A quintessential cult film, whilst it has its share of strange moments, The Big Lebowski is grounded in reality. We have a pretty random selection of eccentric characters that, by dint of sheer coincidence, become slightly involved in the same story. Throughout the film, the focus is most definitely on The Dude (real name: Jeffrey Lebowski), whose real name just happens to be shared with (what appears to be) a successful millionaire wheelchair-bound old guy, complete with trophy blonde slutty wife.
The gist of the story revolves around this trophy wife, and her sudden (apparent) kidnap. By sheer chance, the millionaire has just met The Dude, and decides to ask him for help in getting his wife back. Of course, The Dude being the Dude, you can easily guess things aren’t going to go smoothly for him, and you’d be spot on. It’s hard to explain exactly what makes The Big Lebowski such a cool film. It’s pretty funny in most places, though it’s generally more of a “smile and quiet laugh” type funny than out-and-out “laugh out loud” funny. It doesn’t rely on toilet humour or stoner gags, although The Dude does enjoy the odd puff of the “herb”. I suppose what really makes this film is the characters of The Dude himself, and his best mate Walter. Steve Buscemi appears for a few brief scenes too, ably playing the two buddies’ other bowling team mate, often ignored by these two in their heated discussions on politics and rugs.
Together, Walter with his borderline obsession for bowling, and The Dude with his love of wearing slippers, dressing gown, and drinking throughout the day, make the great slacker atmosphere so important to this film. Because, when you get right down to it, this is a slacker film – it’s a film about stuff that happens to a guy who basically does nothing, and much prefers to let stuff happen to him, than to go out and make stuff happen. And he thoroughly enjoys himself, most of the time.
This isn’t a stoner movie though, it’s a slacker movie. So you can enjoy this without being a stoner, for sure.