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.


You know what happens...

...when there's a DVD shop about to close and they sell all their DVD's for 5 euro?

This happens:

- They Drive by Night (Walsh, 1940)
- My Man Godfrey (La Cava, 1936)
- De Battre mon Coeur s'est ArrĂȘtĂ© (Audiard, 2005)
- Dirty Pretty Things (Frears, 2002)
- Adaptation (Jonze, 2002)

Top 50 - #10 - The Princess Bride

Is this a kissing book?

Yes, yes it is, a tale of true wuv, but it's so much more too. Yet I have a lot of trouble saying anything about it except that I cannot watch any part of it without immediately getting a huge grin on my face. Watching the whole movie means jaw cramps the next morning. Shall I try, anyway?

As you wish.

Half the time when I mention this movie, people think I'm talking about the Princess diaries. No, people, no! That doesn't have fencing and the dread pirate Roberts and R.O.U.S.es. That couldn't leave a little boy asking for more.

Grandpa: She doesn't get eaten by the eels at this time
The Grandson
: What?
: The eel doesn't get her. I'm explaining to to because you look nervous.
The Grandson: I wasn't nervous. Maybe I was a little bit "concerned" but that's not the same thing.

Maybe the best thing I can say about this movie is that I cannot pick a favorite part, not even a favorite character. I love the chemistry between Buttercup and Westley, but who can resist Wallace Shawn's "in-con-ceivable", or Fezzik, who's the prototypical brute but at the same time doesn't want his opponents to die embarrassed? Humperdinck and his six-fingered henchmen are wonderful, and then, off course:

Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

Inigo makes sure this movie isn't just all laughs and lightness: his pain for the loss of his father is real and as such grounds the movie just enough to make sure we keep caring. Through the whole movie, bubbly as it is, there is a cynical strain that you wouldn't quite expect. Consider what Westley says:

Life is pain, highness. Everyone who says differently is selling something.

Most movies have a certain demographic. I don't take my mom to see Kill Bill, nor my dad to see a romantic comedy, nor my little brother or sister to an obscure arthouse classic. This film, however, truly has something for everyone, and though I know there are people out there who don't like it, I'm just gonna go ahead and ignore their existence.

The Grandson: Grandpa, maybe you could come over and read it again to me tomorrow.
Grandpa: As you wish.

Next up: #9, featuring nihilists, cut-off toes, and bowling.


Belle de Jour

My review (in Dutch, alas) IS up at filmtotaal.nl now.