The Big Lebowski

Movie Information

Walk-in Theatre is presented by Orbit DVD and the merchants of the Bledsoe Building, in the parking lot behind the Bledsoe Building in West Asheville at dark on Friday, July 13. Free.
Genre: Film Noir Comedy
Director: Joel Coen
Starring: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore, David Huddleston
Rated: R

Made by the Coen Brothers when they were flush with the success of their Oscar-lauded Fargo (1996), The Big Lebowski seems to bear out Orson Welles’ distressed contention from Michael Winner’s I’ll Never Forget What’s ‘Isname (1967), “Give artists money these days and all they do is … spend it.” This wigged-out comedy became an immediate cult favorite, but wasn’t exactly Oscar material and was hardly a big box-office success. Centered on Jeff Bridges’ laid-back embodiment of The Dude—the ultimate slacker/stoner—the film was simply too disjointed, too weird and too Coenesque to cut it with mainstream viewers. A lot of people were simply perplexed by its rambling plot (so incoherent that even Sam Elliott, who narrates the film, can’t follow it) and its cinematic playfulness.

Who was ready for a film-noir spoof that has The Dude standing in for Philip Marlowe in Murder, My Sweet (1944)? And even if they were, were they ready for this ersatz Marlowe to be bludgeoned into a comatose state and fantasize a Busby Berkeley-styled musical number in a bowling alley? Even granting this unlikely possibility, this is, after all, ultimately a story about a man seeking recompense for a rug (one that “really tied the room together”) that was urinated on by gangland goons who mistook him for another Lebowski. It takes a certain type of person to appreciate that—and you know who you are (or aren’t). For myself, well, if nothing else, the Dude speaks for me when appraises the music of the Eagles.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress since December 2000. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

16 thoughts on “The Big Lebowski

  1. Ezekiel

    Well, maybe not the greatest, but certainly perfect for walk-in theater. It doesn’t matter if you miss part of it while you get a beer, it makes just as much sense.

  2. Ken Hanke

    I thought you were still out selecting fruit (which presumably has nothing to do with your openings).

  3. Orbit DVD

    Openings are forbidden at the Walk In Theater. We have an adult room that you can visit after the movie.

  4. Ken Hanke

    Yeah, I guess the shelf life of your jokes is kind of limited.

  5. Ken Hanke

    I liked Mr. Bugg better when he was called Francis the Talking Mule.

  6. I liked Ken Hanke better when he was known as Gene Siskel’s rotting corpse.

    Just kidding, Mr. Hanke. Actually you are much funnier as the movie critic. Although your stint as Cocoa Kemosabe, the 6’5″ black drag queen who turned my heart into mush all those years ago was quite memorable also.

  7. Ken Hanke

    You’d been so quiet, I thought some evil had befallen you.

  8. Whiskey T. Foxtrot

    Say, that reminds me…

    What was the meaning of the Red Cardinal Tattoo on Nicolas Cage and the Leonard Smalls (Randall Tex Cobb) character’s arms in “Raising Arizona?”

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