Why I Saw It: There are few movies from the past 15 years which have as big of a cult following as The Big Lebowski. There are festivals. People love to quote it. Having partially seen it years ago, I had to pick it up once again and give this film its just due.
What Was It About? “After Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski is mistaken for a millionaire with the same name, “The Dude” is convinced by his bowling league partners to seek reparations for the rug ruined by thugs seeking to coerce him into paying a debt he knows nothing about. While attempting to gain recompense, he accepts a one-time job with high pay-off. Deception leads to more trouble, and it soon seems that everyone from porn empire tycoons to nihilists want something from The Dude.“
Rating: 8.0 out of 10
Memorable Performances: Clearly anyone who sees this film will forever associate Jeff Bridges with “The Dude” from this film. Absolutely no doubt about it. Though I will always think of John Goodman as Dan Connor from the show ROSEANNE, this role will be a close second in terms of its memorable nature. Despite the fact that he was only involved in a couple scenes, I don’t think I’ll ever forget John Turturro as a man who LOVES bowling more than ANYONE I’ve ever seen.
Potential Nominations for Film Quest ’13:
- Best Actor – Jeff Bridges
- Best Supporting Actor – John Goodman
- Best Supporting Actor – John Turturro
Favorite Parts: I loved just about all of the scenes at the bowling alley. The dialogue was great, and for one reason or another the characters really shined in that environment. And although I don’t particularly understand why it’s there, I liked the huge-production dream sequence with The Dude dancing down the stairs.
The Regrettable Aspects: The performance by John Goodman was great, but I hated his character. He really annoyed me, and while I’m sure that was the point of the character, it just made me frustrated watching it, which took away from the overall enjoyability factor. Also, the film was a bit too convoluted for me, in terms of the various individuals and what they wanted The Dude to do, what their motives were, and trying to sort everything out by the end of the film.
Would I watch it again? I’m sure at some point I’ll watch it again, but I’m not going to make a big effort to do so. I’ll check it out if it’s on television somewhere or if it’s available on Netflix Instant… but probably not until at least 2014.
To Whom Would I Recommend It? I’d say anyone over the age of 16 who doesn’t mind profanity and a bit of nudity should absolutely check this movie out as soon as possible. While it’s not among my top favorites, I can certainly understand why a lot of other people really, really enjoy it.
– FARGO – Another fine film from the Coen brothers, I would argue that Fargo is almost as funny as The Big Lebowski and has some top notch performances. It’s a bit more violent, so the comparison only holds so far, but it’s still a recommendation I’d make here.
– MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS – I wouldn’t say I loved this film, but there are some entertaining performances in it. It has a similar vibe, in terms of comparable films, where there are some crazy characters you can laugh at, but the performances are strong because the actors make it seem like the characters are being true to themselves.
– MYSTERY TEAM – I noticed that imdb recommends this as a similar film, and I can totally understand why. You’ve got a crime which took place, and the individuals who are involved in trying to figure it out are a bit inept at what they’re doing and slightly misguided, but their portrayals don’t feel forced and the way things unfold is really enjoyable.
– THREE AMIGOS – Although I’ve recommended this once already in terms of being my favorite Steve Martin performance, and as one of the Five Films That Scare Me, it’s worth recommending again here. It involves misunderstandings as to who someone actually is, and someone who’s mostly inept at something actually having a measure of success in the end.
If you’ve got recommendations for alternatives to THE BIG LEBOWSKI, or for other similar films, let me know!
Next up, CATWOMAN, which I disliked almost as much as my least favorite film on this quest!