The Big Lebowski (1998) (R)
"The Big Lebowski" is a movie about misunderstanding. One slight discrepancy leads to another which in turn leads to an even larger one until everything has been exacerbated and the whole situation is out of control...fun!
First of all, "The Big Lebowski" is as funny as movies get. I don't think that I've ever had a better time watching a movie. The movie comes from the Coen brothers, who are some of the more prestigious film makers of our day and age. I had yet to see the Coens really be funny: sure there are humorous parts in "Raising Arizona", "Fargo", and even "No Country for Old Men". Though with this film, they hit comedy gold.
The movie begins as a narrator tells us that this is the story of a man who is heroic in his own way. Enter Jeffrey Lebowski aka "The Dude"(Jeff Bridges) . He's a typical, middle-aged, unemployed, stoned, pacifist, semi-drunk, laissez faire hippie.
In the first scenes of the movie, two men burst into The Dude's home and harass him for money. They tell him that his wife is in their debt and she owes them a whole lot of cash. One problem...The Dude doesn't have a wife. He tries to explain this to the men but not before they have shoved his head in the toilet and urinated on his Persian rug...that was a special rug. This rug really pulled everything together in terms of decoration.
After The Dude has managed to convince the two men that they are looking for a different Jeffrey Lebowski, he goes bowling with his two friends, Walter (John Goodman) and Donny (Steve Buscemi). Donny is ignorant and somewhat naive while Walter finds a way to work Vietnam into every conversation. No matter what the situation, it had something to do with Walter fighting in Vietnam.
The Dude tells Walter about his little experience and Walter convinces him that his soiled carpet is the other Jeffrey Lebowski's fault. The Dude agrees and sets off to find the other Jeffrey...The Big Lebowski.
He finds him relatively soon and asks to be compensated for the rug...you see, it meant so very much to him.
The Big Lebowski has no sympathy for The Dude and shoos him away like he was a pest.
And then, things really start to go south with kidnapping, feminists, and a million dollars.
The Coens have always been able to write vivid characters well, and here is no exception. They dabble in their common themes: crime, greed, and religion. They seem to enjoy exploring certain dynamics and the strongest one present in this movie is between The Dude and Walter.
John Goodman is so fantastic opposite the clueless Jeff Bridges.
But "The Big Lebowski" is also possibly the Coens most offensive work. Take for example the bowling alley: there's a man who likes to taunt the tired threesome of bowlers. He's a sex offender with a foul mouth and his name is, you guessed it, Jesus. It's this kind of joke that holds nothing back and doesn't ask for forgiveness that makes "The Big Lebowski" so funny and so effective.
A cult classic comedy for sure, "The Big Lebowski" boasts a wide array of curse words, a fantastically twisted plot, and a general trippy nature to the whole thing.
The Dude is an unintelligent main character, though he is greatly likable. It's easy to believe that he falls into the many traps and double crossings that he does.
Although "The Big Lebowski" is mostly a comedy, there is a mystery and a crime feeling to the picture...but don't hold out for a master reveal.
It's not the plot that makes this movie so funny and great; rather, it's the characters and the dialogue that the Coens seem to write so effortlessly.
Score: 3 and a half stars out of 4
Posted by Micah Jones