Saturday, February 28, 2009

2/17/09: The Big Lebowski (1998)

A beautiful Three Stooges comedy about bowling, ransom, Judaism, marijuana and a urine-stained carpet. Given how much I've always loved Fargo, it's amazing that I've never seen the Coen Brothers' cult-favorite follow-up to their 1996 crime caper. Better late than never. Jeff Bridges is a delight as The Dude, an unemployed stoner who gets himself entangled in a kidnapping story with a mistaken-identity twist, with gun-toting sidekick John Goodman along to add zaniness to an already lunatic plot. This is vintage Coen, a comedy with a dangerous and uncomfortable edge; like their best work, it's utterly littered with oddball characters—Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tara Reid, John Turturro, Sam Elliott, Julianne Moore and the always engaging David Huddleston—that give the story its unique flavor. Alternately lyrical and surreal, Lebowski is a film I'll be very curious to watch a second time, to try to fit some of the random pieces together (such as the running joke about the Eagles and the hilariously goofball dream sequences). Rating: 5/5.

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