Maude Lebowski: What do you do for recreation?
The Dude: Oh, the usual. Bowl, drive around. The occasional acid flashback.

The Big Lebowski is a comedy movie with film noir aspects. It's directed by Joel Coen, and written by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, the Coen Brothers. It has a runtime of 117 minutes, is rated R, and was released in 1998.

The Dude is quite out of his time. He looks, talks, and acts as if he was living in the Summer of Love. He's quite lazy, and quite apathetic. But he has just gotten a problem in his life. Some thugs that didn't realize there were two Jefferey Lebowski's in the phone book, broke into his home. They threatened him, and pushed his head down his toilet. Now all of that isn't too bad, but there's the rug. One of the thugs urinated on his rug. The rug that just tied the whole room together. That's a problem, man.

Talking with his bowling buddies, he decides to meet with the Big Lebowski, the Jefferey Lebowski that has money. He intends on getting him to pay for a new rug. But things get stranger, as the Big Lebowski hires The Dude to be the man to deliver ransom money in return for the Big Lebowski's wife. There are mess-ups, and miscommunications, and some things don't just seem to add up in the Dude's mind as he gets deeper into the webs of the rich and strange.

This has to be one of my favorite Coen Brothers film. It goes on my list with Fargo, Raising Arizona, Barton Fink, and Miller's Crossing. The casting is great, the actors are fun to watch, and the dialogue is wonderful as long as you don't mind that the F word is said 267 times(can you believe someone submited this trivia to imdb?). This is a great film to leisurely watch that starts great and ends like a strange noir film.

Main Cast
Jeff Bridges - Jeff 'The Dude' Lebowski
John Goodman - Walter Sobchak
Julianne Moore - Maude Lebowski
Steve Buscemi - Donny
David Huddleston - Mr. Lebowski
Philip Seymour Hoffman - Brandt
Tara Reid - Bunny Lebowski
Philip Moon - Treehorn Thug
Mark Pellegrino - Treehorn Thug
Peter Stormare - Nihilist (Ulee Kunkel)
Flea - Nihilist
Torsten Voges - Nihilist
Jimmie Dale Gilmore - Smokey
Jack Kehler - Dude's Landlord
John Turturro - Jesus Quintana

Sources:
http://www.imdb.com

The Coen Brothers are probably my favorite filmmakers. They're snide, manipulative, and, with this film, frighteningly prescient:

In the opening scene of the movie, we see The Dude writing a check for (heh) sixty-nine cents for a quart of half and half. He looks up at a TV monitor, and we see President George Bush, father of our current prez, talking about war in the Middle East. The Dude then bends back down to continue writing his check.

The date on his check?

September 11, 1991

I don't know about you, but this movie turned from comedy to horror once I'd seen it enough times to actually catch that detail. Art imitating life, or vice versa? Mere coincidence, yeah, but don't tell me you don't get a little *shiver* up your spine next time you see this flick.

The Big Lebowski is my favorite movie. Now, lots of people have favorite movies, so why am I bothering to even write this here? I am writing because watching The Big Lebowski was a life-changing experience for me, an epiphany, if you will. Contrary to the impression one might get from The Big Lebowski Phenomenon my epiphany occurred immediately after my first viewing of the film.

When I came out of the movie theater that night it hit me. I had been "way too uptight" about life. I was always trying to figure out how to get from here to there in this journey of life, always making mental lists of goals, always trying to move towards them, and getting really stressed if I wasn't making visible progress. Now I don't know if this was the "intended message" of The Big Lebowski, but what it made me realize is that life is crazy.

Essentially, the whole story in The Big Lebowski is driven by The Dude's quest to get his rug back/replaced. How simple can it be? Yet this simple quest starts a chain of events precipitated by a convoluted web of interests and parties that none of the characters, or the audience could have predicted. And isn't that how life is? Even when doing the simplest task, circumstances you are unaware of are influencing you in subtle and not so subtle ways (see chaos theory).

At that very moment that I realized this, I was transformed. Life is complicated and unpredictable enough without us making it even more so. So just chill out and try your best to get your rug back, but don't be surprised is some crazy shit happens along the way.

The Big Lebowski as an anti-war film

Looking at the plethora of Hollywood's attempts to drive home the hackneyed "war is bad" theme, one would assume that it is impossible to find originality. The moviegoer imagines guns, bloodshed, and corpses when the genre is mentioned. To say that a comedy could describe the horrors of war seems ridiculous, yet that is exactly what the Coen brothers' film does. On the surface, The Big Lebowski seems to offer little more than (many) laughs, but it also takes a novel approach to the war movie genre.

Jeff Lebowski's character is the first symbol of the horrors of war. After losing his legs in battle, Lebowski goes on to financial and social success, yet his life is incomplete. He fills his life with trifles, from limousines to a trophy wife. Lebowski is insatiably greedy, setting The Dude up with the empty bag. One may even surmise that he is forced to occupy his time with work so as to avoid his horrific memories of war. His obsession with masculinity stemming from his years in the military run his life, as he asks The Dude, "what makes a man?" When he screams at The Dude, "the bums have lost," we get the impression that he sees everything as a battle of sorts. We also question whether or not "bums" have been defeated, since they never agreed to fight in the first place.

The battle in the Gulf is mimicked here by Jesus Quintana's delusional struggle to win the bowling tournament. The "pederast" pervert Jesus is portrayed as a goofy, flashy, belligerent man who, despite lack of opposition, sees fit to instigate quarrels with other bowlers.

When Donny dies at the end of the movie, the Coens are cleverly showing us that innocent people suffer the most from war. Donny is uninvolved in the action of the film, yet he dies of a heart attack during the final "battle" of the film.

Walter Sobchack is the best example of the ludicrousness and long-term affects of war. He is haunted by his experiences in Vietnam and tries to connect unrelated events to the conflict. This is because, since the war affected him so deeply, he rationalizes that it must have similarly affected all other events. As The Dude puts it, "he is living in the past." Also, when the two discuss pacifism, we see how obstinant Walter is. Like countless leaders, his rage blinds him, turning him into a bellicose, irrational human.

Finally, we learn at the end of the film that "a little Lebowski" is on his way, the child of The Dude and Maude. Thus, the Coens are telling us that an age of pacifism and easy living is upon us.

A more shrewd, sophisticated statement on war has yet to be made in film. Not only is the movie one of the funniest I've seen, but it is also artful and meaningful.

The Big Lebowski is, among other things, a homage to Raymond Chandler's 1939 novel The Big Sleep, which was itself adapted for the screen twice so far. Several characters in Lebowski also have their counterparts in The Big Sleep:

This is probably incomplete, please /msg me if you spot any additional characters.

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