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OK. 1 question; do you like anything the Coen brother's have done? If you don't, do yourself a favor and keep on moving because this is a truly Coen film; dark, loathing, sarcastic (and those are the good points).
Seriously, the Coen's, Joel and Ethan, are a strange pair. I, for one, love their movies, some more than others, but all are entertaining at the least.
This one is truly bizarre. Jeff Bridges IS "the dude". He has a name, but that doesn't matter, because he just wants to be "the dude". Unfortunately, he shares a name with a very wealthy man and gets caught up in a kidnapping, extortion, fraud, baby-making (just watch!), catch-the-guy-that-peed-on-my-carpet (yeah, just watch!), adventure.
All "the dude" does is bowl. His team consists of an overzealous, ex-military (but should still be in the military) Polish born Catholic who converted to Judaism (just watch!) played brilliantly by John Goodman, and a guy that suffers from, well, deafness, stupidity or amnesia (acted well by Steve Buscemi). They have a big match against a team led by a guy that calls himself Jesus, who talks about himself in the first person and I quote, "Don't f... with the Jesus", who is Hispanic but wants his name pronounced like the biblical GEE-zus (John Turturro manages to stand out in this role with only 2 or 3 scenes).
Unfortunately, when "the dude" is mistaken for a rich guy (you'd think the empty apartment would be a tip-off) someone pees on his carpet and he wants to be paid for the damages. It's all downhill from there.
Here, I'll sum it up: Saddam Hussein (obviously pre-GW Bush) works at the shoe counter in a bowling alley in a dream sequence, backdropped by The First Edition's classic "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)"; it's like a bad acid-trip gone terribly RIGHT, somewhat disturbing and utterly hilarious.
One very serious caveat, the movie is rated R for many reasons. There are probably more 4 letter words than other words in this film, somehow a porno director gets involved in the plot with ubiquitous porn-stars, and, let's just say that "the dude" got to be "the dude" by smoking some stuff that ain't legal and drinking more than any one man should; white russians, which he prefers to call "caucasians", political correctness after all that, WOW!!!
Anyway, if you like the Coen's, I would say particularly, "The Hudsucker Proxy" (1 of my top 5 all time movies) or "Raising Arizona", this is probably right up your alley; sorry, bad pun.
Features Acotrs: Jeff Bridges, Tara Reid, David Huddleston, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, John Goodman, Jon Polito & Ben Gazzara.
Running Time: 118 Min.
Jeff Lebowski, played by Jeff Bridges in a manner no one else could ever possibly match, is a stoner layabout who is one day mistaken for a different Jeff Lebowski (David Huddleston). The Big Lebowski, as opposed to the Dude, is a wealthy man who does a lot of great community service but who also has a young trophy wife (Tara Reid) who has run up quite a load of debt with unsavory people. It's the collection of one of these debts that sends a couple of thugs to the Dude's house, thinking he's the other Lebowski, and one of them even relieves himself on Dude's rug before realizing their mistake. It's a shame, too, because that rug really tied the room together.
Spurred on by his friend Walter (John Goodman), a member of the Dude's bowling team and a Vietnam Vet with issues, the Dude goes to the Big Lebowski seeking compensation. Though all he wants is a new rug, he ends up being part of a greater mystery. Mrs. Lebowski gets herself kidnapped, and the Dude is asked to be the bagman for the ransom. In the course of his chiba-rattled efforts to fulfill his duties, the Dude will run afoul of a gang of nihilists, a pornographer (Ben Gazzara), Lebowski's daughter from his first marriage (Julianne Moore), and even a private detective (Jon Polito) sent to find Bunny Lebowski for completely different reasons. Amidst all this, the Dude will endure beatings, spilled beverages, and constant interruptions to his bowling game. The latter is a tragedy of the highest order, as the Dude and Walter are in a trio with their pal Donny (Steve Buscemi) and are about to enter into the league finals. Coen-regular Jon Turturro makes perhaps the most memorable of the many memorable cameos in the movie playing Jesus, the divinely named sex-offender bowling fetishist who constantly promises to do various unsavory things to the boys on the lanes.
The Big Lebowski could just be a ridiculously entertaining movie that never stops surprising and certainly never gets boring. It's as mindless as is it is mind bending, a movie for whatever your mood. You just have to pop it in and let the Dude abide.Hope this helps you decide.Thanks for reading! :)