out person, letting things happen rather than making them happen. The Dude is a perfectly conceived masterpiece by the coen brothers exceptionaly executed by Jeff Bridges.
Sam elliot's narration is spot on. His accent is smooth and southern washing over you pulling you into to the plot. The Dudes two bowling buddies walter and donny are played by John Goodman and Steve Buscemi respectively. Both are outstanding. Steve Buscemi is one of the greatest actors of all time, in my opinion the best of his generation.
John Goodman's 'walter' is the dudes alter ego becoming more and more fustrated throughout the movie with a perfect undertone of vietnam hysteria (his ex-wife issues are also perfectly played). Donny is the dude's conscience, always 'out of his element'. When the dude finaly allows himself to be drawn into confrontation it is Donny who pays the price.
Julianne moore and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Maude and Brandt are other stand out performances in a brilliantly played classic. A special note needs to be made of the choice of soundtrack, helping draw you into the movie, appreciate it more yet never distracting you from the plot.
This is the first movie I ever saw that made me realise that a great film is also a great work of art. Whilst i would always recomend any Coen brothers movie (asides from O Brother.) The Big Lebowski will always be my favourite of theirs.
The Big Lebowski is a 1998 film written and directed by Ethan and Joel Coen.
Jeffrey Lebowski, or "The Dude" as he prefers to be called(Jeff Bridges), is a laidback, unemployed guy who only seems to have two things he loves - white russian cocktails and bowling. When he is mistaken for a millionaire of the same name (Lebowski, not "the dude"!) he gets sucked into helping the rich Lebowski deal with the kidnapping of his young trophy wife Bunny (Tara Reid). The Dude's bullish friend and bowling team mate Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) decides to invite himself along and then things go from bad to worse, as The Dude has a conspiracy to unravel - Did Bunny kidnap herself? Is Lebowski as clean cut as he makes out? What have German nihilists got to do with it all?
And will The Dude's team progress to the next round of the bowling tournament?
There are always funny elements to Coen films, but The Big Lebowski is one of the most broadly comedic of them all. Throughout, the films story is propelled via a comedy of errors and mistaken identity with a great gag involving a pad of paper and a pencil. The dialogue is some of the best the brothers have written, with incredibly witty lines. They also pull a great trick of having The Dude say things he's previously picked up from other sources, "This agression will not stand, man" taken from a speech he hears President Bush Sr give on TV. If I were to use memorable quotes from the film, I'd be using most of them. Do be warned though that if you have issues with bad language you might be put off by this film - I've looked it up on google and the F word is used 292 times.
The film is also packed with interesting, funny characters - there are none that don't serve a purpose to the story, or at least provide a well deserved laugh. Jeff Bridges gives an absolutely brilliant performance as the drug-addled Dude, so much so that there is now a Lebowski-fest in honour of the film and it's lead character! Goodman is also hilarious as the quick to temper Walter. But it is unfair to point out too many other performances since so many are genuinely funny and brilliant - even John Turturro is memorable despite being in the film for roughly 5 minutes!
There is without doubt re-watchability in this film, since you might miss a funny line the first time or a particular character tic. This is definitely in the top 5 Coen brothers film, two of the most consistently brilliant film makers working today. A comedy classic for those who don't mind swearing!
The Big Lebowski follows the story of The Dude - a deadbeat who bowls, drinks white russians, and appreciates a good rug - and his friends; Walter - an Vietnam Veteran who seemingly can't talk about anything other than Vietnam ("I watched good men die face down in the mud so that we can all enjoy this family restaurant!") and Donny - a good bowler who is extremely downtrodden by Walter, with the immortal phrases "shut the f**k up, Donny" and "Donny, shut up, you're out of your element!".
The story follows the dude as he gets mixed up in all kinds of queer goings-on - large sums of money, a runaway bride, a missing rug and some nihilist germans on motorcycles.
A true Cohen brothers' effort (and one of my favourites of theirs), this film is hilarious at some points, but also emotive at others, and basically full of little eccentricities that make people... real. Such as paying for a single pint of milk with a cheque.
In addition, the film has a wonderful soundtrack, and at some points drifts into musical territory, when the Dude is blacked out, his dreams take musical form, all based around bowling.
