vineri, 9 iunie 2017

The Big Lebowsky, written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen

The Big Lebowsky, written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen

A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:

To my great surprise, this stupendous comedy has not been included by The New York Times on its list of Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made.
But it is popular with the public:

This is the list of top rated films on IMDB.

Jeffrey Leon Bridges has what I think could be the best role of his career- as much as I know it and compared with other endeavors.
I much prefer The Dude to Bad Blake or the old cowboy in True Grit.

Bad Blake has won Jeff Bridges an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, but The Dude is more appealing.
In fact he could be a role model.

Of course, only if many or most of his shortcomings would be eliminated and we could only have a serene personage to look up to.
For The Dude is the epitome of peacefulness, an easy going, relaxed attitude, a detachment that comes close to levitation.

-          I am not talking the Dalai Lama here
-          And this makes for a more complex, interesting and complicated character

Because the hero is not all that accomplished.
He does float around on a cloud of bonhomie and good will, but he is also careless and rather ignorant.

The pleasure of seeing a man that appears to be happy, jolly and amused most of the time is not complete.
If not an alcoholic or drug addicted, he still acts like he is high or just decoupled from the real world and incapable of understanding much.

The gentle protest that he makes when thugs invade his house is enviable in that he does not lose his calm.
But otherwise, the dude did not strike me as particularly brave, intrepid or really concentrated on the issue.

-          Still, he is a cool guy…
-          In a sense, he could be the definition of Cool
-          Or stoicism

The latter philosophy of life is rather in opposition with The Dude, who comes across as the symbol of another current of thought

-          Hedonism

The Dude could be the poster image of enjoying life to the maximum, in the here and now, without much care for tomorrow.
And the features that he may share with the stoics refer to a certain satisfaction with what he has, that was preached by the ascetic philosophers:

-          Seneca, Marcus Aurelius and…The Dude?
-          Not really, no!

But until his rug is peed on, the cool hero aka The Big Lebowski had no trouble in his life, except perhaps when he lost a bowling game against the team of… Jesus, Jesus Quintana as played marvelously by John Turturo.
For on top of the famous, genius team of writers and directors of the Coen Brothers, this superb comedy benefits from a magnificent cast;

-          John Gooodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, the late and regretted sensational Philip Seymour Hoffman, in addition to the aforementioned Bridges and Turturo

I would venture to say that the plot is not that relevant and maybe serves as a good excuse for a festival of comedy and exemplary acting.
There is a case of mistaken identity, then a kidnapping or maybe a set up in the vein of the one in Fargo- another chef d’oeuvre from the same writers and directors and Steve Buscemi- and a few conflicts.

But this is 95% comedy if you ask me, even if on the IMDB site it is listed under comedy and crime…

And they may be right.

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