Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"That rug really tied the room together."

The Blu-ray of The Big Lebowski just arrived from Amazon and I'm about to settle into another viewing of a film I watch over and over. I can understand why Christians may have serious doubts about the film. The Dude is a paragon of just about anything but the conventional virtues — and his language also leaves something to be desired.
The Stranger: There's just one thing, Dude.
The Dude: And what's that?
The Stranger: Do you have to use so many cuss words?
The Dude: What the **** you talking about?
The Stranger: Okay, Dude. Have it your way.
Hunter Duesing at Big Hollywood:
What’s so fun about The Big Lebowski doesn’t just lie in its hilarious dialogue or colorful characters, but in the fact that it’s a classic film-noir plot as observed through a funhouse mirror in a haze of exhaled marijuana smoke. The plot is essentially the same story as Howard Hawks’s The Big Sleep, but instead of Bogey playing Phillip Marlowe, we get Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey ‘The Dude” Lebowski, an accidental non-detective who also happens to be the laziest stoner in Los Angeles, which as the narrator accurately notes, makes him high in the running for laziest worldwide.

The Big Sleep is a film noted for its complex plot, and The Big Lebowski’s plot is no less labyrinthine. The plot is full of misdirection and red herrings in the form of apathetic schoolboy car thieves, fake kidnappings, partying pornographers, and sleazy detectives. Yet the Dude’s motivation lies simply in the mission to tie his room together by replacing his soiled rug after a comically Hitchcockian case of mistaken identity that involves spiteful rug-pissers. Everything spirals from that simple plot point into complete anarchy. It seems convoluted upon the first viewing, but becomes more rich (and hilarious) with each subsequent viewing.
The film combines film noir with great comedy writing, perfect casting, and production and direction by the Coen brothers. It could hardly be better.
Walter Sobchak: You know, Dude, I myself dabbled in pacifism once. Not in 'Nam of course.
The Dude: Then you know he's got emotional problems, man.
Walter Sobchak: You mean... beyond pacifism?
Big Hollywood » Blog Archive » HomeVideodrome: The Dude, ‘The Ward,’ ‘Priest,’ and ‘Something Borrowed’
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