The film (as many of the Cohen Brothers' do) shows what life is like (for some people at least) in a certain part of America (in this case LA) - something which I think they do incredibly well, showing how the little people live in different circumstances. Another film which shows diversity in their canon is Fargo, the name of the film itself being the place where the whole film is based.
This is without a doubt my favourite Coen brothers' film. Not only has the character of the Dude spawned a religion, he has doubtless inspired a new generation of students to drink white Russians and go bowling. Faultless performances from Steve Bushemi, John Goodman and Jeff Bridges (who has never suited a character so well) make this a film one I can watch over and over again. The plot follows an elaborate kidnap which the Dude attempts to make sense of through a chilled out, drunk and stoned haze. Set in Los Angeles, this is the only film that has actually made me think twice about visiting the city. The Coen brothers have a knack of creating slightly off beat but somewhat believable story worlds through a mix of their colourful characters and natural dialogue. I would urge everyone to watch this film especially if you are a fan of the Coen brothers' work.
In this 1998 comedy/ thriller directed by the infamous Cohen Brothers, Jeff Bridges stars as Jeffrey Lebowski; a loser/ stoner type who goes by the moniker "The Dude" and spends his time hanging out at the local bowling alley with his pals, the psychotic war veteran Walter (played by John Goodman) and the increasingly annoying Donny (played by Steve buscemi). The three are part of a bowling league and are due to take on the champion, Jesus, at a forthcoming match but suddenly their lives become just that little more interesting when Jeffrey is mistaken for another Lebowski, this one a millionaire business man with a very extravagant wife.
This is how the movie opens ~ with three thugs asking the same question repeatedly, "Where's the money Lewbowski?", as they flush The Dude's head down his own toilet. After urinating on his rug, the pair realise they might just have made a mistake and flee the scene but The Dude is less than impressed and seeks compensation from the real Lebowski. Walking away with a replacement rug which is not really Lebowski's to donate, The Dude seems happy but then he is contacted again by Lebowski. Someone has kidnapped his wife and he wants The Dude to carry the ransom. Best friend Walter insists on accompanying when the ransom is delivered but only ends up complicating what should have been an easy drop. Lebowski's wife is soon apparently missing a finger because of the fumbled ransom drop. And Lebowski's estranged daughter before long wants her rug back! Between them, The dude and his buddies seem to have made something relatively simple into a complicated snowball carousing down a hill. And in true Cohen Brothers style, things are only going to get worse!
Having only ever watched Fargo before, also directed by The Brothers Cohen, and having mixed feelings about that film ~ it was good but not really good and my personal opinion was that it had been a tad over-hyped ~ I was not in a rush to watch this film, hence why I am only just reviewing it. But a fellow colleague at work kept reciting lines from the film and, seeing it in my local generic supermarket for a measley two quid, I decided to purchase the DVD. My end feelings were similar to those felt after Fargo, namely that I enjoyed it but that it felt a tad flat ~ and Fargo was far superior to this in my opinion ~ but for two quid, I certainly couldn't complain. All the cast are up to par and though I don't paticulary like Buscemi, he did have some quite funny lines though his role here is a relatively small one! In fact, it almost felt as though he was here just because he has to be in a Cohen Brothers movie by law and less like his character actually served any purpose. The bowling championship plot also seemed a little unnessecary, especially as it is never resolved, and though there seems plenty going on on the surface, the viewer really shouldn't attempt to look any deeper as this felt to me as something of a very shallow film. With trippy dream sequences that feel out of place at times, I am not sure I would watch it again as my feelings are largely that this is a film attempting to be cleverer than it is! It tries to be arty but ends up being a bit more farty. And I remain to be convinced by The Cohen Brother's genius I am afraid....
note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
The Coen Brothers are known for their quirky and idiosyncratic sense of humour, and also their dark plots that plumb the depths of greed and death. The Big Lebowski is one of their best films, combining some hilariously spirited performances with a great script and typically brilliant direction from the Coens. If you were ever after a thriller about bowling, then this is the film for you!
Jeffrey Lebowski (Jeff Bridges, in what is arguably his best performance), is known by his friends as "The Dude". He thinks he's a lot cooler than he is, because he's actually an employed, possibly alcoholic bowling fan. Things start off innocently enough, with him being mistaken for another man of the same name - and when that man's wife is kidnapped, the man comissions The Dude and his buddies to deliver the ransom and therefore ensure that his wife returns. However, things get more complicated when Walter Sobchak (John Goodman), one of the Dude's friends who intends to keep the ransom money for himself.
