The Big Lebowski (1998)


Goddamn you Walter! You fuckin’ asshole! Everything’s a fuckin’ travesty with you, man! And what was all that shit about Vietnam? What the FUCK, has anything got to do with Vietnam? What the fuck are you talking about?

— The Dude

The #158 Movie of All Time on IMDb: The Big Lebowski has been a divisive film since its release in 1998. Some people have since it and dismissed as garbage, upon a second viewing they loved it. This is the first time that I have seen it. I am tittering between it being pure genius and pretentious bullshit.

The unemployed bum simply known as “The Dude” (Jeff Bridges) becomes the anti-hero of this story. Being mistaken for a millionaire that share his real name Jeff Lebowski (David Huddleston), a pair of thugs rough him up. During the encounter, one of the thugs pees on his “prized” rug.

The Dude seeks out the other Lebowski to get him to pay for the rug. This action leads to chain of events that spiral out of control. Lebowski and his manservant, Brandt (Philip Seymour Hoffman) want to get Lebowski’s young wife, Bunny (Tara Reid) back who has been kidnapped.

The Dude is mixed up with a trio of nihilists (Peter Stormare, Flea, Torsten Voges), a pornographer, Jackie Treehorn (Ben Gazzara), Lebowski’s feminist daughter, Maude (Julianne Moore) who all want something from him. There is also his bowling buddies, Walter (John Goodman) and Donny (Steve Buscemi) that want to occupy his time.

This movie is a mind fuck. You wonder when the ending credits start; did the Coens take LSD when they conceived of the movie? In the beginning, the characters carried on some inane conversations that go around in circles. It infuriated me. “We get it! Move on.”

The sequences go from dark to slapstick to tripped out. I had no idea what I was watching. I tried to make some sense out of it. I concluded with this.

At the core of this movie, you have to understand that every character is living in their own universe. They are self-absorbed, needy, and selfish. The only way the monotonous conversations make any sense is that nobody is listening to each other. Perhaps for a split second before they launch into their polemics about urine soaked rugs, mistaken identity and bowling etiquette.

My mind needs time to digest what I seen.

Judgment: This movie should be watched more than once to understand it fully.

Rating: ***1/2 (with wiggle room)

About Branden

Branden: I am just your average movie nut that reviews films. Gives his take on pop culture and Hollywood happenings. Dreams to have his own thriving website and make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Posted on October 5, 2009, in 1998, Action, Comedy, Running Feature, Subversive, Top 250 of All Time on IMDB and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Let me settle it for you: it is pure genius. I don’t even see what could be construed as pretentious about it, unless people are threatened by the names of historical figures (Lenin) or events (the Port Huron statement?) that they’re unaware of.

    Yes, please watch it again…and again. The only sad part for me is that despite my love for the entire film, one of my favorite sequences happens right at the beginning, when the Dude is writing a check…at the grocery store…for 69 cents. Sums him up well.

    • That’s why I have the wiggle room. Time needs to pass and then I have to watch it again.

      That particular sequence was so cool. Question: how could an unemployed stoner afford that big ass apartment?

      That landlord asked for the rent and he never followed up on his threat.

  2. This movie is pure genius – one of the more insightful films in the Coen’s fascination with unravelling American culture. I think each character in this movie can be seen as another part of the American psyche – from the bottom, right to the top.

    Not sure why, but my favourite scene (I guess next The Dude not liking the “fucking Eagles”) is when he drops his roach in his lap and rams his car right into a dumpster – great slapstick. The “Brother Seamus”, the International House of Pancakes, The Dude going to find a cash machine… I could go on and on.

    Could this have been the best movie/best role ever for Tara Reid? I think so!

    • This is my first viewing of the movie. I see some of the genius elements in it, but some time has to pass before I view it again.

  3. Interesting stories in this site. Great tips for me to think about

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