The Dude Abides

Ginny and I watched The Big Lebowski again last night.  The case of mistaken identity, the “big” Lebowski for “The Dude” Lebowski, just gets funnier with time.

It was Joel and Ethan Coens’ follow-up to Fargo. As has been mentioned here before, the Coens may or may not have come up with the idea for a bowling movie in Grand Forks while shooting part of Fargo outside of Grafton and Park River. Supposedly, the Fargo cast and crew went bowling one night in Grand Forks. The rest would be movie history.

When The Big Lebowski came out in 1998 it was greeted with little public enthusiasm. One of the stars, Julianne Moore, calls it something of a “thud.” Years later, of course, it has become a cult favorite. Books have been written about it, conventions are held surrounding it.

For my money, it’s the casting that makes The Big Lebowski big, beginning with Jeff Bridges. I can’t recall anything he’s ever done badly. (We watched Crazy Heart just the other night, too.) Then there’s John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Tara Reid, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ben Gazzara and Sam Elliot. Hard to go too far wrong.

The tenth anniversary edition DVD contains an entire disk and a half full of extras nearly as funny as the movie itself.

I’ve been a fan of the Coen brothers, who came out of Minnesota, since their first film, Blood Simple, in 1984. But it’s their comedies that put me away.