Happy birthday, Big Lebowski

I posted this video because it’s one of the most iconic scenes in The Big Lebowski, which turns 15 today (March 6).

My, how times fly. Anyway, in celebration of the first cult film of the Internet age, here’s about two cents (and 10 minutes) of ramble.

I don’t know what it is about the Jesus scene, whether it’s the slow motion, or the Gypsy Kings’ oddly strange-but-familiar rendition of “Hotel California,” or the sock pull, but John Turturro’s sub-120-second performance nearly steals the movie. Every time I’ve seen this with a large group of people, the reaction is the same: cheering. Why is that?

If you’re going to take notice and investigate a little about the movie, here’s three things you’ll probably read, two of which aren’t exactly true:

  1. You’ll hear that the movie was a box office flop (in actuality, the movie did make back its budget domestically and did fairly well overseas, overtaking Titanic in some countries, if memory serves).
  2. You’ll hear that it received poor reviews (actually, most reviewers didn’t like the plot, but generally praised the performances, particularly of Jeff Bridges, who, of course is The Dude … unless you’re talking about this Dude). On a side note, kudos to the St. Pete Times’ Steve Persall, who pretty much saw the possibilities of this movie and championed it from the get-go.
  3. You will also hear, though, that the movie has survived and thrived as the years have gone by (and, as a blanket statement, that’s true!).

Let me be clear: I’m not going to suggest that you watch the movie … for all sorts of reasons that I’d rather not disclose BUT if you do watch it, two pieces of advice:

  1. watch it twice — but not back-to-back. Watch it once, wait a week or two, then watch it again.
  2. don’t watch it alone … but if you do want to watch it alone, at least one time you need to watch it in a group. Preferrably a Lebowski Fest.

Top 5 Non-Swearing Quotes (with no explanation or defense)

  1. “Obviously you’re not a golfer.”
  2. “I’m just gonna find a cash machine.”
  3. “You’re entering a world of pain.”
  4. “It don’t matter to Jesus.”
  5. “I can get you a toe … with polish.”

In case you’re interested, here’s a (very) limited “Big Bibliograski,” in alphabetical order. If you’re wondering what the hub-bub is about check some of these things out:

  • Benjamin, O. and Eutsey, D. (2011). The abide guide: Living like Lebowski. ISBN: 978-1-56975-976-9
  • Bertocci, A. (2010). Two gentlemen of Lebowski. ISBN: 978-1-4516-0581-5
  • Bridges, J. and Glassman, B. (2012). The dude and the zen master. ISBN: 978-0-399-16164-3
  • Coen E. and Coen, J. (1998). The Big Lebowski. ISBN: 0-571-19335-8
  • Commentale, E. and Jaffe, A. (2009). The year’s work in Lebowski studies. ISBN: 978-0253221360
  • Falsani, C. (2009). The dude abides: The gospel according to the Coen brothers. ISBN: 978-0-310-29246-3
  • Mottram, J. (2000). The Coen brothers: The life of the mind. ISBN: 0-7134-8468-3
  • Peskoe, B., Green, B., Shuffitt, S. and Russell, W. (2007). I’m a Lebowski, you’re a Lebowski: Life, The Big Lebowski and what have you. ISBN: 978-1596912465.
  • Robertson, W. P. (1998). The Big Lebowski from the creators of ‘Fargo’: The making of a Coen brothers film. ISBN: 0-393-31750-1
  • Tyree, J.M. and Walters, B. (2007). BFI classics: The Big Lebowski. ISBN: 978-1-84457-173-4

And don’t even get me started about the soundtrack …

And I’m pretty fond of this scene, too.

Well, that ought to get you started … and in English, too.

"Good night, sweet prince." And happy birthday.

“Good night, sweet prince.” And happy birthday.

What are some of your Lebowski lines, moments, books, etc.? Or does this movie really mean anything at all? Comment below.


3 thoughts on “Happy birthday, Big Lebowski

  1. Thanks for somehow noticing my calling the Big Lebowski phenomenon in my review 15 years ago. I am truly flattered to be mentioned in your over-Achieving blog post. Great work, and a good day to you, sir!

    • No problem, Dude … Thanks for checking out the post and taking time to comment!

      Keep writing and watching those movies!

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