“Let me explain something to you. Um, I am not Mr. Lebowski. You’re Mr. Lebowski. I’m the Dude. So that’s what you call me” – Jeff ‘The Dude’ Lebowski
If there is a quote to start off explaining this movie, this would be it. For starters, it doesn’t make any sense. And it tells us that there’s a guy in the movie who prefers to be called by the name “ The Dude”. And that’s all what you’d need to keep in mind while watching the almost-nonsensical-yet-highly-lovable “The Big Lebowski” as it follows the (mis)adventures of Jeff Beck as the “The Dude” Lebowski on a mission to find reimbursement for his soiled living room carpet, due to a case of mistaken identity. If that doesn’t sound zany enough, add liberal doses of kidnapping rackets, double crossings, profanity and endless glasses of White Russians, courtesy the Coen Brothers.
The Dude Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) is your regular unemployed guy from Los Angeles who loves his pot and White Russians as much as he loves to bowl with his bowling buds, the highly volatile and pompous Walter (John Goodman), and the meek-mannered Donny (Steve Buscemi). The Dude’s life seemed to going all lazy and smooth until one fine afternoon, two goons mistaking him for another Lebowski, dunk his head down the toilet pot and urinate on his carpet. The other Lebowski in question happens to be a multi-millionaire invalid (David Huddlestone) whose young trophy wife Bunny( Tara Reid), has bad debts all over the city. Egged on by Walter, ‘The Dude’ arrives at the invalid Lebowski’s Pasadena mansion to extract compensation for his rug, only to be hired by the millionaire to help him in a ransom drop-off to get back his kidnapped wife. Pretty screwed up right?
Somehow Walter manages to botch up the drop-off, and ‘The Dude’ finds himself drawn into a sticky situation as he attempts to unravel the events. To make matters worse, the invalid Lebowski’s erotic artist daughter ( Julian Moore) and a gang of Russian mobsters add another angle to the already botched up story, leaving it up to The Dude to find the way out of all this mysterious business of the kidnapped trophy wife and the stolen ransom. No wonder he keeps drinking all those White Russians.
The beauty of the plot is that there is no plot. If you try using your brain through the movie, you’re going to have a bad time. The key is to sit back, relax and let the movie and its characters take over.
The movie is more of a highly enjoyable car ride than anything with shades of psychedelic, where the storyline takes a backseat to all the characters in the movie, who are in the driving seat. Jeff Beck’s role as ‘The Dude’ is legendary and has set the benchmark for a new genre of films that followed, classified as ‘Dude Flicks’. Quintessentially, The Big Lebowski is truly, the first Dude Movie to be ever made and perhaps, one of the finer specimens in the genre of ‘Buddy Films’. The rest of the characters just seem to build perfectly around ‘The Dude’ and add to the crazy, yet comical elements of the film.
Walter’s role as the typical American red-neck friend has reached immense popularity as a meme and even John Turturro’s cameo appearance as a highly perverted bowling competitor was written so colourfully by the Coen Brothers, that fans have clamoured for an entire new movie be made, based on that character. Backed by dialogues and a musical score that’s reached legendary status now, The Big Lebowski transforms a sketchy story of an unemployed LA pothead and his carpet, into one of the most enjoyable reel experiences.