The Big Lebowski
What She said:
I first saw The Big Lebowski years ago. I guess I
was still in high school at the time, and I have to say, I didn’t
really get what all the big cult fan fuss was about. I didn’t
really find it interesting or funny. After avoiding it for
years, I figured it was time to sit down, approach the movie as a
mature adult, and give it a second watching. I have to say,
this time around, things went much better.
I think everyone has heard of this movie, but for those who may
not have seen it here’s a basic plot overview. The Dude is
just your below-average type of guy. He’s a pot-smoking, white
Russian drinking, unemployed slob, who spends his days bowling and
doing a whole lot of nothing. He’s got this equally loser
friend, Walter, who has anger issues and is obsessed with
Vietnam. Out of the blue, The Dude gets caught up in this
case of mistaken identity with a man who shares his actual given
name, Jeffrey Lebowski. And this isn’t a good case of
mistaken identity; it’s a pulled into a kidnapping and ransom
situation mistaken identity. The Dude and Walter decide to
try to save the day while also making as much money as possible,
which, of course, backfires. There are various other
characters involved as the storyline reveals itself and we learn
what’s really going on.
The Big Lebowski smells distinctly like a Coen Brothers
movie. It’s filled with slightly unhinged and uniquely
deranged characters who help to create the strangest
situations. As such, the movie is ripe with dark humor.
Most of it works pretty good. I wouldn’t say that, overall,
it’s even a “haha” kind of movie. In fact, what is interesting
about this film is that it cannot quite be labeled. There’s
a bit of comedy, mystery, thrills, and action, but not really
enough of each to define it. You could approach it as a
character study, but I wouldn’t say The Dude is complex enough to
learn too much from. It’s just sort of an interesting
The Big Lebowski is definitely not my favorite Coen
Brothers film. I’d give that to either Fargo or
No Country for Old Men, but I found it oddly
satisfying. It came together pretty well, turned out to have
a pretty well developed storyline, and you just can’t help but love
What he said:
The Big Lebowski was not wildly successful during its
theatrical run, but is respected by many critics and is considered
a cult classic. Despite its popularity, I have only seen this movie
in its entirety once. The one time I saw it, I didn’t care for it.
As I grew older, became aware of its reputation, and was a fan of
some of the other Coen Brothers’ work (Fargo and No
Country for Old Men in particular), I figured maybe I was a
little too young to appreciate it. I was a teenager when I saw it
and later on thought maybe the humor went over my head.
So when it recently popped up on TV, I figured this was a good
opportunity to give it another viewing.
The Big Lebowski is a story of mistaken identity.
Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) is the slacker of all
slackers. He’s unemployed and doesn’t really do anything except
smoke weed, get drunk, and bowl. One day, he’s mistaken for another
Jeffrey Lebowski. This other Lebowski is a much older and wealthier
man. His wife has recently been kidnapped. So you can imagine how
The Dude’s quiet life takes a dramatic turn when he becomes involved
in all kinds of shady folk and activities that go along when
dealing with a kidnapping.
This is like a dream come true for his friend Walter (John
Goodman). Walter is a veteran, a conspiracy theorist, and a lunatic
to boot. He sees this as an opportunity to get rich and to be honest
I think he’s been itching to hurt somebody for a long time.
Along the way, the two of them meet all kinds of characters with
varying agendas. Their adventures make for some interesting and
sometimes funny situations.
I’ve got to admit, I still don’t love this movie. I like it a
little more than I did the last time I saw it, but I’m still not
head-over-heels for it.
It’s filled with some very memorable characters. Bridges and
Goodman are great. They bring life to these quirky characters.
There are a lot of good performances in this role, even from the
The movie also has its funny moments. Those solid performances
of such quirky characters do make for some amusing moments.
But when it comes right down to it, there were more than a few
instances where I stared blankly at the screen and was genuinely
bored by what was going on. Every character was weird and every
situation more bizarre/surreal than the last one. It was a little
much for me at times.
Diagnosis: Thumbs half up. This movie review was
written for your reading pleasure on March 8, 2012.