The Big Lebowski (1998)

DVD Cover (Focus Features 10th Anniversary Edition)
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Overall Rating 83%
Overall Rating
Ranked #107
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Connections: The Big Lebowski

Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski, a Los Angeles slacker who only wants to bowl and drink white Russians, is mistaken for another Jeffrey Lebowski, a wheelchair-bound millionaire, and finds himself dragged into a strange series of events involving nihilists, adult film producers, ferrets, errant toes, and large sums of money. --TMDb
Review by Tristan
Added: January 07, 2008
Two years after the highly successful Fargo was released, the Coen Brothers gave us another comedic masterpiece. The Big Lebowski is without question one of their most successful films, both in the box office and on DVD. It is the most recognizable of their work, and is worthy of the cult classic status it has achieved.

Jeffrey Lebowski (Jeff Bridges), the self-entitled "Dude", becomes the victim of mistaken identity one evening when he comes home to two thugs in his living room. After the obligatory "rough-up", they demand the money that The Dude's wife owes all over town, and to get the point across, defile his rug. After hunting down the real Jeffrey "Big" Lebowski (David Huddleston), he seeks compensation for his ruined rug. Big Lebowski, a wheelchair-bound millionaire, obviously refuses. After cleverly stealing a rug from the millionaire's home, he meets Bunny Lebowski (Tara Reid), the Big Lebowski's trophy wife who is, shall we say, not a big believer in fidelity.

A few days later, The Dude is contacted by Big Lebowski's assistant (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) with some urgent news. It would appear that Bunny has been kidnapped, and since the suspects are the same men who urinated on his rug, they suggest that Dude be the one to courier the money, giving him a chance to identify the men, and confirm their suspicions. The Dude's friend, and league bowling partner, Walter (John Goodman) decides that why settle for the measly $20,000 being offered to drop the money, when they can just take the bag, hand off a ringer, and split with a million bucks in their pockets. Unfortunately for them, before they're able to spend their newfound wealth, their car is stolen. In a strange turn of events, The Dude has three Russian nihilists, a porn director, a feminist artist, and a millionaire after him and the money. Money which he doesn't have, and is desperately trying to recover. The result is a twisted, complex plot that involves a severed toe, acid flashbacks, and of course, bowling.

This is one of those movies that didn't click with me the first time. I saw it in 2002, and didn't care for it in the least. I watch it now, and after the first 5 minutes I'm in love. Adolescents must have paid quite a toll on my movie watching career. As always, the Coen brothers selected a brilliant group of character actors to bring their story to life. Jeff Bridges did a fantastic job in this one, but my hat must be tipped to John Goodman for his portrayal as the miserable 'Nam vet Walter. Almost every word out of his mouth had me cracking up, and he was the perfect choice for that "didn't get over 'Nam" type character who only cares about patriotism, "the rules", and of course bowling.

My only major gripe with the film is the lack of certain characters. I understand that not every character can get their fair share of screen time in a movie, but dammit, there were just so many beautiful, colourful characters in this movie. John Turturro, Jack Kehler, Steve Buscemi, and even Philip Seymour Hoffman played such interesting and unique individuals, and I would have liked to see them get a little more screen time to explore their characters.

The Big Lebowski is just one more in the long list of Coen Brother films that you can't help but love. After watching yet another one of their films, I feel like it's impossible for them to make a bad one. Keep in mind however, that other than No Country For Old Men, I have not seen any of their recent efforts, and may have a change of heart. For now, however, I can honestly say they are giving me nothing but hours upon hours of enjoyment, and I look forward to the next film by them that I can get my hands on.

grain of sand #1: grain of sand - added 01/07/2008, 06:48 PM
"you're out of your element donnie"

bluemeanie #2: bluemeanie - added 01/08/2008, 02:50 AM
My second favorite Coen Brothers film, next to "Fargo". I love this one. 10/10.
Ginose #3: Ginose - added 01/17/2008, 10:06 AM
The Coens in top form. 9.3/10
bluemeanie #4: bluemeanie - added 01/17/2008, 10:57 AM
How does this get such a high score and "Fargo" get such a mediocre one? Your brain confuses me.
Ginose #5: Ginose - added 01/17/2008, 05:46 PM
My brain is a confusing place full of wonder and big spiders.

And, truth be told, the wait I rate movies is sort of a compiled average of numerous things I score them on. Unless all the amazing things about "Fargo" happened during my 15 minute doze, then I ddidn't see anything that made it really distinct. But my score for plot-pacing dropped a good 7 points during that nap. "Fargo" had its moments, but just disappointed me as a whole.
This one was just witty and comical enough for me to enjoy it all throughout.
Optimus Prime #6: Optimus Prime - added 01/19/2009, 10:25 PM
Took a while for this to grow on me... love it now.
Mörderwolf777 #7: Mörderwolf777 - added 08/26/2009, 09:38 PM
yah I thought it was stupid the first time but now I just love it.
Griffinheart #8: Griffinheart - added 10/15/2009, 07:32 PM
I found this decent enough, but it never really rose above "decent" for me. 7.5/10
Lucid Dreams #9: Lucid Dreams - added 05/30/2010, 10:53 PM
That rug really put the room together. 9/10
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