The Big Lebowski (1998)
The Big Lebowski
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ out of 5
Directed by The Coen Brothers
Starring Jeff Bridges as Jeff ‘The Dude’ Lebowski
John Goodman as Walter
Steve Buscemi as Donnie
After being mistaken for a millionaire, and having his rug peed on by two thugs, The Dude sets out on a quest to have his rug compensated by the millionaire he was mistaken for. Then The Dude is dragged into a kidnapping incident, where he is forced to help deliver the ransom.
Certain movies require a second viewing, not because they’re complex, or because details fly over your head the first time, but because they just become inexplicably better the second time around. I was told this about The Big Lebowski after I listed my favorite Coen brothers films, and this was not included on the list. I explained I’d seen it once, and thought it was good, but I wasn’t blown away by any means. But I decided to give it another try by their recommendation, and oh my god they were right. The Big Lebowski was excellent the second time around. I can’t even explain why it is better the second time through it just all worked so much more for me. This is not just a good comedy, it is a damn fine piece of filmmaking. Full of great performances, great visuals, nice references, and a really fun plot, The Big Lebowski works on a level that most films like it never come close to. Jeff Bridges and John Goodman are the funniest comedy duo I’ve seen in a while, with The Dude trying to stay laid back, and Walter just screwing everything up over and over. I don’t think I realized how good John Goodman was in this the first time I saw it, but after seeing it again, he gave a Best Supporting Actor caliber performance here. Julianne Moore was also great, and I didn’t even realize it was her the first time around. The cinematography by Roger Deakins is amazing, as I have come to expect from him. His framing and lighting work is just stunning, and every time I see something he shot, I feel blown away. The thing that I think made me appreciate this the most though has to be my new understanding of the references scattered throughout. Back when I first watched the film about three years ago, I had no clue what Film-Noir was, or how The Big Lebowski was a tribute to it. I had no clue who Busby Berkeley was. I didn’t understand any of the references, which left a hole in my potential love of the film. Thankfully now I can say that The Big Lebowski is definitely one of my favorite films. This is most definitely a great movie, and to all the people out there who saw it once and weren’t huge fans, I give you the same advice I got. Watch it again.