Is it just you, or does it seem like the world has been acting really weird for the last 14 years? Maybe you just got a new rug and don’t understand why everyone cracks up at how it “ties the room together.” Maybe you’re not sure why people call your ferret a “marmot.” Or maybe it seemed strange that your friend decided to announce his renewed faith with “Nobody fucks with the Jesus.”
No, you’re not crazy. You just have a severe case of never having seen The Big Lebowski. Your secret is safe with us, and we’re sure your excuse is valid.
(even though that would make you the world’s worst nihilist).
But like it or not, The Big Lebowski became part of this generation’s cultural canon without you.
We’re here to help, our Little Lebowski Urban Achievers.
Just keep these simple tips in mind when breaking your Lebowski cherry and your friends will never know the difference:
1) There are a lot of characters, but these are the only names you need to remember:
Jeff Bridges as Lebowski, aka The Dude. But he is not the “big Lebowski” in question: “I’m not Mr. Lebowski. You’re Mr. Lebowski. I’m the Dude. So that’s what you call me.” John Goodman as Walter Sobchak, a Vietnam vet with exactly two moods: calmer than you are and ready to shoot anyone who cheats at bowling. Steve Buscemi as Donny, a well-meaning member of Walter and Dude’s bowling team who innocently wanders into conversations and offers totally irrelevant, out of context wisdom, which almost always followed by “Shut the fuck up, Donny.”
2) The plot is impossible to understand.
And that’s okay. The plot of The Big Lebowski and what it’s about are totally unrelated. There’s a Raymond Chandler-esque combination of a pissed-on rug, a kidnapped trophy wife, a porn star-nihilist conspiracy and bribery. But what it’s about is the hilariousness of people who don’t know when they’re out of their depth.
3) Be careful.You’ll never be able to watch another movie with any of the actors again, no matter how different or serious, without cracking up.
Bridges, Goodman, Buscemi and John Tuturro are some of the best actors of their generation. But they will, now and forever, be defined by their roles in this movie. Bridges, in particular. Tron: Legacy wasn’t supposed to be funny, but c’mon, he’s the Dude!
4) Remember that this is the Coen Brothers.
There’s more going on here than meets the eye. And also remember that you don’t need to care.
Strange as it may seem, The Big Lebowski is essentially a Western, right down to the tumbleweed in the intro. On top of that, there’s talk of nihilism, Nazism, Leninism, feminism, pornography, and class warfare. Doesn’t make sense? Doesn’t have to, the Coens know what they’re doing. The symbolism and allegory is all there, but the point is to make you laugh. Enjoy the ride. Rest easy knowing that you’re in good hands.
Now roll a joint, mix a White Russian, and pay your rent late, and you’re ready to experience The Big Lebowski like a pro.
THE BIG LEBOWSKI
RATED | R
PLAYING | MONDAY 8.13.12
THE COOLIDGE CORNER THEATRE
290 HARVARD ST.