Logline: “The Dude” Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire with the same name, seeks restitution for his soiled rug and becomes mixed up in a kidnapping scheme.
Review: In 1998, the filmmaking duo Joel and Ethan Coen released The Big Lebowski, their followup to the universally acclaimed Fargo (1996). The film was a disappointment at the box office and divided critics. However, the film has received many more positive reviews since its release and has garnered a strong and loyal cult following. Since 2002, Lebowski Fest, a traveling festival that celebrates the cult classic, has been held in various cities across the country. This was the setting in which I recently revisited The Big Lebowski. Sipping on The Dude’s drink of choice, a White Russian, I was completely enamored with the film, which I enjoyed with a few friends.
The Big Lebowski is a film that demands to be seen more than once. It is difficult to not become wrapped up in the plot the first time you see the film but after that initial viewing, you will appreciate the incredibly written dialogue, the humor, and the characters and all of their idiosyncrasies. Loosely inspired by the works of novelist and screenwriter Raymond Chandler, The Big Lebowski can be described as a Neo-noir stoner comedy. To say the story is convoluted and confusing is an understatement but the plot is inconsequential. The true genius of the film lies in its menagerie of colorful, fascinating characters. Even minor characters that only appear onscreen for a few minutes make an indelible impression. The acting is fantastic across the board particularly Jeff Bridges as The Dude, a relic of the 1960s and John Goodman as Walter Sobchak, a hothead Vietnam vet. The cast also includes acting greats Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and many others.
The Big Lebowski is absolutely hilarious. Most of the humor is derived from dialogue and interactions between characters. It is difficult to find a modern comedy in which the dialogue is so expertly written and endlessly quotable. The soundtrack, a mix of Carter Burwell’s original score and classic rock tunes, is excellent.
The Big Lebowski stands as one of the best films of the 90s; a cult classic that is forever rewatchable. There are so many fantastic, wonderfully timed moments throughout the film. The Coen Brothers have made many great films, such as Blood Simple (1984), Fargo, and No Country for Old Men (2007) but The Big Lebowski remains my favorite of their vast and varied body of work. The Dude abides.