Any fan of the Coens knows what to expect - this has the quirky, dark humour of their other films, and also has plenty of their regular cast members. Bridges' performance in the lead role and also Goodman as the ever-angry thief are great. The characters are likeable thanks to the efforts of their acting counterparts, and there's plenty of carnage and mayhem to satisfy thriller fans - just don't expect something that's clean and structured, because it darts all over the place and is quite messy, but this works and fits the chaotic soul of the film.
This film is delightfully funny and one of the Coen's best. The Dude is now an iconic character and the film itself is a fully fledged cult classic.
This is one of my favourite films ever.
The film focuses on a central character who goes by the name "The Dude" aka Jeff Lebowski, who was a hippy when he was younger and has continued the trend into his midlife. He spends his time bowling, drinking white russians and spending time with his two bowling buddies Walter and Donnie.
The storyline involves the kidnapping of Bunny Lebowski who is the wife of the other Jeff Lebowski, a millionaire who is the big Lebowski of the films title. A case of mistaken identity due to the same names brings The Dude and the Big Lebowski into contact and the Big L asks The Dude to help him get this wife back.
This film is crazy and features a huge amount of swearing (I think it's the most swearing I've ever heard in a film) but the writing is fantastic and makes the film extremely quotable. The Dude's friend Walter is ex-army and still acts like he's in 'Nam, played brilliantly by John Goodman he really hits on what it might be like for a slightly crazy guy to come home from 'Nam and have to fit into normal life. Donnie, their downtrodden bowling partner, spends much of his time sitting quietly as whenever he tries to join in a conversation he's shot down quickly by Walter who generally tells him to 'shut the **** up Donnie!'. Donnie is played by Steve Buscemi and this is not the sort of role you've seen him in before, he pulls it off fantastically. The Dude himself is played by Jeff Bridges and I cannot imagine a better Dude being played by anyone else.
The story takes a few twists and turns, usually due to Walters overzealous nature, all the while they're trying to find Bunny, battling Nhilists and trying to uncover what the hell is going on!
A cult classic in every sense of the term, this film is utterly brilliant and if you haven't seen it, buy it now and watch it at least 5 times... then you too will be an achiever!
This film has created one of the greatest icons in cinema history, an image of ultra-hippy, easy going, high all the time life - The Dude! just on the brilliantly weird characters in The Big Lebowski, possibly the only film with a main premise of bowling. It even seems at times that the movie doesn't really want to get anywhere - kind of a metaphor for The Dude's life, but we're happy to bowl along with them during this wacky tale of mistaken identities, crime lords, sexual deviants, ransom demands and pee-stained rugs that just seem to hold the room together.
The plot is just a devilishly clever as any of the Coen masterpieces with random twists and turns that leave you as an audience member scratching your head over where the film will take you next. This is of course all held together by the three magnificent protagonists: The Dude obviously, his right hand man Walter the Vietnam vet who is determined to attribute every moment of his life to the cause and effect of American involvment 'over there'. Donny, who we really dont get too hear much from since he always told to shut the fuck up, Buscemi plays this marvelously with an air of utter confusion. Last but not least of course we have Jesus the brilliantly original bowling master. These performances together with the usual coenesque zany black humour, wonderfully werid and delightful imagey and brilliant script creates one of the finest comedies of the last 20 years.
For those of us who are fans of the Coen's usual abstract view on reality we get another pure delight from the Big Lebowski that mirrors the good will of humans with the same complexity that Fargo or O Brother Where Art Ou has given us. We get truly original look at how something so simple can be expanded it something completely bewildering and crazy beyond believe or imagination of a normal person. An example of this can be found in Joel's cinematography and camera trickery - putting a camera into a bowling bowl! marvelous.
Hey the academy might have dismissed this as not worthy of any nominations but what do they know, this is truly clever piece of cinema that will remain as one of the Coen's masterpieces and regardless to what these up tight critics think i hope they will continue to produce brilliant scripts and screenplays so that we can continue to be mezmerised by them.
