The Big Lebowski (1998)

by | Oct 28, 2005 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

The Big Lebowski (1998)

Starring: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, and Steve Buscemi
Directed by: The Coen brothers
Studio: Focus/Universal
Video: 1.85:1 enhanced for widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English & French; 2.0 Spanish
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Extras: Exclusive introduction by Mortimer Young, Jeff Bridges’
personal panoramic B&W photographs on the set, Featurette: The
Making of The Big Lebowski, incl. interview with the Coen brothers,
Production notes
Length: 1 hour, 58 minutes
Rating: *****

The cult status of this wild movie is assured by the existence of
actual  Big Lebowski Fan Conventions just like the Trekkies, where
attendees dress as their favorite character, bowl and drink White
Russians. There is even a web site featuring quotes from the film’s
dialog. One fan quipped that the hilarious cock-eyed comedy deals
primarily with “money, mistakes, nihilism and bowling.”  All the
characters in the film are really “characters.” Jeff Bridges is perfect
as the thoroughly laid-back, drugged-out Lebowski who calls himself The
Dude.  His unfortunate plight is to be mistaken for a wealthy
businessman also named Lebowski and as a result he gets beaten up by
thugs and his prized Persian rug peed on. The rest of the story line is
basically his effort to get satisfaction for his misfortune.

The interview segments with the Coen brothers give one an insight into
their highly individual films and their highly individual
personalities: one is easy-going and humorous and the other rather
serious. They joke about using the same actors in many of their films,
and having killed off Steve Buscemi in five of their films in a row and
wondering just how that occurred. Some of the characters are inspired
by real-life people the Coens have known.  Goodman is also perfect
as an overly-macho Vietnam veteran who is constantly taking extreme
action which gets the normally cool Dude fuming. The eccentric journey
of Bridges and Goodman makes it a sort of buddy movie, but they are
constantly bickering. Julianne Moore plays a feminist artist and also
appears in the Busby Berkeley-inspired dance sequences of The Dude’s
dreams. Not only are the plot and the people in it quirky and
unexpected in the best Coen brothers style, but the visual presentation
is also highly creative.  Dig John Turturro as Jesus the Hispanic
bowling champ, licking his bowling ball before throwing it. With
minimal screen time he is established as an unforgettable character.
Another example of this is Philip Seymour Hoffman as the assistant to
the other Mr. Lebowski. And the actor who was written into the film to
speak some homilies to The Dude at a bar, just because the brothers dug
his very deep voice and realized they could have second thoughts on
exactly what he would say since his huge mustache covered his lips.

– John Sunier

Related Reviews
Logo Pure Pleasure
Logo Apollo's Fire
Logo Crystal Records Sidebar 300 ms
Logo Jazz Detective Deep Digs Animated 01