The Big Lebowski Screen 5 articles

The Big Lebowski

1998

The Big Lebowski Poster
  • To be sure, The Big Lebowski is packed with show-offy filmmaking and as a result is pretty entertaining. But insofar as it represents a moral position... it's an elitist one, elevating salt-of-the-earth types like Bridges and Goodman (or Frances McDormand in Fargo, or Goodman in Barton Fink) over everyone else in the movie. In a universe populated mainly by geeks, characters who turn out to be human beings are apt to be rather touching, but it's an exclusive sort of privilege.

  • Dude, people love this movie—and with good reason. THE BIG LEBOWSKI is what so few modern comedies are: legitimately good. Between all the "dudes" and "fucks," it's easy to miss some of the underlying themes of the film; but beyond its oft-quoted dialogue and obsessive fan base, THE BIG LEBOWSKI is an LA noir for the modern age.

  • “Ambles” is the key word here. The weakness of The Big Lebowski—and the reason it does not deserve mention among the Coens’ best—is that it amounts to little more than a well-written shaggy dog story.

  • Soon after the Gulf War filled the airwaves with such Orwellian obscenities as “collateral damage,” the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, tuned into the martial mood and rummaged through political and personal history for the underpinnings of this Los Angeles caper, from 1998, sending up, with rueful astonishment, the American way of war.

  • It’s very funny, to be sure, but there’s something else going on here. For all its absurdist comedy, the film is defined by its melancholic, twilit atmosphere. Amid all the craziness, it’s a lament for the death of American idealism, at once one of the Coens’ wittiest and saddest films. It’s also a remarkably loose, alive work from two artists who have been known at times to go overboard with their precision.

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