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003797Reviews & Counting
The Big Lebowski (SE)
DVD disk
09.16.2008 By: Jason Adams
The Big Lebowski (SE) order
The Coen Bros.

Jeff Bridges
John Goodman
Julianne Moore


star Printer-Friendly version
The Dude is an aging stoner who spends his days bowling with his friends, loose canon Walter and quiet Donny. But when two men bust in to his house demanding money and abruptly pee on his rug, the Dude finds himself caught amidst a complex web of wealthy socialites, German nihilists, pornographers and even a pederast or two.
Iím sure Iím not alone here. Based on the Coenís previous effort FARGO, I watched THE BIG LEBOWSKI the day it opened in theaters and thought it was hilarious and something truly specialóbut I was the only one apparently. Everyone else in the theater, my friends included, were obviously let down by the abrupt shift from FARGO and just didnít ďget it.Ē Being both a teenager and a firm believer in peer pressure, I too pretended not to be blown away. But the seed merely lay dormant as I secretly quoted lines and idolized the Dude from afar.

This is why Iím ecstatic that a decade later THE BIG LEBOWSKI has grown beloved enough to warrant this DVD. I canít think of a more deserving cult film, one that lends itself to rewatching with such ease, quoting with such joy, or characters so highly regarded (ironically as that may sound). And while that would make it enjoyable enough to recommend, itís the other things big and small that make the Coenís comedic gem stand out so much. One is the plot; you could watch this once or twice (I know I did) without realizing that at its core, the filmis a detective story in the vein of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammetófull of mistaken identity, intricate kidnapping plots, wealthy elite, and even murder. The only difference is itís populated by an aging pothead, a Vietnam vet, German Nihilists, avant garde artists and bowlers. Itís that clash of style and substance that leads to unforgettable scenes like The Dude thinking heís about to uncover an important clue on Jackie Treehornís telephone notepad, when it ends up being a painstakingly drawn penis. Comedy gold.

But the plot is really not as important as the characters the Coenís weave in to the story, everyone from Phillip Seymour Hoffmanís barely there Brandt to The Dude himself. I know the Academy tends to frown on comedies, but Bridges was surely robbed of some awards nomination. His dude is an iconic character in cinema and its easy to forget that Jeff Bridges is playing the burnt out loser with an almost Buddhist theology. Pretty much everyone else turns in defining supporting work; John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore, and especially John Turturro. Thanks to them, the movie is able to be about absolutely nothing and oh so much at the same time. Thereís no better example of that then Sam Elliottís the Strangeróa straight laced cowboy transplanted directly from the old west. What the hell is his character doing in the movie, let alone narrating it? I have no idea, but itís damn perfect and I couldnít imagine things without him. I guess the same could be said for the movie itself.
My previous DVD, which is all but worn out, was a bare bones affair, so this new double disc extras-packed set is a welcome treatómaybe one of the only instances where I would actually double dip myself. And for the true Lebowski Urban Achieveres, thereís also a Limited Edition set that comes housed in a bowling ball. (NatchÖ)

Exclusive Introduction (4:42): Some old guy from Forever Films Preservation gives a tongue in cheek intro to the restored film THE GRAND LEBOWSKI in the Coenís usual style of humor.

The Dudeís Life: The cast and Coens discuss the ideology of the Dude (a ďZen masterĒ) and each of the other characters. Usually these kind of things are pointless, but in this case I love the bizarreness of the characters so much and itís neat to hear the actorís take on it. Best of all is Turturro trying to explain Jesus Quintana.

The Dude Abides: A look at the making of the film by the cast ten years later, as well as their take on the insane cult following it now has. (Deservedly.)

Making of THE BIG LEBOWSKI (24:36): Itís nice to hear from the Coen Bros. so much. Itís fun hearing them talk about the creation of the story, and combined with the castís comments s well, itís a great inside look for fans.

The Lebowski Fest (13:55): One year I will make it out to this. Here you get a first hand look at the creation and history of the annual festival in Kentucky. Our own man Johnny Moreno went this year and had such a good time he remembers nothing.

Flying Carpets and Bowling Pin Dreams (4:20): A look at the awesome dream sequences that boasted such creativity and great visuals. Jeff Bridges tells a great story about the Dude flying between the girlsí legs and encountering a ďjungle of pubic hair.Ē Niiiiice.

Interactive Map: Click on a scene and itíll show you exactly where you can find it and give you a behind the scenes look at the production.

Jeff Bridges Photo Book (17:30): Bridges likes to use his personal Widelux camera to snap photos behind the scenes and here he takes you through each picture with an explanation. A cool and unique feature.

Production Notes, a Photo Gallery and Trailer.
One of my favorite movies and maybe one of the best modern comedies. If you were turned off by THE BIG LEBOWSKI after a single, post-FARGO viewing, I implore you to give it another watch (or three). It fits perfectly within the Coen Bros.í already impeccable catalog. This new Anniversary Edition DVD is great for fans, but best of all itís also cheap, which eases the pain of double dipping just a bit.

Extra Tidbit: The movie is known as MARIJUANA MAN in Italy.
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