So what did I peruse on Netflix this past weekend? Sometimes, Netflix can be a great place to find the classics that you've missed out on. The Big Lebowski is high on the list of cult classics I knew I had to see someday, so when I saw it had recently been added to Netflix, it shot straight to the front of the queue. And, with a quiet Saturday night at home, I knew it was time to check this classic off my cinematic bucket list.
The Big Lebowski. Another quirky character cult classic from the Coen Brothers. Kind of overlooked when it came out in 1998. Fresh off the success of Fargo and with O Brother, Where Art Thou? warming up in the bullpen, critics and moviegoers greeted The Big Lebowski with a collective shrug. However, in the ensuing years, it has grown to become a certified cult classic, with much of its dialogue having grown into beloved catchphrases. Hell, I was there at the beginning of its growth to cult classic-dom. I remember hanging out in the dorm back in my college days, and overhearing a few folks saying, "Dude, did you rent that Lebowski movie? It's hilarious, man."
And watching it tonight...it is.
Jeff Bridges is the Dude, one of the most laid-back guys on the planet. He's unemployed, and spends most of his time bowling with his friends Walter - a short-tempered gun nut - and Donny, who's a little bit meek. The Dude's real name just happens to be Jeffery Lebowski, the same name as a local billionaire. A case of mistaken identity has the Dude getting roughed up by some thugs wanting to get some money that the billionaire Lebowski's wife owes them. And before long, the Dude is swept up in the machinations of the Lebowski family as they double cross each other over the family fortune, the aforementioned wife gets kidnapped, and the Dude is soon on a journey just to figure out what the hell is going on.
The first Coen Brothers movie I ever saw was The Hudsucker Proxy. The trailers took me in, and one night, I finally convinced my family to rent it. At the end of the film, my father turned to me and said, "Mark, could you please explain to me what the hell that movie was about?" I almost had a similar reaction to the Big Lebowski, as I soon found it a little confusing as to what the heck was going with the criminal plots the formed much of the plot.
But, the shining beacon in the film is the performances. Jeff Bridges as the Dude, essentially playing who he is in real life now. You can't help but love the guy as he just approaches everything in such a laid-back way. He is what makes the movie as he's just so likeable. John Goodman, as always, is fantastic as his buddy Walter. And Julianne Moore is just odd as Maude Lebowski, an avant garde artist who's another player in the game.
Not much more I can tell you, man. It's just a funny movie, and I'm kind of sad it took me so long to see it. Watch it, and enjoy.