Classic, abrasive comedy remembered

U-News Staff

Cohen Brothers’ ‘The Big Lebowski’ still intrigues 15 years later

The cult film “The Big Lebowski” is a hilarious, abrasive comedy that spins a complex and far-fetched story. With an allstar cast playing unforgettable characters, two talented directors behind the camera and a script riddled with profane yet hilarious dialogue, “The Big Lebowski” intrigues audience members while keeping them in stitches even 15 years after its release.

“The Big Lebowski” not only interests movie enthusiasts with its unique story, but also with its talented cast. Notable actors/actresses appearing in “The Big Lebowski” include Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the polite and supportive butler, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi as a pacifist, John Turturro as a sex offender named Jesus, a young Tara Reid as a gold-digging wife/porn star and appearances by Sam Elliot and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea.

The main character, Jeff Lebowski, is played by Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges, and serves as his most recognizable role. Every character refers to him as “The Dude,” or simply “Dude.” Dude is a bowler, pot smoker, White-Russian sipper and an exhusband, and is arguably the laziest man on Earth.

John Goodman plays Walter Sobchak, a volatile Vietnam veteran who is Dude’s best friend and bowling partner. Sobchak’s intense personality proves completely opposite of Dude’s laid back, pacifistic attitude. Sobchak once pulled a handgun to enforce bowling rules, much to Dude’s dismay.

Dude’s relaxed lifestyle suddenly comes to a halt when two moronic thugs mistake him for a millionaire who is consequently also named Jeff Lebowski. The thugs break into Dude’s apartment with a threatening demand for money. Dude insists they’ve mixed up his identity, but the thugs retaliate and hilariously shove Dude’s head in the toilet. Before leaving, the thugs continue their threats and urinate on Dude’s unkempt rug, upsetting him since he swears the rug totally “tied the room together.”

Distraught, Dude sets out to find the millionaire Lebowski to demand compensation for his ruined rug. With Sobchak by his side, the simple quest goes downhill and spirals out of control. What began as a quest seeking justice for his rug evolves into an epic misadventure of love, sex and lies, including auto-theft, severed toes, wet ferrets, German nihilists and juvenile delinquents, just to name a few.

“The Big Lebowski” is one of many masterpieces from Joel and Ethan Cohen.

Fans of the Cohen brothers’ other movies will be sure to enjoy this no-holds-barred comedy.

Viewers may recognize comedy parallels between “The Big Lebowski” and other Cohen Brother films like “Raising Arizona,” “O’Brother Where Art Thou’” and “Burn After Reading.” Though this movie has serious laughs and graphic language, its content isn’t as seriously violent like the Cohen Brothers’ “No Country for Old Men” and “Fargo.”

While the dialogue is full of coarse language, “The Big Lebowski” has several memorable and well-known lines, most of which are too explicit to quote. The best way to discover what makes the movie so memorable and why it is one of the greatest cult films ever produced is to simply watch it.

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