I wouldn’t change a thing about The Big Lebowski.
Whenever someone used to ask me “What’s your favorite movie?” I never had a good answer. I used to meander, “Well, what genre are we talking about? If it’s horror, then it’s ‘Halloween,’ if it’s action, then ‘Die Hard’…” The answers changed sometimes and what should have been a simple response became a 10 minute diatribe I didn’t want to get into. However, I realized that The Big Lebowski is perfect. The cast is perfect. The story is engaging. Even the cinematography is spot on (For proof of the last point, I’ll refer you to John Goodman’s Walter Sobchak pointing a gun at a character known only as “Smokey” with only inches of distance between the gun and Smokey’s face).
That’s why it’s my favorite movie. If I have nothing but love and adoration for the film, with, literally, no complaints why shouldn’t it be my favorite? I came to this understanding at some point in college, I don’t remember when exactly, but I’ll credit my friend Dave for helping me to realize it. We used to watch TBL almost every weekend, sometimes more than once. It’s a movie that demands to be watched. And watched. And watched again.
The plot? Walter explains it best: “The beauty of this is its simplicity.” Jeff Bridges plays Jeffrey Lebowski, who goes by “The Dude.” The name is apt. He’s a relaxed, take’er easy kind of guy. He smokes weed, bowls, and drinks Caucasians (White Russians). That’s his life. Two thugs break into his house, pee on his rug, and tell him to pay up for his wife’s debts. Trouble is, The Dude doesn’t have a wife and these guys broke into the wrong Lebowski’s house. The Dude’s central motivation is to acquire a new rug because it “really tied the room together.” That’s it. This is what sets our plot in motion. Not an asteroid hurtling towards the Earth, not a terrorist attack, not an alien invasion, just a guy who wants a new rug.
In the course of trying to get a new rug, The Dude encounters all kinds of characters, not the least of which is the eponymous Big Lebowski himself–the one the “carpet pissers” were really after. The Dude gets mixed up in the other Lebowski’s business, tries to deliver money to alleged kidnappers, and tries to keep his “johnson” when a group of nihilists threaten him. Make sense? In the movie, it does and it’s hilarious.
I always tell people that you have to watch The Big Lebowski at least twice. Once to see the plot unfold and figure out the mystery and then a second time to catch all of the great performances, funny lines (and delivery), and truly take in this strange world the Dude inhabits.
It’s also a movie that you should experience with friends. It can be watched alone, but the group dynamic helps. Also, for some reason, women don’t get it. I don’t know quite why, but the women I know who have watched it don’t seem to find it humorous like I do or my guy friends. Just putting it out there.
If you haven’t seen it (and there are an astounding amount of you who haven’t), go watch it immediately. Maybe enjoy it with a Caucasian and In-and-Out Burger.