- Written, Produced, and Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen
- January 18, 1998 (Sundance) / March 6, 1998 (US) / April 24, 1998 (UK)
After a case of mistaken identity, a slacker is swept up into a kidnapping plot.
I know a great many people who are big fans of The Big Lebowski. This movie is almost sacred to them. And after viewing it I can certainly understand the love. It is an odd comedic journey of one man filled with quirky characters and oddball situations.
And strangely enough it is also a bit of a mystery on who is doing what and how it all fits together. The film was written to be like a bit of a Raymond Chandler film with an overly complicated plot as well as unfolding in an episodic fashion.
And our sleuth? It is a stoner slacker that prefers to call himself The Dude (Jeff Bridges) whose proper name is Jeffrey Lebowski. The Dude is just getting through life (somehow) until he is mistaken for Jeffrey “The Big” Lebowski (David Huddleston) who is a local philanthropist whose gold-digging trophy wife Bunny (Tara Reid) has been running up debts all over town-some of them with unsavory characters. And The Dude’s effort to get a new rug after his is ruined because of mistaken identity pulls him into a possible kidnapping plot involving Bunny.
There are porn stars and thugs and it intersects with family issues to form a cohesive and entertaining story from seemingly random elements. My favorite performer in this film, besides Bridges, is Julianne Moore as Maude Lebowski who is the daughter of ‘Big’ Lebowski. She is perhaps the oddest one of all characters. Her performance was reminiscent to me of Mike Myers “Dieter” character from SNL.
Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) and Donny Kerabatsos (Steve Buscemi) are The Dude’s core friends who attempt to help him in his quests. Donny is kinda clueless and Walter descends repeatedly into diatribes about Vietnam. Everything connects back to ‘Nam for that character.
This is only the third Coen brothers film I have ever seen. They get a lot of praise and I am a person who tends to shy away from what I feel might be overhyped because too often it never delivers anything equal to the hype but they have consistently delivered. Many creative minds aim for weird or quirky and just hit dumb and boring. You will not regularly laugh out loud during this movie, but your attention will be held and you will definitely smile.
The only thing I did not like was the ending of The Big Lebowski. Donny was a bit extraneous of a character to begin with and his death seemed to come out of nowhere. Though the cap to that (which serves as a cap to the film) nicely wraps everything up in a way that is weird yet touching.
The Big Lebowski is a classic piece of comedy filled with unusual characters in a great story supported by great performances. This is definitely a watch it.