If there ever was a movie that I was hesitant to review, it has to be The Big Lebowski. Really? Is it that bad? No, quite to the contrary, it is that GOOD. The Coen Brothers, Ethan and Joel have for some time been among the GODS of directors and writers, and for good reason. The Brothers Coen are legendary for attention to detail in their movies, with gorgeous sets and cinematography.
Their visual style and the development of their stable of actors and movie characters stands alone in modern day cinema. Within their resume of delicious movies, there is one standout in character development, both major and obscure, and that movie is The Big Lewbowski. Within the magnificent performances, including another tour de force by John Goodman, we have one that towers above the rest…The Dude, an icon created and owned by one Jeff Bridges.
It is totally meaningless, if not downright irreverent and inappropriate to discuss the plot in a movie like The Big Lebowski. It is much more than a comedy masterpiece, destination or journey. It is a film about bowling, and one man’s attempt to merely enjoy his hobby, unfettered by the distractions of the outside world. The Dude wants to be left alone, but when unchecked aggression enters his life, he will stand up to it, and let the chips fall.
When the Treehorn Thugs micturate on The Dude’s rug (the one that really tied the room together), he decided to do something about it. The Dude was not alone, but joined by his virtual family in bowling, Walter and Donny. Thing escalate quickly, and not without the help of Walter, a well-meaning, but totally unhinged and over the top mental health casualty of The Vietnam War.
The Coen Brothers are masters of maximizing their cast, especially from their stable of regulars like Goodman, Buscemi and Turturro. I cannot think of another movie, Coen or otherwise where these actors and characters were exploited more fully, especially Bridges and Goodman. John Goodman is always amazing and memorable and I didn’t think he could outdo himself after Barton Fink, but he does it in The Big Lebowski. Make no mistake, however, Jeff Bridges as The Dude simply owns this movie with his character absorbing performance.
The real power of the Coen Brothers movies is their brilliant utilization of supporting characters who may only be on the screen for a short time. The interjection of Sam Elliot as the narrator/cowboy was a genius stroke of film-making technique. The same can be said for the brief, but memorable appearance of The Jesus by Turturro and the P.I. in the Volkswagon, played by another Coen regular, John Polito. Great stars like Ben Gazarra and Phillip Seymour Hoffman appeared as almost cameos, but their impact was unforgettable.
Even powerhouses like David Huddleston, who was the Big Lebowski and Julianne Moore, who was Maude Lebowski, were only supporting players in this Coen masterpiece. When you add up the brilliant and infinitely quotable script, the impressive cast of top-notch actors…and the always lush cinematography by the great Roger Deakins (especially those bowling dream sequences!), you are treated to one of the Coen’s best.
The Big Lebowski is so much more than just a great movie or hilarious comedy. It is a film that shows its creators at the very top of their game. It is a movie that demands multiple viewings, not to understand what is happening, but to savor the delicious excellence of one of the greatest movies ever made. Fargo got all the acclaim and rave reviews, but The Big Lebowski is the Coen’s best, and that’s more than just like my opinion, man.
10.0+/10.0 With The Goatesians Rating Of One Of The Best Movies Ever
Quotes and One-Liners, The Best Of The Best. If you think this list is excessive, Yeah, well, you know, that’s just like, uh, your opinion, man.
- “There’s just one thing, Dude. Do you have to use so many cuss words?” -The Stranger
- “What in the fuck are you talking about?” -The Dude
- “Let me take another look (in toilet)…It’s got to be down there somewhere” -Dude (to Treehorn Thug)
- “That rug really tied the room together” -The Dude
- “Shut the fuck up, Donny” -Walter
- “Let me explain something to you. Um, I am not “Mr. Lebowski”. You’re Mr. Lebowski. I’m the Dude. So that’s what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.” –The Dude
- “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just like, uh, your opinion, man.” –The Dude
- “This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass!” -Walter
- “Sometimes you eat the bear…and sometimes,well, he eats you” -The Stranger
- “Forget it, Donny. You’re out of your element here” -Walter
- “Nobody fucks with The Jesus!” -Jesus Quintana
- “Shomer shabbos!” -Walter
- “Saturday, Donny, is Shabbos, the Jewish day of rest. That means that I don’t work, I don’t drive a car, I don’t fucking ride in a car, I don’t handle money, I don’t turn on the oven, and I sure as shit don’t fucking roll!” -Walter
- “My… my wi-, my wife, Bunny? Do you see a wedding ring on my finger? Does this place look like I’m fucking married? The toilet seat’s up, man!” -The Dude
- “In a sense, yes. My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal which bothers some men. The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina.” -Maude
- “Is it being prepared to do the right thing, whatever the cost? Isn’t that what makes a man?” -The Big Lebowski
- “Well, yeah that and a pair of testicles” -The Dude
- “Is this your homework, Larry?” -Walter
- “Oh, come on Donny, they were threatening castration! Are we gonna split hairs here? Am I wrong?” -Walter
- “I just want to understand this, sir. Every time a rug is micturated upon in this fair city, I have to compensate the owner?” -The Big Lebowski
- “You have got to buck up, man. You cannot drag this negative energy in to the tournament!” -Walter
- “Well, at least I’m housebroken” -The Dude (To Treehorn Thug who is peeing on The Dude’s rug)
- “Her life is in your hands, Dude” -Brandt
- “I fuck you in the ass, I fuck you in the ass, I fuck you, I fuck you, I fuck you, I fuck you!” -Nihilist #3
- “And a good day to you, SIR!” -Walter [looking at his hero writer Digby Sellers in an iron lung]
- “The Dude abides” -The Dude
- “This is a very complicated case, Maude. A lot of ins, a lot of outs. Fortunately, I’m adhering to a pretty strict drug regimen to keep my mind limber.” -The Dude
- “Darkness washed over the Dude – darker’n a black steer’s tookus on a moonless prairie night. There was no bottom”. -The Stranger
- “Eight-Year-Olds, Dude” -Walter