Monday, October 18, 2010

One Hundred Wonderful Movies #2

Has there ever been a film more quotable than The Big Lebowski?
A film so awesome it inspired it's own annual festival (that didn't involve space travel of some kind)?
A more perfect celebration of Sam Elliot's mustache?
I think not.

This is the Coen Brother's first entry on my list of all-time favorites. Joel and Ethan Coen are among my favorite directors, and there is no better introduction into their deceptively simple style of storytelling than with the Dude himself.

The Big Lebowski is a delightful bit of absurdity that at first seems to be a random collection of hilarious setpieces, and slowly evolves from general wackiness and gratuitous recreational drug use into a genuine mystery, albeit with characters so inane and self absorbed it's difficult to care about any one of them. And yet they're all somehow so lovable. Walter and his temper, Donny and his total irrelevance, the cold, calculating Maude, Bunny (we're all quite fond of her) and especially the Dude himself.
The Big Lebowski centers around a happily rut-embedded old hippie who spend his days drinking white russians and bowling, and loving every minute of it. That is, until a misunderstanding involving a wealthy man (or is he??) with the same legal name as the titular Jeffery Lebowski (because they got the wrong guy, man... everyone knows he's the Dude.)

What follows is a classic Coen brothers tale, told in a simple fashion, but with a quite densely layered story under all the nonsense. And you can pick out just about any line of dialogue, throw it out into the world, and someone will join you in a volley of Lebowski-isms. Plus, the soundtrack is absolutely classic.

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