Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Big Lebowski

All Hail The Big Lebowski
Originally uploaded by cote
The Big Lebowski is exactly what the brothers Coen do best – a quirky film about morons. And what is The Dude if not a loveable moron? Set during the Golf War, The Big Lebowski is started by a tale of mistaken identity, that leads our main character into the role of armature gumshoe when the “big” Lebowski’s wife disappears and all The Dude wants is to get paid and bowl.

Robert Altman may have made movies that were about nothing in the sense that they were a slice of his characters life, but the it’s the Coen’s that have truly mastered the art of making films about nothing and The Big Lebowski is a classic example of this. A great many things occur in The Big Lebowski and yet a traditional, filmic plot never appears; in fact, evey event that should be a ground breaking plot point simply fizzles out and turns out to be less than important to the film as a whole. It’s beautiful, brilliant, hilarious and surprisingly hard to do well.

In a career or brilliant films and characters, Jeff Bridges fits The Dude perfectly. He is a joy to watch and after seeing him at awards shows for Crazy Heart I am pretty sure that one of the reasons The Dude seems so authentic is because Bridges is really that laid back and relaxed.

As amazing as The Dude is, for me Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) stole the show. Walter is The Dude’s best friend and a Vietnam War vet who wants to relate everything back to his time in Nam. He is loud, bostrious, angry and everything that you want a crazy Coen character to be. The only reason Goodman doesn’t steal Bridges’s scenes is because the Coen’s manage to raise the two consistently to the level of the other, playing off each other beautifully to create part of the magic of the world of The Big Lebowski.

Along with Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, The Big Lebowski might hold some of my favorite narration in a film – ever. For no apparent reason the film is narrated by a cowboy patron of the bar at the bowling alley in the film, and he’s a narrator that looses his train of thought and admires The Dude for no other reason than he admires his style. It’s a fantastic way to open and close the film, rivaling the FBI officials in Burn After Reading.

The Big Lebowski is a cult classic for a reason. If like me, you’re a Coen fan that hasn’t seen it I highly recommend changing that. I did.

Directed & Written By: Joel & Ethan Coen
Jeffrey Lebowski/The Dude: Jeff Bridges
Walter Sobchak: John Goodman
Maude Lebowski: Julianne Moore
Donny: Steve Buscemi
Jeffrey Lebowski/The Big LEbowski: David Huddleston
Brandt: Philip Seymour Hoffman
Bunny Lebowski: Tara Reid

The Dude: And, you know, he's got emotional problems, man.
Walter Sobchak: You mean... beyond pacifism?

No comments: