Friday, November 16, 2012

The Big Lebowski

A lazy hippie's favorite rug was urinated on, and from there, the story only gets weirder. That basically sets up one of my now favorite movies, "The Big Lebowski." I have seen the Coen Brothers' comedy twice before and after watching it a third time, I now am certain that it is one of my favorite movies.

The movie is about an aged hippie, Jeff Lebowski (Jeff Bridges of "Crazy Heart" and "True Grit") who prefers to be called the Dude, or "his Dudeness, Duder, or El Duderino if you are not into the brevity thing." Two men break into the Dude's house, looking for Jeff "The Big" Lebowski, demanding money from Bunny, the wife of the latter Lebowski, and pee on the Dude's rug. After this case of mixup, the Dude gets involved in the life of his rich, sophisticated counterpart. The Big Lebowski, who hates bums, pays the Dude to drop off the ransom for his kidnapped trophy wife, Bunny (Tara Reid from the "American Pie" films). Soon, he gets involved with nihilists, a feminist artist, a pornographer, a high school kid, all while going bowling with the veteran Walter, played phenomenally by John Goodman, and the naive, but nice Donny, the hilarious Steve Buscemi.

The Dude, probably one of the best comedic characters created in the last 20 years, a memorable protagonist, loves white russians, bowling, and relaxing, makes this movie a home run in my opinion. Walter and Donny are great sidekicks. Every character is quirky, giving the movie more life; Walter is jewish and observes Shomer Shabbas and doesn't bowl (or roll as he calls it) on Saturdays, and Jesus (a bowling rival played by John Turturro) talks in the third person and is a registered sex offender.

The movie is a complicated mystery, a modern comedic "Big Sleep," that is always engaging and fascinating. I have seen it three times now and each time I notice new things about the film. It is another classic in the Coen Brothers filmography.

And remember, The Dude abides.

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