The Big Lebowski (1998) is one of my favourite films. This is perfect Coen brothers at their best. It is laugh out loud funny throughout and is such a different story. It brings together Jeff Bridges, Steve Buscemi and John Goodman, an unlikely trio but all brilliantly cast.
Bridges plays Lebowski (not the wheelchaired Lebowksi) but slacker Lebowski. This role is perfect for Bridges. Without seeming to have a care in the world other than a soiled rug, Lebowski floats through the film. Enjoying dope and ten pin bowling Lebowski would much prefer to not be getting involved in this film if he had his way.
Sadly for chilled out Lebowski his friend and bowling team member Walter won't let things lie. Walter, a 'Nam veteran and devout Jew is the ying to Lebowski's yang. The slightest event whips Walter up to a frenzy of energy and anger.
The final of the trio Donny is, like Lebowski, a chilled out character who is dwarfed and overshadowed by Walter. Buscemi plays this role beautifully and Donny's life seemingly revolves around just two things - ten pin bowling and asking questions of Walter. Interesting fact (for me a Lebowski nerd), Donny only bowls strikes for the whole movie.
The humour in this film is on a different level to say Knocked Up or Superbad. This, whilst almost slapstick in its approach, is intelligent. Some of the set up to the laugh out loud moments is so obvious that you are waiting for the moment but when it comes it is done is such an brilliant way. For example the scene with the scattering of the ashes or Lebowski carefully propping a chair against his front door.
The idea for the film - a simple case of mistaken identity leading to a soiled rug - as the premise for a whole film is something that only the Coen brothers can do.
This film amazingly succeeds in making ten pin bowling excting too. Not since Kingpin has this been done. The shots of the pro bowlers and bowling with that special release-of-ball flourish is so well captured. If you ever go bowling watch out for the pros They are perfectly captured here.
One of the other great cameos in this film is played by John Turturro who plays Jesus. Jesus is the trio's nemesis in the bowling lanes but particularly Walters. He has a life outside the bowling alley as a creepy pervert but when Jesus dons his bowling glove he becomes "Geesas" and refers to himself frequently in the third person. The scenes with him and Walter are so funny.
The film also has some nice typical Coen brother moments. The bowling ball flight scene looks amazing. Sam Elliott the stranger who narrates some of the scenes with a thick cowboy-esque accent almost takes on a godlike role never judging just observing and commenting on 'the dude'.
The Big Lebowski is an amazing film. This is one of the funniest films ever made. Whilst its humour may not tickle everybody if you give this a go and get in the mood of the dude you will laugh your head off.
I've always been a huge fan of the Coen brothers movies, particularly thair ability to leap from genre to genre and outdo the masters in each. In this film, they tackle the stoner comedy genre. The film concerns two men with the unlikely surname Lebowski. The first, the 'Big' Lebowski, is a self-made millionaire with a beautiful (if somewhat licentious) wife, a mansion, a manservant, and other typical trappings of success. The other Lebowski (played superbly by Jeff Bridges) is a bum, who never gets out of his dressing gown and only answers to "The Dude".
When the Big Lebowski's wife is kidnapped, he enlists the help of The Dude to save the day, which he does...after a fashion.
The Big Lebowski is a comedy driven by hilarious characters. From the stumbling, drug-adddled "Dude", whacked out Vietnam Vet Walter (John Goodman, who steals the movie), and the Big Lebowski's bizarre performance artist daughter (Julianne Moore). The laughs come thick and fast, and the quality of the performances ensures the film has enormous repeat value. Highly recommended.
The Big Lebowski is the Coen brother's seventh film. In fact it's their 'middle film' if you like. They made six films prior to this, and have subsequently (with the yet to be released 'Burn After Reading') made six films after it.
The story revolves around Jeffrey Lebowski - also known as 'The Dude', magnificently played by Jeff Bridges.
Due to a case of mistaken identity, 'The Dude' becomes entangled in a kidnap plot - but more concerned about seeking retribution for his ruined rug, he embarks of a journey which introduces him to some of L.A's more unusual characters.
The acting throughout The Big Lebowski is top notch - and it's a good job, as the Coen Brothers films are character driven and often rely on the relationship between the central characters and the audience.
Jeff Bridges is excellent - surely he's never played such a laid back character, neither before or since.
