“Yo! Look who it is on Film Four…”
“That rug really tied the room together, did it not?”
“Oh, not The Dude again, you just watched that on tape the other week. You always get affected by watching it for a whole week. I can’t handle any more White Russian sessions.”
“Dude! The Chinaman is not the issue here ok… Oh! Also, Dude Chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature…”
Wondering what to watch as we start to think about venturing out on adventures again? Well tonight we’re exploring a cult classic that has inspired its own yearly festival… and even its own religion.
We could all harness a little of The Tao of the Dude at the moment as we head back out into the wider world and wonder whether all the weirdness is us or other people?
Why worry? Take a sip of your favourite tipple (White Russians optional) and let it all wash over you. The Universe will provide plentiful opportunities and more magic rugs to ride.
I meditate most often with this movie. Meaning, I must have seen it more than 50 times and can have it on in the corner of the room whilst working on something, or watch it intently and find something new to enjoy every time.
A hidden inference in the dialogue or some minute visual detail that the Coen Brothers have planted for repeat viewings.
This flick has become one of the biggest cult classics and often divides people between the quote-happy obsessives and their new inductees to the film who say they ‘just don’t get it!?’
The Big Lebowski was not well received upon initial release. Garnering mixed reviews and largely unnoticed at its Sundance Film festival première in 1998.
Made by the Coen Brothers in their prime, bouncing straight off the success of Fargo, perhaps many movie goers at the time were expecting something more serious.
Viewers who like to pick holes in it, will point to the many underdeveloped characters and the complex and inconsequential plot… “Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”
This story is also grounded in discovering your own path among the many mixed philosophies people follow in life, from Commercialism to Nihilism, even as far as National Socialism: “say what you want about the Tenets of National Socialism Dude, at least it’s an ethos.”
This movie slips snugly (wearing a dressing gown and yoga pants) into the Slacker genre. Movies about a hero, who doesn’t try, who doesn’t want to try and still manages to save the day.
The Dude is a master of reinvention, if something goes wrong, he just goes with the flow. Pulled from one limousine and hurled into another for further questioning at the hands of his tormentors. He remains unfazed.
A life lesson to take from The Dude is his nonchalance in the face of egregious actions. He is repeatedly beaten, water-boarded, cheated and insulted.
His precious rug is pissed on and his car set ablaze all because of a case of mistaken identity. He is coldly seduced by a female artist who wants his sperm only for the outcome of her ‘natural zesty enterprise.’
El Duderino is promised riches, only to have it swapped for phone books and dirty undies. Amidst the craziness he heals himself with a toke in a warm bath. Like a bowling Buddha, he stays focussed on the big picture.
Our hero has left politics in the rear view of his Gran Torino and exists only to bowl and keep a buzz on. He is never actually drunk in the movie… but streets away from sober.
Dream sequences feature heavily in the film, tying many of the visual motifs together. From the somnambulist stars over the lanes to the Kraftwerk Autobahn album cover tribute.
Culminating with the giant pins and Viking Vixen dancing girls in the stupendous Gutterballs musical interlude where The Dude fantasises about Maude.
There is a dazzling variety of memorable supporting performances; including Philip Seymour Hoffman as the millionaire’s lackey, John Turturro as The Jesus – a paedophile bowler, John Goodman as vitriolic Vietnam veteran Walter Sobchak and their meek sidekick Donny played with superb subtlety by Steve Buscemi.
Worthy of an honourable mention is a little known Scouse character in the film. A video artist called Knox Harrington, played by Blackpool-born David Thewlis who is a joy to behold.
Especially as he winds The Dude up while he’s being interrogated by Maude.
So sit back and get in touch with your inner Dude. Need us to hook you up with a copy of The Big Lebowski on VHS? We have a mountain of tapes and VCRs and can deliver Nostalgia SOS packs, with a player and 10 tapes featuring your fave actors.
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