Out of all the Coen Brother’s brilliant films, The Big Lebowski has always been my least favorite – for good reason though: I never got it. I’d walk away after seeing it, scratching my head and wondering to myself, “what just happened?” I have however been known for giving things a another chance, so when I was invited to go see the movie on the big screen with friends who find merit in this Coen-cult film – and knowing how much I respect their opinions, I decided to go. I pulled together my best Dude outfit and tumble-weeded my way towards the dark theater.
Maybe it was my Dude transformation, the two White Russians I had, my more mature outlook on film analyses (snicker), or maybe it was being in the throes of a theater packed with Big Lebowski fans, because…
Uh, sorry everyone… I was all prepared to talk a good game about existentialism and wow you with some nihilist bullshit, but hell, it would be easier just to ask the brothers themselves about the film. Better yet, ask Frances McDermott, because I think I read somewhere that it was a friend of hers that wrote the script.
So, suffice to say, I can’t lie to you and say I had an epiphany after seeing the film this time and now I completely and fully understand what the hidden meaning is behind it – unfortunately, I walked out of the theater, once again not really getting it. What I do really like about the film and have always understood, other than it’s well-crafted with good writing, acting and a funny plot-line is it’s a tribute to Los Angeles. The film referenced facts, historical figures and places only someone that really appreciates Los Angeles could know.
Okay, so there might be a smidgen of tongue-’n-cheek love of LA going on here, because there was that scene about Malibu… but come on, Malibu really stands up and begs to get picked on. I suppose one could argue that Los Angeles does have an abundance of smoke and mirrors going on, mostly because of the Hollywood scene. There doesn’t seem to be a shortage of plastic body parts, plastic money and plastic cars, so it makes it even more difficult to look pass the veneer and see things and see people for what and who they really are. Sometimes after you strip everything down to its naked soul, you still might find you don’t like what you see, but sometimes you find a real gem, like the warmth, compassion and honesty the Coen’s found in The Dude. And The Dude, well that feller, he was from Los Angeles.
The Dude Abides