Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Movies I Like #3: The Big Lebowski

This episode of "Movies I Like" is bought to you by the LAMB Movie of The Month, a new feature over at the LAMB. Read this post to learn more. And later on this month, I'll either update this post, or make a new post, with a link to all the other LAMB's reviews of this movie. And I can't wait to read everyone elses thoughts and reviews about this movie.

If you think about it, "The Big Lebowski" is pretty much "Seinfeld: The Movie".

Really. Stay with me on this.

The Dude is like Jerry, if Jerry was a stoned slacker. Trouble just seems to find him and is surrounded by weird wild crazy ass people and seems to get himself deeper and deeper into situations.

Walter is kinda like Kramer. Kramer was all big about following the rules. Like remember the episode where Kramer was a chaparone for a Miss America contestant and had to go on that date with her and Jerry? And both come up with hair-brained schemes.

In a way I suppose, Donny is George. I mean if Seinfeld was allowed to have swearing, couldn't you picture everyone saying "Shut the fuck up, George!"

And Elaine could be represented by two female characters: Bunny Lebowski cause if you think about it, Elaine was kind of a slut. And Maude Lebowski, cause on top of being a slut, Elaine was (trying to be) a strong independant woman.

And the plot of "The Big Lebowski" is so long and hard to explain, it's like...well, nothing. I don't mean there isn't a plot, but the situations in the movie could easily make a few episodes of "Seinfeld".

Everything starts when The Dude, played awesomely by Jeff Bridges, is attacked in his home by some mob guys. Since The Dude's real name is Jeff Lebowski, the mob guys got him mixed up with ANOTHER Jeff Lebowski, a super rich dude. The mob guys piss all over The Dude's prized rug, which tied the room together. They're looking for The Big Lebowski cause his wife owes money to someone. They realize their mistake and...simply leave.

After consulting his friend Walter (John Goodman) while bowling, The Dude goes to The Big Lebowski's (aka The Rich Jeff Lebowski) house to get compensated for a new rug. The Big Lebowski does nothing but insult The Dude and tells him to get the hell out of his huge ass house. But The Dude won't take this lying down! He tells Brandt (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) that it was ok to take a rug, which he does.

While at the house, he meets Bunny Lebowski (Tara Reid...seriously who else you gonna get this to play this role), the trophy wife of Big Lebowski and the one that owes money to some one. Later, The Dude gets a call from Brandt saying Big Lebowski wants his help. It appears that Bunny was kidnapped! And the kidnappers are asking for a ransom. So they want The Dude to make the drop for them cause it might be "the rug pissers" that kidnapped her and he'd be able to identify them. So eventually they give him the money and a car phone, cause this takes place in the early 90's.

Rather stupidly, he brings Walter into this and he inserts himself into this mess, even though the kidnappers said that The Dude had to be alone. Walter takes it upon himself to exchange the money for a briefcase of dirty underwear. Walter does this cause he thinks the whole ransom thing is bullshit and that Bunny kidnapped herself to get more money from The Big Lebowski.

Well, Walter was wrong. Big Lebowski finds The Dude and asks him what happened to the money, cause the kidnappers say they didn't get it and to prove they are in fact serious, they sent Big Lebowski a severed toe, presumably Bunny's. Big Lebowski is pissed and says whatever happens to Bunny next will happen 10 fold to him.

Meanwhile, he gets a visit from Maude Lebowski (Julianne Moore), Big Lebowski's daughter. Turns out the rug The Dude took belonged to Maude's mother and it has sentimental value to her, so she knocked The Dude out and took it. Later, she tells The Dude that the money Big Lebowski wasn't actually his, but it belonged to some kids charity that Maude's in charge of. So if The Dude can get THAT money back from the kidnappers and give it to her, he'll keep a percentage of it.

So all The Dude has to do is give her back the actual money. That's sitting in The Dude's car in the trunk. Which just got stolen. Uh oh. They eventually find the car, but the money is missing and through some detective work, they track the car thief to some kid. Thinking he took the money, they arrive at his house to confront the kid and get the money back. Sitting in front of the house is a brand new Fancy Car. I'm sorry, I know jack shit about cars and I have no freakin clue what kind of car this is.

It wouldn't be right to talk about this movie and not mention the hilarious TV-edit version of this scene. I can't even intro it, just watch it.

On top of ALL OF THIS, some German Nihilists (Peter Stormare, Flea, and some other dude I don't know) are after The Dude and the money. The Dude finds out that the head Nihilist is friends with Bunny. Well, more than friends. Bunny starred in a porno produced and directed by Jackie Treehorn (Ben Garrazza) and her fuck-buddy in the movie was Mr. Stormare. Yes, they casted Peter Stormare to be in a porno. Have fun masturbating now!

Ok so what the hell is going on? It's all one big confusing mess. Essentially the following things happened:
-Big Lebowski embezzled a million dollars from the kids charity.
-Bunny in all actuality didn't get kidnapped but she ran away.
-Big Lebowski decides to turn her running away into a way to pin the missing million dollars on "a bum". So he cooked up the entire kidnapping story, filled his suitcase with phonebooks, and when "the kidnappers" (AKA The Nihilists) say "There's no fuckin' money, Lebowski", The Dude gets accused of stealing the one million dollars.
-The toe? They used one of The Nihilist's ugly ass girlfriend's toe.

The Dude figures all of this out (kinda sorta, he does a lot of acid so some facts weren't right) after boinking Maude, who just wants to have a kid with a guy that doesn't wanna "be there for the kid".

So in the end, the million dollars is gone, The Dude doesn't get anything for all his troubles (not even a rug), Flea gets hit in the nuts with a bowling ball, Donny (Steve Buschemi), who was told the entire movie to "shut the fuck up" dies of a heart attack, and I guess when Walter threw Big Lebowski on the ground after accusing him of being a fake cripple, this caused him to back off from calling the police on The Dude for taking the money.


There's literally a bunch more things, like Sam Elliot's Narrator/The Stranger character just showing up for no reason a couple of times, but if some how you haven't seen this movie, you need to. It's just awesome and funny and makes you think. Well, ok maybe not that second thing.



WaywardJam said...

I can't wait to read your take on Lebowski. I was at a special showing last night; like my 10th time seeing this. I should have my write-up for the LAMB MOTM up by the first of the week and then I'll come back.

Slap me if I forget.

Jason Soto said...

I lost track how many times I've seen this, it's great.

And I'll do more than slap, I'll send an entire goon squad to your blog-door.

Michael J. Mendez said...

The Big Lebowski as Seinfeld?

I like yer style, Dude.

WaywardJam said...

Slap avoided! I finally came back to check out your post. This is one awesome movie with seemingly no direction isn't it?!

Never thought of TBL as Seinfeld, but then again I was only a casual Seinfeld viewer.

You're absolutely about making you think. Every time I see TBL I find some nuance that eluded me before. It's story is one that truly is about nothing yet says so much. One of these days I'll sift through it one curse word at a time until I decipher its hidden meanings, but until then I'll just laugh at the insanity of it all.

Great post btw.