{2jtab: Movie Review}

The Big Lebowski


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5 stars

The collective cry of The Big Lebowski’s cult has been answered.  Finally, after many DVD releases and Special Editions and whatnot, The Coen Brothers’ detective farce of mayhem, murder, and marijuana gets its HD debut.  It’s been out for over 13 years and is constantly quoted by its fans.  Chances are high that you’ve seen the film.  Chances are even higher that you don’t need to be convinced of its masterpiece labeling.  After all, it is the role of The Dude that continues to define Jeff Bridges as Jeff Bridges (now a bona fide country-rock artist).  This is a career high for everyone involved in the project and a fine, fine ensemble of characters and actors.  Simply put, The Big Lebowski rules.

Written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen (Fargo, True Grit), The Big Lebowski turns Raymond Chandler’s gumshoe detective genre (namely The Big Sleep) on its ear with the introduction of The Dude (Bridges) as the titular lead fellow.  He’s an unemployed type of loveable L.A. loser and full-time avid bowler.  He’s also a victim of mistaken identity; a mistake that leads to the ruination of his rug.  Inspired to collect what is due to him by the wrong-doers who mistook him for another man named Jeffrey Lebowski, The Dude takes matters in his own hands and pays the other Lebowski a visit.

General Coen Brothers weirdness ensues.

Things and ideas go south relatively quickly for The Dude.  Once again called upon by Jeffrey Lebowski (David Huddleston) to find his kidnapped trophy wife, Bunny (Tara Reid), and deliver her ransom, The Dude finds himself listening more to his friend and Vietnam war veteran Walter Sobchak (John Goodman), who schemes out a plan for them to keep the money, than his own uncommon and stoned-out sense.

Narrated by a lone cowboy known only as “Stranger” (Sam Elliot), the film also stars Steve Buscemi, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Ben Gazzara, and John Turturro as Jesus Quintana, the lead opponent in The Dude’s bowling league semifinals.  Sharp as nails, the ensemble cast of The Big Lebowski makes an unforgettable time of wandering through the darkly comic world of The Coen Brothers.  It’s also a great indictment of the failures of the baby boom generation and all the rest of us wiping the gunk up from under their boot heels, but why complicate matters with such thought?  It’s a damn fine picture because it’s funny, heartbreaking and so incredibly true.

With the “f word” being dropped for a whopping total of 267 times, there’s no joke to the harsh and comical reality (or unreality?) the film portrays.  To say the movie is ripe with juicy flavor and harsh criticism aimed toward your parent’s generation is an understatement.  The characters are loaded with spicy ball-cleansing eccentricities and they carry the film to a wonderful cosmically-minded finale that never disappoints.  Yet, family does matter…especially in the bowling alley – where The Dude becomes the wife to Walter’s violent husband persona and the inquisitive Theodore Donald "Shut the fuck up, Donnie!" Kerabatsos (Buscemi) becomes their child.  It’s all wholesome and never insincere…to the sport of bowling, that is.  Everyone else be damned.

Once again, Roger Deakins provides the look of the film with some snazzy and detailed cinematography that only adds to its motivational mojo to the film’s neo-conservative criticism.  This is quality quirk, dear readers, the kind that apparently has no purpose except to be … quirksome.  Maybe to a fault.  Maybe not.  I guess it all depends on your ability to do as The Dude does and just go with the flow.

What else can you do?  I mean, the rug really tied the room together so how can you blame The Dude for what follows?  There’s simply nothing normal about stoner shenanigans.

{2jtab: Film Details}

The Big LebowskiMPAA Rating: R for pervasive strong language, drug content, sexuality and brief violence.
: Joel and Ethan Coen
: Joel and Ethan Coen
Cast: John Goodman; Jeff Bridges; Julianne Moore; Steve Buscemi; Philip Seymour Hoffman; Tara Reid; Philip Moon
Genre: Comedy
Times like these call for a Big Lebowski.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Oh, the usual. I bowl. Drive around. The occasional acid flashback."
Gramercy Pictures
Official Site:

Release Date:
March 6, 1998
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: August 16, 2011

Synopsis: When "The Dude" Lebowski is mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, two thugs urinate on his rug to coerce him into paying a debt he knows nothing about. While attempting to gain recompense for the ruined rug from his wealthy counterpart, he accepts a one-time job with high pay-off. He enlists the help of his bowling buddy, Walter, a gun-toting Jewish-convert with anger issues. Deception leads to more trouble, and it soon seems that everyone from porn empire tycoons to nihilists want something from The Dude.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

The Big Lebowski

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
5 stars

4 stars

Blu-ray Experience
4.5 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - January 11, 2011
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH, French, Spanish
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: DTS 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); Digital copy (as download); Bonus View (PiP); BD-Live; Mobile features
Playback: Region-free

Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the 1080p transfer might be the one used for its HD-DVD release (remember that format?). The colors only ever pop inside the bowling alley and are merely subdued throughout the rest of the feature. Of course, the lighting in the bowling alley is part of the reason fine detail is so brilliant. There are some moments of visible edge enhancement and the contrast seems a bit low as there aren’t solid lines of clarity between the actors and their surroundings. Of course, many fans will just be happy to have The Dude on blu-ray and give this puppy a pass. I don’t blame them, especially with Universal's 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix giving the picture a HUGE boost.



  • Traditional commentary is not available from the relatively reclusive Coen Brothers.  To supplement that is a Picture-in-Picture Commentary is offered through one of the special features.

Special Features:

Housed in a book-like outershell (complete with a 14-page picture collection), the Limited Edition is a nice looking package for a great movie. Scoop it up quick, though, for the digital download of the movie does expire. The supplemental material contains the making-of featurette that was included on its DVD debut all those years ago as well as other ported over material. However, there are also new additions to the supplemental material that more than make up for the familiarity of the special features. There is over 90-minutes of new featurettes and stills galleries and trivia tracks and a special 10-year look back of The Big Lebowski.

  • Exclusive Introduction (5 min)
  • Jeff Bridges Photo Book (17 min)
  • The Dude's Life (10 min)
  • The Dude Abides: ‘The Big Lebowski’ Ten Years Later (11 min)
  • The Lebowski Fest: An Achiever's Story (14 min)
  • Flying Carpets and Bowling Pin Dreams: The Dream Sequences of The Dude (4 min)
  • The Making of The Big Lebowski (25 min)
  • Photo Gallery (3 min)
  • The Music of ‘The Big Lebowski’
  • Worthy Adversaries: What's My Line?! Trivia
  • Interactive Map
  • U-Control
  • BD-Live
  • pocketBLU functionality

{2jtab: Trailer}