Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Big Lebowski

Ever imagined a western mixed with bowling? Well, now you can see what happens. It's not really much of either, but they are combined in this iconic piece of American comedy by the men behind "Fargo," "Barton Fink," and "Miller's Crossing." It's one of the most unique movies I have ever seen, and maybe that's why there are Lebowski fests from coast to coast. Anyways, Jeff Bridges, five years removed from his best role of his career in "Fearless," turns in a dazzling performance as the hero and massive slacker Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski, who gets mixed up with the millionaire Jeffrey Lebowski (Donald Huddleston of "McQ") , who shares his name, but not a lot of his passive traits. His wife Bunny (Tara Reid) has supposedly been kidnapped and he has chosen "The Dude" to be the courier. It all goes horribly wrong, anyways, and it gets mightily confusing, but it's all in great humor. Also in the picture fellow bowler Walter Shobchak (John Goodman in his career roll), who is serious about bowling, and Donny (Steve Buscemi), who is always pretty much confused and always is told by Walter to "shut the f*** up." To add to that, Julianne Moore, for once, is not the greatest actress on the screen, as she unevenly but still hilariously takes the role of the millionaire Lebowski's artist daughter, and David Thewlis, who has played a very wide variety of roles, plays a cackling fellow artiste in one hilarious scene. Flea (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers), Sam Elliot, and John Tuturro all make great supporting performances, too, but in the end it gets too complicated to describe and I am left with only the words "you have to see it to believe it." Some great lines and quirks were spawned from this film, such as the Dude's White Russian obsession and the summarizing line "the dude abides." The film also has set some records, being, as of now, 21st on the list of most f-words (something that has spawned many mashup videos on YouTube) and possibly the only film ever to have both a marmot and a pee-stained rug as a result of two separate incidents. It's only problem are the random unfunny sequences that pop up, which are basically whenever Lebowski however gets knocked out. This only happens twice, but they are the downpoints of the movie. In one of these sequences, Saddam Hussein passes out bowling shoes out of a skyscraping tower of them. Talk about strange. Bottom line: not the best or worst movie of all time, but altogether very, very funny, lifted on the sweet comedic timing of four hilarious: Bridges, Goodman, Buscemi, and Tuturro. A-

The Big Lebowski is very profane, very raunchy... for adults only.

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