The Big Lebowski: Collector’s Edition

DVD Reviews | Nov 6th, 2005

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Starring Jeff Bridges, Steve Buscemi, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, John Turturro, David Huddleston, Jack Kehler, Mark Pellegrino, Tara Reid, Peter Stormare
Written By: Coen Brothers
Directed By: Coen Brothers
Studio: Universal
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I only saw the Big Lebowski for the first time two years ago and didn’t know what to think of it. I just kept watching it, laughing and saying to myself, “this movie is freakin’ weird.” This film has become a cult classic and the more viewings you see of it, the more enjoyable it gets.

The film takes place in LA and is about a bowler named The Dude (Jeff Bridges), the king of all slackers. He’s unemployed, smokes a lot of weed, bowls all the time with his friends Walter (John Goodman) and Donny (Steve Buscemi). One night two gangster mistakenly break into his house, because they think he’s some millionaire with the same name. Obviously they have the wrong man but they end up taking a leak on his rug and dunking the Dude’s head in the toilet. The Dude insists he goes to the real Jeffrey Lebowski, known as the Big Lebowski and demand from him, that he pay for the pee-filled rug. The Dude somehow gets caught up in a missing wife plot and a bunch of weird crap starts happening to him. Like encountering German porn stars, a purple clothing wearing bowler named Jesus, a guardian angel Cowboy, an erotic artist who likes to fly in the air and paint, and some weird guy who giggles at everything he hears. You really can’t think too much when watching this because you’ll lose your mind.

I didn’t care for the movie the first time around. I thought it was a weird acid trip of a movie with no real plot, but I like the movie a lot more now. Perhaps the plot isn’t so complex because it really doesn’t have to be. The hilarious scenes and dialogue just happen and aren’t forced. Believe it or not, It’s only the second time I’ve seen the film. It gets better with each viewing that’s for sure. You pick up on new things/lines you missed and it makes the film funnier or better. I still think the weird dream sequence are WAY OUT THERE, but I can watch them now and not get weirded out by them. What works in the movie is the chemistry between Jeff Bridges and John Goodman, and even Steve Buscemi who has very little to say in the movie. Well that’s not really his fault, because John Goodman’s character tells him to shut the fuck up every time. But that’s one of the funniest gags throughout the whole movie.

I’m not really sure why so many people like this movie, and why it has a cult following. It’s a funny, dry, dark comedy but I can’t figure why people like it so much. Maybe it’s the funny characters, and absurd plot, or maybe people developed a drinking game from the movie. Every time The Dude says “man” take a drink. People will be shitfaced within the first 5 minutes. I think this movie has Cheech & Chong beat, with using the word “man” the most in any movie. But I guess the biggest reason why the movie works is the acting of Jeff Bridges. He really looks like a schlub and plays the part to a T. I can’t see anyone else playing the Dude besides Jeff Bridges. He MADE the movie for what it is but the supporting characters and writing have something to do with it too.

The DVD extras could have been better, since this is a Collector’s Edition n’ all. There’s some introduction to the movie where some old guy is talking, so I fast forwarded that. I’m sure it was funny but I just wanted to get to the movie. There’s some interesting photos taken from the set by Jeff Bridges. There’s little notes about each photo and I liked seeing those. The main extra is a half hour featurette about the making of the movie, with interviews with the Coen Brothers, Jeff Bridges and John Goodman. I’m pretty sure this is the same documentary that was on the previous DVD for the Big Lebowski. The extras could have been a lot better that’s for sure.

The movie takes a few viewings for it to sink it; but once you see it a few times, you’ll appreciate it. I’ve seen the movie twice nice and liked it a lot better the second time. It’s still weird but weird is good. The movie is digitally remastered so the film looks great on DVD and worth buying if you don’t already own this. If you already have the movie on DVD, I would say don’t bother with this.

An exclusive introduction featuring Mortimer Young, a practitioner of “non-uptight” film preservation. His restoration of the famous “toe scene,” presented here, will blow your mind.
Never-Before Available Images, photographed by Jeff Bridges, from the set of the film.
Making-Of The Big Lebowski, including interviews with the Coen Brothers
Production Notes

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
SPANISH: Dolby Digital Stereo
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1

Widescreen 1.85:1 Color (Anamorphic)

English, Spanish, French

Favorite Scenes: The introduction to Jesus, Smashing Larry’s car, Donny’s Ashes scene
Rating: R
Running Time: 98 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: