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Old 09-12-2017, 06:30 PM   #1157
Talon87
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Just finished watching The Big Lebowski. It was entertaining enough. I'd give it a 6/10. Not bad. Even above average, honestly. But ... not by much. I can definitely appreciate why it's a cult classic, neither mainstream (until, arguably, the last fifteen years) nor outright rejected.

Spoiler: show
Like the Coen Brothers' earlier film, Fargo, this one is heavily character-driven. You're watching for the characters. You're not watching for the plot. But unlike Fargo, which had an okay enough plot, here ... if you're watching for the plot, you're in for disappointment. Lebowski's plot is fairly simple and stupid. It's not an interesting story, no matter what the cowboy at the end might have had to say. Amusing, perhaps, but not interesting.

The film suffers throughout for a major problem -- we're asked to believe that no one would ever seek help from the police. At no point in the film do the police get involved save for one throw-away nod at this towards the film's end and one actual police report when the Dude's car gets stolen after a night at the bowling alley. These two exceptions aside, here follows a laundry list of the events that, were they to happen in real life, perhaps someone might have involved the police:
  • when the Dude's home is wrongfully entered and vandalized by gang members
  • when the Dude steals a Persian carpet from the Big Lebowski's
  • when Bunny goes missing
  • when Maude steals the Persian carpet from the Dude (who at this point in the film is told he may keep it)
  • when the German nihilists wrongfully entered and vandalized the Dude's home
  • when Walter pulled a gun at the bowling alley and held a man at gunpoint, locked and loaded
  • when Walter destroys a man's newly-purchased sports car
  • when that same man then destroys the Dude's car
  • when the German nihilists torch the Dude's car
  • when Walter causes a scene at the diner and is asked to be quiet or leave
Some of these are easily explained. Mafia involvement, cat-and-mouse games with money, just generally "we don't want to get the police involved." Maude stealing the Persian carpet is a good example of that: the Dude can't very well tell the police, "Someone stole the carpet that I myself stole from someone else," nor can he trust that the Big Lebowski will tell the police the carpet was a gift to the Dude should they go to his mansion to corroborate the Dude's story. Other examples, like Walter pulling the firearm on a man at the bowling alley or like Walter destroying the rich guy's car, make absolutely zero sense that the police did not become involved and that Walter did not spend the night (or longer!) behind bars. The script relies on audience cooperation to work in a way that Fargo did not. Fargo was farfetched; this, is just plain unreal.

Jeff Bridges does a good enough job at playing the Dude. John Goodman likewise does a good enough job at playing Walter. I wouldn't say either performance is a must-see, but they both do good jobs. As for everyone else, either meh? (Julianne Moore's Maude, Ben Gazzara's Jackie Treehorn) or else same level of good only the character didn't much matter or make an impact (Philip Seymour Hoffman's sycophantic butler, Sam Elliot's the Stranger).

None of the movie's R-rated content (gore, sex, profanity) makes the movie worth seeing, but at the same time the movie is so full of this stuff that it is an absolutely prohibited film for most minors.

I imagine the movie surprisingly has a decent enough replay value. I don't care to rewatch it again any time soon, but I'm also not turned off by the thought. I can't imagine the replay being worse than the same score I'm giving the film now, a 6 out of 10. In fact, I think the film might even be more enjoyable on the reviewing, for the same reasons the pop culture seems to have crowned Lebowski as this hidden gem of cinema: all of the quotable lines of dialogue. "The Dude abides," "Am I the only one that ...", "Yeah, well, y'know that's just, like, your opinion, man" ... these are the famous ones, but there's a ton of similarly-quotable lines in this movie's dialogue. That's not to say that I'd call the screenplay "smartly written", although no disrespect intended to the Coen Brothers. Rather, just that it's ... a quotable screenplay, like 2 to 5 percent of the lines in the movie could become quotations out of context.

Is this a movie that everyone needs to see before they die? I'd say no :\ , but for the pop cultural sensation it has become on the Internet over the last ten years or so. If it weren't for everyone quoting it and image macroing it all the time, I'd say you could easily go without ever seeing this movie.

Is it a movie to be avoided? Again, no, not really. I gave it a 6. I didn't dislike it. I even consider it an above average film. Just ... uninteresting plot, tons of plot holes as it pertains to law enforcement never getting involved, and nothing really there to make you want to watch except for the characters and their frequently amusing lines.

Last edited by Talon87; 09-12-2017 at 06:35 PM.
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