Posted in Wednesday Warriors

The Big Lebowski

Mistaken identity. Urination on a rug. Plot negligible. Hadn’t the title given it away, a fan would have certainly picked up on the cues. I’m talking about Jeff Bridges as Jeff Lebowski who references himself in the third person as The Dude. He has a problem with a soiled rug, bowls with fascinating people, and meets a richer version of himself.

Jeff Bridges as The Dude
Jeff Bridges as The Dude

Every so often, a movie comes out to blow away audience expectation of what a film should deliver. The Big Lebowski is a cult classic because of its ability to go beyond expectation. For today’s Wednesday Warriors, Jeff Lebowski takes center stage as The Dude who falls into a plot to pay a ransom for a kidnapped heiress.

Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Julianne Moore, Tara Reid, Sam Elliott and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman make the cast to this offbeat film a treat to watch.

Before continuing, this 1998 Coen brothers movie possesses very little plot. Other than The Dude’s penchant for wanting compensation for a stained rug, and his cravings for White Russians, he doesn’t have a job, no prospects for employment and he carries on as a 1990’s hippie. But you know what? It works.

If I were to summarize the movie in a quick one-sentence review, I would say this: It’s about a bunch of guys talking about life and hanging out. If anyone’s attempting to find meaning in the film, there isn’t any. It’s simply about guys doing what they do best—being guys.

The Big Lebowski
Jeff Bridges, Steve Buscemi and John Goodman in The Big Lebowski

However, that isn’t to say I haven’t found meaning in the movie. To me, The Dude represents someone who has figured things out. He knows himself well and understands his limitations. He has a way of communicating that, although others may find annoying, given he’s too laidback for his own good, brings everyone he speaks to into his world.

As many times as The Dude finds himself bound, kidnapped, drugged and lost, he always maintains a strong presence in his relationships with his friends. He may lose his mind every now and then, but he knows who his friends are. He never loses sight of those people who matter to him.

I enjoy watching The Dude react to every changing situation, whether it’s from a terrible bowling score or a car wasted on a bad bet. In all of The Dude’s dealings, he keeps one thing in mind—he keeps it real.

Jeff (The Dude) Lebowski is Wednesday Warriors’ down-to-earth character spotlight.

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Have you seen The Big Lebowski? What do you think of Jeff Bridge’s interpretation of The Dude?

Author:

Jack Flacco is an author and the founder of Looking to God Ministries, an organization dedicated to spreading the Word of God through outreach programs, literature and preaching.

18 thoughts on “The Big Lebowski

  1. Oh, you just hit on one of my favorites of all time, Jack. I love that scene where he’s driving his beater car, smoking a J and drinking a beer, and he throws the burning roach out the window but the window is closed so it falls on him. He flails about, douses it with his beer, and crashes. It’s about the only time you see him flustered, and it’s so the Dude. Thanks for brightening my day with the Dude here.

  2. You can tell the quality of a film by how you can keep quoting from it. ‘The Dude abides,’ ‘This is what happens Larry, this is what happens when you…’ (I’ll keep it clean), ‘You obviouslyy don’t play golf,’ ‘We’ll come back and cut off your johnson,’

    It’s a classic, one of my top five films, and whilst I’d say it has a complex plot, it is still character driven. The Dude is one of the great movie icons and Jeff Bridges delivers the performance of a lifetime.

    Chris

    1. That’s the thing: Critics have said it doesn’t really have a plot other than the soiled rug. I’m of the opinion the growth of the people are the plot. But I think you’re right, it is totally character driven with Jeff Bridges delivering a performance to love!

      1. I’ve heard it began life as a reimagining of The Big Sleep. But, even if you don’t count that as “plot,” the rug and the character development certainly qualifies; more plot than a typical Seinfeld or Friends, at least…

  3. I’ve always adored this movie, even though it took me two years to find out how it ended. The Dude and the saga of his rug have always struck me as amazing; especially because how plain “real” the character are. You might not think a pack of Nihilist techno musicians, a nympho, a crusty old rich guy and a crazy Vietnam vet who pulls leather at a bowling match would be real, but they somehow just are. You can believe that at some point in your life you might well meet these people… and I for one would be very glad to have The Dude around to catch my back if I ever did.

    Plus, The Stranger. Have to love him, and his crazy narration. XD

    1. The Stranger and the crazy Vietnam vet are incredible characters to watch. I’ve watched and rewatched this film always picking up something different from the experience!

      1. There’s a lot of random details in that movie that really take multiple viewings to catch. Plus there’s all the unexplained things that leave you wondering about them even once the movie is over. (Like whether the “real” briefcase actually had any money in it, or if it was a ringer, too. Which Walter and the Dude assume… But Walter also thinks the Big Lebowski can walk, and that didn’t end well…) XD

      2. I also thought about the briefcase, Kaine, and it was reminiscent of Pulp Fiction where we’re not sure, but we make it out to be what we think it ought to be. Which reminds me to watch Pulp Fiction for the upteenth time!

      3. Can’t go wrong with Pulp Fiction, either. XD Though now I’m picturing what would happen in Walter’s “ringer” was swapped with Marcellus’ briefcase.
        Makes Tim Roth’s dialogue when Julius opens it even funnier, in my head. XD

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