Steve Buscemi once again makes his guaranteed Coen Brothers movie appearance. I say 'guaranteed', as from 1990 all the way through to 1998, Buscemi starred in every film which the crafty American directors have made. Here, he is as entertaining as ever, playing 'Donny', the somewhat bullied bowling buddy of John Goodman's 'Walter'.
Goodman is superb in a portrayal of the easily riled 'Nam' vet. The role is a great showcase for his acting abilities.
In fact all the characters are beautifully crafted. Julianne Moore steps up to provide small, but unusual role, whilst other Coen brothers favourite - John Torturro plays an excellent cameo as 'Jesus' the bowler - getting strikes in time with Spanish vocal rendition of Hotel California - classic stuff.
The eagle eyed amongst you may notice an even smaller cameo from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers bassist Flea who portrays one of the Nihilist's - 'Nihilist #2' infact, according to the credits.
The movie is superbly filmed and extremely creative. An example of this is the fantastical bowling dream sequence featuring Saddam Hussein.
As i've previously mentioned in my review of 'O Brother Where Art Thou?', the Big Lebowski is my joint favourite Coen Brothers film. I only hope their newest offering 'Burn After Reading' is even half as good as this cinematic gem.
This movie is one of only a handful of films which I can watch countless times without getting tired of.
If you haven't seen it, give it a go - you may be pleasantly surprised.
You can purchase this DVD for only £3.98 from Amazon - Excellent value.
The Big Lebowski is the Coen brother's hilarious film about 'The Dude', a unemployed, single, stoner and bum who constantly has a joint and a white Russian cocktail in hand, enjoys going bowling with his two best friends Donnie and Walter, then get's caught up in a plan to extort a large amount of money from a much richer man than himself (who goes by the same name) by kidnapping his wife.
Jeff Bridges plays the main character Jeffrey 'the Dude' Lebowski, a man who asks everyone to call him the dude, goes to the supermarket (and everywhere else) in his shorts, t-shirt and dressing gown, pays for a bottle of milk with a check, has the occasional acid flashback, plays on a bowling team with his 2 friends, and seems to have no want for a job or money. Bridge's is superb in this role and had me in stitches many times through out the film. He plays the character perfectly and delivers his lines so well you really believe in the character he's playing. He's often walked all over by the other characters in the film which adds to your sympathy for him although this is usually when 'the Dude' has his best lines. In the scenes where the Dude meets the other Big Lebowski (played by David Huddleston best know for his title role in 'Santa Claus: The Movie) the difference between the two characters couldn't be any bigger and their conflicting lifestyles and attitudes comes out very well, mainly due to some great dialogue and some excellent directing by the Coen's.
The Dude character was based on Jeff Dowd, a man the Coen's met, who referred to himself as 'The Dude' and found a child's homework in his stolen car. The character is also based on Pete Exline a Vietnam War veteran who lives in awful apartment and was proud of his rug 'that really tied the room together'. After checking on the web it seems nearly all the characters are based on people the Coen's have met over their lives.
This brings me to the next character, John Goodman's Walter Sobchak. Walter is a Vietnam War veteran with a very, very short temper which often leads to him pulling out his handgun with hilarious results. Pretty much everything Walter talks about soon moves back to Vietnam no matter if it had any relevance or not, much too the Dude's displeasure. The best part about Goodman's character is definitely the times he get's angry, be it screaming at the other bowling team, arguing with the Dude, and especially shouting at little Larry. He has over 70% of the best lines in the film and I truly believe this is Goodman's best performance in any of his comedic movie's, it certainly is a step up from 'The Flinstone's' and 'King Ralph', and led to the Coen brothers casting him in their film 'O Brother, Were Art Thou'. I would love to go into the details of some of these scene's but this film is best left unspoiled in any way so these parts have their best effect. Goodman's and Bridge's chemistry on screen is excellent and they bounce off each other well in their scenes together.
Steve Buscemi who plays the lesser role of Donnie, the Dude's and Walters friend, is a veteran of such top quality movies as Reservoir Dogs, King of New York, Con Air and the earlier Coen brothers film Fargo, so everyone knows what he brings to the table. He has the smallest role out the 3 main friend's and play's Donnie as a timid person who usually interrupts The Dude and Walter talking whilst not knowing the full story ('What tied the room together, Dude?') leading Walter to usually shout 'Shut the F*ck up Donny' at him, as a clever reference by the Coen's to Buscemi's character in Fargo in which he was constantly talking.
