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The Big Lebowski (1998)
After the unemployed Jeffrey Lebowski, AKA 'The Dude', is mistaken for 'The Big Lebowski', AKA 'the millionaire', he becomes unwillingly involved in a hullabaloo mystery of mischief and mayhem with red herrings and missing cash appearing all over Los Angeles. Meanwhile his overtly angry sidekick Walter complicates matters with his Vietnam Vet. Experience and The Dude does his best to solve the mystery behind The Big Lebowski's missing million dollars and trophy wife.
Written by: Ethan Coen and Joel Coen. Directed by: Joel Coen.
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Mystery.
Tagline: "I go by The Dude, but you can call me Sir Dude, Your Royal Dudeness, or Duderino, whatever…"
Rated: R for pervasive language, sexual references, drug content, and brief violence.
Jeffrey Lebowski, AKA 'The Dude' (Jeff Bridges), is a run-down, unemployed, happy-go-lucky fish out of water. Dedicating his time to a local bowling with fellow teammates Donny (Steve Buscemi) and Walter (John Goodman), the three set about to prepare for their upcoming match against the 'pseudo Mexican' pedophile Jesus; “pronounce Gee-sus”. The last thing The Dude needs is a major distraction because that would be like a major bummer dude.
As fate would have it The Dude happens to have the same birth name as millionaire Jeffrey Lebowski, 'The Big Lebowski' (David Huddleston). After a pair of crooks break and enter into The Dude's home and harass him for his money, they dimwits put two and two together and realize they have the wrong guy and in ambivalent flippancy one of the antagonists pees on The Dude's favorite rug, 'the one that really held the room together man'.
Seeking compensation for his beloved house adornment The Dude heads to The Big Lebowski's big mansion whereby he meets a pettish personal assistant Brandt (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who introduces The Dude to his headmaster; the cantankerous and overly proud paraplegic Jeffrey Lebowski. Coldly turned away, The Dude heads home with The Big Lebowski's favorite Persian rug, which he sneaks past Brandt on his way out. But no sooner does The Dude redecorate his apartment with his new rug than another group of mysterious villains break and enter his home and steal his new rug. The travesty is followed by several urgent messages from Brandt requesting The Dude's service on behalf of The Big Lebowski.
The Dude quickly learns of The Big Lebowski's trophy wife and her sudden disappearance which has been followed up with a ransom note requesting a million dollars. Begging The Dude to be the courier, The Big Lebowski promises The Dude a hefty $20,000 for his efforts. Enter Walter whose psychotic anger problems and incessant need to convert everything into a dramatic Vietnam moment only help to screw up the assignment. Meanwhile The Big Lebowski's estranged daughter, ultra-eccentic, super-stoic feminist artist Maude (Julianne Moore) enters the picture explaining that her sidekicks helped her steal back the rug, which was rightfully hers and therefore not a gift her father could properly give away. She then lets The Dude in on the prospect that her father’s trophy wife Bunny is probably staging her disappearance in search of a few extra dollars since neither Bunny nor The Big Lebowski actually have any money despite their pretence. In actuality the money was left to Maude who graciously allows a generous allowance for the two self-absorbed ingrates to enjoy on a monthly basis.
But Maude is angry because her father has unethically withdrawn the one million dollars in ransom money from the Lebowski charity fund which is donated to needy children. Maude now wants The Dude to work another angle, trying to recover the million dollars she thinks the 'fake ransom villains' have. Promising a gracious 10% return she entrusts the Dude to return the money. What Maude doesn’t know however is that The Dude was being followed the night of the drop off and after Walter decided to keep the million dollars, the briefcase along with The Dude's car was stolen out in front of their local bowling alley.
As The Dude tries to work two angles he receives one intrusion to the next and his poor house is left in shambles by the end of his helpless attempts to solve the mystery. Intent that Bunny is setting herself up The Dude becomes extremely confused as a bandit gang of Germans and a pornography director by the name of Jackie Treehorn further work their way into the mysterious case. Guzzling his white 'caucasians' as fast as he can to keep himself 'nimble and ready for action' The Dude finds himself getting nowhere. Meanwhile Walter schemes to retrieve the money and Jesus antagonizes the boys down at the alley.
The climax works up to a hilarious series of ironies that connect each character to the next in a series of ridiculously hyperbolic situations where dramatically ironic fates lay in waiting for the characters involved. The Coen brothers manage to make tragedy hilarious and the film will have you busting your gut down to the very last line. "The Big Lebowski" wraps herself up nice and tight with the help of an uncanny and out of place Western narrator who reveals all the loose ends to the story over a nice bottle of Sarsaparilla.
The Coen brothers have written a script that is down right ingenious and hilarious. This comedy is original, funny, and so attentive to parodying the most generic of Hollywood stereotypes. From the over-exaggerated hippy that refuses to grow out of his childhood ideals to the overtly angry Vietnam Vet to the cantankerous millionaire, the Coen brothers paint characters with so much breadth and color that their contrast against one another is a comic spectacle to observe. Goodman absolutely devours his role and BUscemi slides right through in his typical atypical role of the 'sociable yet nerdy' guy. Bridges is an absolute treat as he inhales, jives, and 'dudes' his way through the film. 'The Big Lebowski' is definitely adult entertainment, pardon the pun, and its witty one-liners will have you recollecting the hilarious comedy for quite some time after its over.
Jeff Bridges plays Jeffey Lebowski- The Dude, who is mistaken for the alleged millionaire Lebowski, and whose ambivalent identity winds him up in a hullabaloo of mayhem that provokes one punishment to the next to his humble abode.
John Goodman plays Walter Sobchak, the over testy, testosterone filled, Vietnam Vet whose attempts to be The Dude's sidekick in his latest snafu proves to be more harmful than helpful.
Steve Buscemi plays Theodore Donald, the scapegoat odd-ball third man out of the awkward bowling trio; the Dude, Walter, and Donny.
Julianne Moore plays Maude Lebowski, the eccentric feminist artist and estranged daughter of the detestable millionaire Jeffrey Lebowski who becomes involved in the Dude's cases in more ways than one.
David Huddleston plays Jeffrey Lebowski-The Big Lebowski, former millionaire turned fraudulent paraplegic whose trophy wife is taken for ransom and thus he employs the Dude to get her back, or so the story goes…
Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Brandt, The Big Lebowski's stiff-collared brown-nosing peevish servant who plays the fragile advocate for his master's personal affairs.