Pin It
Favorite

The Big Lebowski 

Ten years later the Dude still abides.

Fargo was a hit for Joel and Ethan Coen when it was released in 1996. The loveable characters, the goofy accents, the grisly woodchipper scene — reviewers and audiences alike ate it up. But two years later, when the pair released The Big Lebowski, the response was a collective “Huh?”

The film follows a burned-out, bowling-obsessed L.A. slacker as he’s sucked into a chain of mistaken identity, kidnap, ransom and possible dismemberment. Sounds sexy, but nothing ever really happens in the film, which is replete with non sequiturs, obscure pop-cultural references, loosely drawn characters, nonsensical dialogue, unidentifiable accents and a gross superfluity of four-letter words. Audiences are excused for having been perplexed.

But in 10 years, Lebowski has spawned a fan club and a massive yearly festival. It has single-handedly re-ignited a barroom love for the White Russian. And while it may not have been clear in 1998, its success is no surprise now. The comedic performances are sublimely subtle (especially from Jeff Bridges as “The Dude” and John Goodman as Walter Sobchak). The dream sequences are dizzying and riotous, and the collection of quotable quips is unparalleled in modern comedy history.

Of course, in true Dude fashion, the 10th-anniversary DVD does a pretty half-assed job celebrating its own legacy. Sure, the packaging itself is grandiose — in the shape and size of a duckpin bowling ball — but the featurettes on the dream sequences, the film’s making, a “ten years later” piece and an investigation of the Dude’s rambling pseudo-Zen philosophy all bleed into together and fail to really explain the movie’s strange appeal. In one feature, Jeff Bridges just sits in front of a mirror and shows you pictures he took on the set. Dude…

The best testament to the film’s enduring power comes in an excerpt of a separate documentary made about Lebowski Fest, in which a lispy bit actor who played a one-second part as Saddam Hussein in a dream sequence, recalls arriving at the festival. “It was the only place I’d ever gone where I felt like a rock star,” he says.

But as Theodor Herzl would say, “If you will it, Dude, it is no dream.”

(Rated R)

  • Pin It

Latest in Film

  • Short Takes
  • Short Takes

    Masterful storytelling happens in a hurry for the Oscar-nominated short films
    • Jan 28, 2015
  • Tough Issues
  • Tough Issues

    Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer provide a thoughtful meditation on race in Black or White
    • Jan 28, 2015
  • Keep it Like a Secret
  • Keep it Like a Secret

    Little Accidents is an emotionally devastating look at how we handle death
    • Jan 21, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
The Fly Fishing Film Tour

The Fly Fishing Film Tour @ Bing Crosby Theater

Tue., Feb. 3, 7-9:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Joel Smith

Top Tags in
Music & Film

Film


Review


Music


Tribute


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation