Top 50 - #9 - The Big Lebowski

I have a confession to make: the first time I saw the Big Lebowski, I was underwhelmed. I liked it, sure, but I thought it was aimless and meandering, and most importantly, I didn't think it was all that funny. Maybe I was in the wrong mood for it that first time, but maybe - and this is in fact what I think is more probable - this film is an acquired taste. It needs to grow on you. Because the second time, you stop looking for a story, and you can just sit back and enjoy its unique atmosphere and brand of humor.

It's telling that I couldn't, in my hint, think of anything that wasn't obvious. I picked nihilists, a cut off toe, and bowling, but I could just has well have mentioned a rug that really tied the room together, or white Russians, or even just mentioned that it was not about just a dude, but about THE dude. There isn't a single part of this film that you can quote without it being clear immediately which film you're referring too. It's telling that Veronica Mars made a habit of referring to it for quite a few episodes in a row and never had to repeat one. Careful, man, there's a beverage here!

The Big Lebowski didn't just grow on me, it also became funnier every time I watched it, which is more times than I can count by now. And while it's profane - as you can see in the clip below - it's also the film by the Coen brothers with the most heart. However - just to build up the suspense, it's not my favorite of theirs, and one more will appear on this list further up.

Just remember: the Dude abides.

Nex up: #8, about a man looking for something in the desert.

1 comment:

cjKennedy said...

I have to confess, as a massive Coen fan, I was also a little disappointed the first time I saw Big Lebowski. I laughed, I laughed quite a bit in fact but it suffered under the weight of my own expectations.

I went to the last screening opening night in West Hollywood and I still remember driving back to the Valley of Laurel Canyon Boulevard feeling underwhelmed.

It wasn't as funny as Raising Arizona, my first Coen film and still favorite sentimentally and it didn't seem as rich as their previous and most famous movie Fargo.

And yet it has grown on me every time I've seen it. Now I don't even have to watch it, I can just think about it and it makes me laugh (I'm thinking of The Stranger's opening narration right now and smiling).

Great stuff. Glad to see it on your list.