095: The Big Lebowski | Jeff Bridges, Battlestar Galactica, & Murder on the Orient Express
By Max Rivera | @MaxRiveraFilm
Premise: After being mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski seeks restitution for his ruined rug and finds himself entangled in a series of stupid and criminal incidents.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 81%
It’s easy to see why The Big Lebowski (1998) became an instant cult classic — the offbeat characters, memorable dialogue, and nonsensical characters add multiple layers of enjoyment. That’s why while we had some decent competition for this line, we knew we’d have to visit The Dude.
While we both liked the film, I think I liked it a bit more than Scott. This was only my second time viewing the film, but it really worked for me on a comedic level and the story worked well enough. Lebowski is kind of a slice of life film, just filled with idiots and weirdos. So I can see how that is anticlimactic for some folks — there is enough subtlety and weirdness that multiple viewings pay off, though.
One thing we wonder in our review is the character of Maude Lebowski — does she work as a feminist artist who shows independence by only wanting The Dude for his breeding potential (and lack of desire to parent), or is it almost a male fantasy version of a cold woman only warmed for sex? We don’t have a straight answer, but it is worth reexamination for that alone. Contrasted with Bunny Lebowski, Maude is at least more fleshed out. Like many 90s independent films that led to big success for the filmmakers, the film doesn’t feature many female point of views. While it’s not a detriment to the film as a whole, it definitely ages it into the wide era of media where we only focus on white male protagonists. Don’t get mad at me for saying it, it’s most of cinema history, y’all.
I found myself groaning at the character of The Jesus this time around — while I like the visual of a wacky bowler, the bargain-bin-Pacino accent didn’t do anything for me, and I honestly think John Turturro’s normal accent would have been fine. It felt dated to me, but maybe it works for other people. The shots introducing the Jesus work, but the character only serves as a foil for a brief moment before fading into the background.
Still, while I have gripes with the film, it carries charm that I enjoy. Sam Elliott’s Stranger adds a feel of magical fantasy, while Jeff Bridges is completely likable as the Dude. I enjoy that the film plays almost like a neo-noir, yet we don’t have the full wit of a private investigator. There are Coen Brothers films that I like a lot more, but I also think I will find myself visiting this one a few more times later in life.
1:33: What we’ve been watching
7:28: Justice League spoilers
18:10: The Big Lebowski cast, crew, and box office
31:30: What else we could have watched
38:45: In Depth Review of The Big Lebowski
56:35: Outro & What’s Next