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Big Lebowski [Blu-ray]  [US Import]
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After the tight plotting and quirky intensity of Fargo, this casually amusing follow-up from the prolifically inventive Coen (Ethan and Joel) brothers seems like a bit of a lark, and the result was a box-office disappointment. The good news is, The Big Lebowski is every bit a Coen movie, and its lazy plot is part of its laidback charm. After all, how many movies can claim as their hero a pot-bellied, pot-smoking loser named Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) who spends most of his time bowling and getting stoned? And where else could you find a hairnetted Latino bowler named Jesus (John Turturro) who sports dazzling purple footgear, or an erotic artist (Julianne Moore) whose creativity consists of covering her naked body in paint, flying through the air in a leather harness, and splatting herself against a giant canvas? Who else but the Coens would think of showing you a camera view from inside the holes of a bowling ball, or an elaborate Busby Berkely-styled musical dream sequence involving a Viking goddess and giant bowling pins? The plot--which finds Lebowski involved in a kidnapping scheme after he's mistaken for a rich guy with the same name--is almost beside the point. What counts here is a steady cascade of hilarious dialogue, great work from Coen regulars John Goodman and Steve Buscemi, and the kind of cinematic ingenuity that puts the Coens in a class all their own. Be sure to watch with snacks in hand, because The Big Lebowski might give you a giddy case of the munchies. --Jeff Shannon
The Coen brothers have done it again. Mixing in Leninist philosophy, mistaken identity, crazy characters, a kidnapping plot, and a deep love of bowling, they have unleashed upon an unsuspecting world the many glories of The Big LebowskiI. Jeff Bridges plays Jeff Lebowski, known as the Dude, a laid-back, easygoing burnout who happens to have the same name as a millionaire whose wife owes a lot of dangerous people a whole bunch of money--resulting in the Dude having his rug soiled, sending him spiraling into the Los Angeles underworld. The film is beautiful to look at, especially the scenes in the bowling alley, which feature a vast array of bizarre characters including Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Sam Elliott, and the movie-stealing, riotously funny John Goodman as the Dude's crazy best buddy. As usual in Coen brothers films (Barton Fink, Raising Arizona), the dialogue is hysterically warped; the plot is confusing, complicated, and kinetic; the soundtrack is virtually another character; and the acting is weirdly stellar. The Big LebowskiI is yet another thoroughly entertaining foray into the strange and fascinating world ruled by Joel and Ethan Coen.
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One feature that was really cool includes Jeff Bridges himself showing you a photo book that he made during the production of the film and explaining what happened between scenes that made him laugh during filming.
Another cool feature is the scene location section - which allows you to discover where certain scene's were filmed on a map; a handy tool should you wish to visit those locations.
But its also a very poignant film, shot through with melancholy: Walter's trauma from the horrors of vietnam, funny at first, is heartbreaking in the end, and
we are shown the human cost of war, the broken man.
Its all the more powerful because its referenced obliquely.
Has anybody worked out who the Stranger really is?
A figment of The Dude's stoned imagination, perhaps triggered by Walter's reference to the Rawhide style tv series? Or as real a character as the rest in the film?
I personally preferred Guy Ritchie's 2000 film Snatch with Brad Pitt in the comedy crime genre.
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