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You see what happens, Larry?
on 13 November 2011
It's hard to pick out one favorite line of dialogue in particular for two reasons. One-almost everything said in this film is downright hilarious. And Two-the F word is spoken 281 times so there's not many sentences that don't contain it. 144 sentences also end in 'man'. I also like how the characters unintentionally use each other's repeating catchphrases.
Jeff 'The Dude' Lebowski is a man living a minimalistic existence. He has no job, no ambitions and no worries. His days, be they weekdays or weekends, are spent bowling, driving around or having the occasional acid flashback. His pals are Walter Sobchak, a security expert and half-crazed Vietnam vet and Donny, a humble, mousy little man who is left out of almost every conversation.
The Dude is happy with his easy-going life of nothingness until two thugs ambush him in his house believing him to the OTHER Jeff 'The Big' Lebowski, the millionaire with a trouble-making wife who owes money all over town. These thugs are none too happy with their dumb error and re-assert themselves by peeing on The Dude's rug.
This very much displeases The Dude as this rug really tied the room together and since he cannot track down the 'Chinaman' thug responsible he decides to take it out of the Big Lebowski, as it's now HIM who owes a new rug. The Dude is welcomed into the Big Lebowski's mansion by Brandt the butler, a man so appallingly sycophantic he'd make Weylon Smither's look bad. But his millionaire namesake is not so ready and willing to give hand-outs and basically tells The Dude to get lost.
At this point things become quite complicated as a bunch of ex-pop star Nihilist thugs, a powerful pornographer, a dejected feminist daughter, a Brother Seamus (NOT an Irish Monk), a joyriding teenager, a revolting pederast champion bowler, Saddam Hussein, a mysterious cowboy and a doctor who is insistent on him removing his shorts all make The Dude's life suddenly a helluva lot more interesting. The plot thickens and thickens and the dude is dragged to dozens of different places across LA, going from limo to limo, never too far from a white Russian or a doobie.
There are zillions of idiosyncrasies in this film that keeps it new and interesting every time you watch it. Every scene and every line of dialogue is so memorable that, like me, you'll be acting the film out for years. Even on a 100th viewing you'll notice dramatic ironies, character arcs and ingenious wordplay that went right over your head before.
The acting is superb. I am a fan of Jeff Bridges but he completely disappears in this film. He truly BECOMES The Dude and shows little of his recognizable self. John Goodman, in probably the most under-rated role of his career, is the world's angriest man. Bringing frustration and smart-ass arrogance to every scene (though he's almost always right). Set well over a decade after 'nam (and during the first Gulf conflict) Walter seems to be suffering from perpetual, ever-lasting post-traumatic stress syndrome as he blows up in any situation. Take a look at his 'minor' confrontation with Smokey for example.
It's not about plot, or even characters. It's about a certain moment in time, the early 90s. And the definitive man of that time was the Dude. The rug-peeing just happened to occur simultaneously.
The Blu Ray looks great in 1.85:1 1080p with DTS HD-MA 5.1 sound and loads of extras. It comes in a Digi-Book but since it's twice as thick as their US counterparts (as is the rule in the UK for some dumb reason) it looks and feels...wrong. I'm not happy about it. But an otherwise solid purchase.