‘Modern Classic’, ‘Fan Favorite’, ‘Cult Classic’, ‘Masterpiece’, these are just some of the terms that this movie evokes amongst moviefans around the world.
Whether you consider this to be one of the terms mentioned above remains to be seen, yet it’s undeniable that this movie has garnered a lot, and I mean A LOT of fans over the years. There’s an annual Lebowskifest (with this years edition only 2 days away), there’s a Lebowski store in New York, and there are numerous websites devoted to this Coen Bros directed movie.
So what makes it so great? The fact is that the short synopsis provided above does really tell the entire story of the movie. It’s quite simple to start with, Jeff Bridges plays Jeff Lebowski who is commonly known as ‘The Dude’ and one day finds a bunch of lowlife criminals peeing on his rug. This happens because they accidentally took him for being another Mr. Lebowski, the multi millionaire one. The Dude does not abide (you’ll get that once you’ve seen it) and decides to claim a new rug from the millionaire since he’s to blame for this atrocity.
And it’s from the very beginning that you start to think you might be in for a great ride.
Filled with memorable characters such as The Dude’s group of friends (consisting of John Goodman as an ex-vietnam vet and Steve Buscemi being in Maximum Steve Buscemi mode) and a slew of sidestories that all serve a purpose (as opposed to some other movies) this is best enjoyed when rewatched multiple times.
Because the movie contains some dream sequences and the occasional weed reference, some people have described this as a ‘stoner comedy’. While this could well be enjoyed stoned, it’s not a movie that requires you to be in that state of mind, let alone have experience with it.
The moment that John Turturro makes his entrance as the bowler ‘Jesus’ you know you are in for something special. It’s moments like that which lift ‘The Big Lebowski’ above other comedies and even movies in general. The story progresses and the trouble which The Dude has to go through just keeps adding up.
The funniest thing about it all still being the fact that The Dude wants nothing more than his rug.
Did I mention the speech used in this movie? It’s brilliant, and very quotable.
The Dude Abides or ‘That is just like your opinion man’ will mean nothing to you until you’ve seen the movie.
Afterwards, it will put a smile on your face when repeating them.
Is this a ‘modern classic’, It’s hard to tell. It’s certainly a memorable movie, and the quality and expertise that the Coen Brothers show in this definitely puts it above a lot of other movies. Yet it’s the driving force of the movie that’s also the downside. In the end you’re watching a dude trying to get a new rug for his apartment. And you can’t help but wonder if they shouldn’t have gone and went for a slightly deeper approach than what’s on offer here.
The only real question would be: what sort of hefty themes would you even want to include in a story about a guy claiming his rug? Sometimes we need to step away from being the critical and intellectual moviefans we are and just enjoy a movie for what it is. This is good fun and if you have missed it back in the day, or feel that you shouldn’t waste your time on it, please, take a gamble.
You might walk away feeling, you know, just feeling the way you are man, like..good, dude.