The Big Lebowski is a favorite comedy for so many people because it speaks to everyone’s inner “Dude,” and it balances various forms of comedy – physical, verbal, visual, spiritual, existential – in a way that few other films have successfully pulled off. This was the last movie I think anyone would have expected from the Coen Brothers after they crafted their homespun crime thriller Fargo, and despite the fact that it wasn’t warmly received by theatrical audiences, most critics enjoyed it at the time despite some feeling perplexed by the endeavor. But over time, and because of the influence of DVD, stoner culture, and social media, The Big Lebowski has taken on an entirely new and different life of its own, and can be seen as so many things all at once.
It’s nearly pointless to rehash the uniformly excellent performances from the ridiculously stacked cast; Jeff Bridges has been brilliant so many times throughout his career but this is the film that he’ll be most remembered for. Roger Deakins’ work behind the camera on this film is spellbinding and dreamy, the laughs are nearly constant, John Goodman is outrageous, the soundtrack is impossibly great, and the amount of quotable lines and now-iconic scenes that this film contains is almost embarrassing. I can still vividly remember seeing this on opening night, and it’s one of those films that I’ve viewed so many times that it feels ingrained in my soul. I look forward to another thousand viewings in the future. Strong men also cry, POWER.
Review by Nick Clement