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Sometimes there's a man...
The Big Lebowski (DVD)
Member Name: asgardroot
The Big Lebowski (DVD)
Date: 26/10/11, updated on 26/10/11 (19 review reads)
Advantages: Astonishing casting, even better dialogue and amazing performances
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.
Summary: The best comedy of the '90s and in my opinion the Coen bros best comedic film.