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The Big Lebowski

A comedy movie directed by Ethan and Joel Coen

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Strikes and Gutters in the Bowling Alley of Life

  • Jul 29, 2003
Rating:
+5
Why do so few films develop a cult following which increases in number and intensity each year? For example, The Big Lebowski. Can you think of another film which has an annual festival in its sole honor? (It was held this year in Louisville.) I was mulling about this as I recently saw it again. Much funnier this time. For me, the same is true of Young Frankenstein. Films never change but we do. So how have I changed? If The Big Lebowski is even funnier the next time, what does that reveal about me? More mulling awaits me.

Meanwhile, given the variety of screenplays they have co-authored, produced, directed thus far, Joel and Ethan Coen cannot be accused of predictability. Who else has created a body of work as varied as theirs? Blood Simple (1985), Raising Arizona (1987), Miller's Crossing (1990), Barton Fink (1991), The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), Fargo (1996) The Big Lebowski (1998), O, Brother, Where Art Thou? ((2000), and The Man Who Wasn't There (2001). Each has its own loyal and substantial following. Fargo remains my personal favorite but, over time, as I keep changing, perhaps The Big Lebowski will replace it.

Few people know that, in fact, the Coens collaborated on its screenplay with members of the Monty Python Flying Circus, Hunter Thompson, Ken Kesey, Salvador Dali, and William M. Gaines. How else to explain the absence of a coherent plot? Fortunately, we have an especially interesting cast of characters in addition to the two Jeffrey Lebowskis (Lebowskes?): "The Big's" wife Bunny (Tara Reid) who creates serious problems for "Dude" because she owes money to Jackie Treehorn (Ben Gazzara) and is kidnapped, with a ransom of $1-million demanded; "The Big's" daughter Maude (Julianne Moore) who really should join a flying circus; Jesus (John Turturro), a champion bowler who prefers blue language and purple clothing; Walter Sobchak (John Goodman), probably "Dude's" best friend; and Donny (Steve Buscemi), another of "Dude's" close friends. Much time is spent on consuming White Russians as well as on bowling, kidnapping, cursing, extortion, sex, and...

For many of us, this film is an acquired taste. I enjoy it more each time I see it; others, I realize, will not see it through to completion. For them, it makes no sense. In this context, I am reminded of Henry Ford's observation that whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.

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October 21, 2010
CLASSIC, love Steve Buscemi. Great review.
 
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More The Big Lebowski reviews
review by . February 25, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
was a great noir debut about misunderstanding identity.  Raising Arizona was a screwball comedy about stealing an identity.  Miller's Crossing was a deep gangster movie about discovering identity ("Nobody knows anybody. Not that well")  Barton Fink was a Hollywood insiders movie about understanding your own identity.  The Hudsucker Proxy was a fast-talking dialogue driven 1930s comedy about keeping your identity in the face of all odds against.    Fargo …
review by . July 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Dude, the chinaman is not the issue here...
The Coen Brothers. Jeff Bridges. Steve Buscemi. John Goodman. Julianne Moore. Sam god-damn Elliot. Seriously – what more can you ask for in a film?      From start to finish, the Coen Brother’s “The Big Lebowski” is going to take you on a wild journey through the depths of the local bowling alley to confrontations with German nihilists and pornography tycoons to random instances of urination – this movie has it all.      I originally …
review by . July 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
best comedy ever.
What Pompted You to write a Review?   I couldn't stop laughing when i saw this movie.This movie made me try my first white russian tahnk you big lebowski for introducing me to that drink.     How was the Plot, Acting, Direction?   That was an orignal plot that realy pulled all the comedy together.     Were You ENTERTAINED?   I have seen the movie 20 times and i still laugh.     Did It Fulfill Expectations? Hype …
review by . July 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Lebowski Is Here To Stay
When I first saw this movie I was fairly young, enough so that I didn't really get the humor. But, only now after watching it again can I really see how great a movie this is, from fever dreams about bowling with the gods to scattering of "Donny's" ashes flying back into Jeff Bridges face, this is a funny movie. But, then again, can you expect anything less from the Coen brothers? The plot is great, the acting is quirky but funny, and direction just as good.      …
review by . July 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This movie is a Coen Brother classic. It follows a man known as "The Dude" through a series of mishaps that all happen because his real name happens to be Mr. Lebowski. In classic Coen brothers style, There are plenty of intertwining plot lines that require you to have a flow chart ready, but once again, all is explained in the end. This movie is a prime example of the videography that I have come to associate with The Coen Brothers. But i will say, it isn't for everyone. It can be …
Quick Tip by . July 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I have watched the movie more times than I can remember and it remains sharp and funny. Don't watch it cut for TV, it just doesn't make sense.
Quick Tip by . July 21, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Coen brothers never go wrong and with the Dude you'll be drinking white Russians til you're sick
Quick Tip by . July 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Stoner bowler and his odd friends weave through the tapestry of LA and meet all sorts of different folks. Abandon all hope of needing an important story and enjoy the ride.
Quick Tip by . July 27, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A great comdedy classic. Jeff Bridges is the DUDE. a great cult classic........."this is bowling, this isnt Nam, there are rules."
Quick Tip by . July 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Definitely a 90's classic, The Dude reminds us to stay true to yourself and screw the world!
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Robert Morris ()
Ranked #72
Professionally, I am an independent management consultant who specializes in accelerated executive development and breakthrough high-impact organizational performance. I also review mostly business books … more
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Wiki

The Coen brothers have done it again. Mixing in Leninist philosophy, mistaken identity, crazy characters, a kidnapping plot, and a deep love of bowling, they have unleashed upon an unsuspecting world the many glories of THE BIG LEBOWSKI. Jeff Bridges plays Jeff Lebowski, known as the Dude, a laid-back, easygoing burnout who happens to have the same name as a millionaire whose wife owes a lot of dangerous people a whole bunch of money--resulting in the Dude having his rug soiled, sending him spiraling into the Los Angeles underworld.

The film is beautiful to look at, especially the scenes in the bowling alley, which feature a vast array of bizarre characters--including Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Sam Elliott, and the movie-stealing, riotously funny John Goodman as the Dude's crazy best buddy. As usual in Coen brothers films (BARTON FINK, RAISING ARIZONA), the dialogue is hysterically warped; the plot is confusing, complicated, and kinetic; the soundtrack is virtually another character; and th...
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Details

Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: 6 March 1998 (USA)
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Runtime: 117 min
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