The supporting cast are all decent in their roles, but the stand out is definitely Philip Seymour Hoffman as Brandt, the loyal assistant to the other Big Lebowski (a old rich man in a wheelchair). Hoffman's bumbling character is quite the opposite of the dude and spends most of his time around the dude correcting things he says with the politically correct versions which is very funny.
The film is unlike any other I have seen and it's easy to see why it has such a cult following. The Coen's seem to be a rarity in modern cinema in the fact nearly everything they touch turns to gold and TBL is no different. From start to finish I was in tears laughing, and with continued watching over the years the jokes have not become old, with me still laughing out loud at this film. Some of the best scenes come in the bowling alley with the Dude, Walter and Donne talking and bowling, with some brilliant interactions with the other players, none better than John Turturro's Jesus Quintana. Jesus is a trash talking Hispanic sounding bowler who usually refers to himself in third person narrative and had me repeating his lines at people for about 2 months after I first saw this film.
The only part I'm not keen on is the acid flashbacks the Dude suffers from. These seem a bit disjointed and random to me and certainly could have been cut down a little.
The production of the film involved shooting with a wide-angle lens camera to make it 'easier to hold focus for a greater depth and it made camera movements more dynamic' (Joel Coen). The movie is shot in LA and makes good use of the surrounding areas. The scenes in the Dude's apartment are dark and seedy which add to the viewers perception of the way the Dude lives and is perceived to live. The acid flashbacks are shot in stark contrast to the apartment, with them being very bright and colourful.
Overall I love this film and will never grow tired of watching it. The Coen's are masters of their craft as evident in the this film, they are such a diverse, talented individuals that often they surprise you with the content of their film and try many ideas conventional film writers do not. If your a fan of the Coen's, or just want to watch John Goodman going crazy then check out The Big Lebowski!
(Film only review)
The Big Lebowski is the 1998 film from the Coen brothers, Ethan and Joel. Both share the writing credits, with Joel on his own as director.
Jeff' The Dude' Lebowski is an ageing hippy going about his life slumming it. He is mistaken for a millionaire with the same name as him, and his rug is defaced. Angered by this insult, Dude goes to see the real millionaire Jeff Lebowski and demands some kind of recompense. Dude accepts a job with a high pay out, and thinks this could solve matters, but it doesn;t. It only serves to complicate matters even further, as evryone is clamoring for a piece of the Dude!
The Cast and Performances
Jeff Bridges plays the Dude very well. It seems effortless for him to portray a washed up bum with no direction in life. John Goodman is Dude's bowling buddy Walter, a Jewish gun lover who is angry at pretty much everything. Julianne Moore plays Maude Lebowski, a woman desperate to conceive, and with strange but effective cameos from Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tara Reid, and the brilliant Steve Buscemi, the cast manage somehow in the madness to gel together in an effective way. Special note must go to John Turturro as Jesus Quintana - brilliant arrogance!
I am still not sure if I like this film or not. The plot is so weird that you just have to laugh, and some of the acting is profoundly funny. Yet there is something niggling and annoying that I found about the film. It was just not easy to watch at all. I could not relax and watch, and sometimes I was laughing because I flt I should. There are some genius scenes, particularly at the bowling alley with Jeff Bridges and John Goodman bouncing off each other to good effect, and the sexual predator in Julianne Moore is relentlessly bombarding the Dude, resulting in a weird but funny film.
Funnt but not sure why.............
I ratge this film at 3 stars out of 5.
The DVD is available from amazon.co.uk for £4.98.
This review may also be posted on ciao.co.uk.
Thanks for reading.
How many movies can claim as their hero a pot-bellied, pot-smoking loser named Jeff The Dude Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) who spends most of his time bowling and getting stoned? And where else could you find a hair-netted Latino bowler named Jesus (John Turturro) who sports dazzling purple footgear, or an erotic artist (Julianne Moore) whose creativity consists of covering her naked body in paint, flying through the air in a leather harness, and splatting herself against a giant canvas? The Coen Brothers's follow-up to the hit film Fargo finds Lebowski involved in a kidnapping scheme after he's mistaken for a rich guy with the same name and also stars John Goodman and Steve Buscemi.