Expert movie reviewers consider The Big Lebowski an attitude, not a story. Let’s not worry ourselves too much about the plot. With a story that is earnestly pursued, the movie involves a porno king, a kidnapping, ransom money, a runaway girl, a reclusive millionaire, a woman who paints in the nude and while strapped to a harness overhead, the Malibu police and more. There’s plenty of bowling scenes compared to anything else and there’s even the last act with the disagreement between Flower Power and Vietnam veterans.
A surly millionaire in a wheelchair is the Big Lebowski, who sits brooding in front of a fire in a large paneled library. It’s implied that his trophy wife Bunny has been kidnapped, leading indirectly to the Dude getting savagely beaten by hit men who mistakenly think he’s the Big Lebowski (There are a lot of Lebowskis in Malibu, I guess). The movie basically tackles how the Dude tries to get payback for his precious rug that was urinated on by one of the thugs.
Jeff Bridges plays the Dude, an out-of-work layabout who spends his days sipping White Russian cocktail, which comprises vodka, coffee liqueur and cream served with ice. The Dude spends nights at the bowling alley. Pot is always available as well. The Dude has a shaggy goatee, chestnut hair grown to lion-like mane proportions, and an unchanging daily wardrobe of rummage sale shirts, Bermuda shorts, bathrobes plus flip flops. He has made a crummy low-rent rundown structure in Malibu his home. The Dude does not cheat, steal or lie. Most importantly, he will not allow the desecration of his rug through pissing. Oh, he wants what is right but does swear.
Created by American filmmakers the Coen brothers (Joel David Coen and Ethan Jesse Coen), whose films tackle a variety of styles and genres, The Big Lebowski is rich with exceptional visual style that leans more toward spectacular architectural detail than anything, utilizing forced perspectives, ghastly city views, queer interior decoration and lonely landscapes. This is showcased in the scenes where the Dude hallucinates or is unconscious and he gets into bizarre fantasy realms.
The movie has supporting characters including Jesus Quintana (played by John Turturro), the Nihilistic trio, and with a pivotal role played by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, who played the role of the Big Lebowski’s worshipful assistant, Brandt. The Big Lebowski (played by David Huddleston) bears an amazing physical resemblance to fellow movie star Philip Seymour Hoffman, which is something that the movie’s fans have most likely considered a genuine reason for watching the film over and over.
The movie primarily tells the story of how Jeff Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) displays composure in the face of challenges. He is insulted by people, lied to, beaten up by hit men, and seduced by a woman who only wants herself to get impregnated by him. A fortune is dangled before him, after which it is replaced by used boxer shorts and telephone books. He maintains his sanity by mixing another White Russian for himself, sitting in a warm bath and like the great Buddha, focusing on the big picture.
Narrated by a spectacularly mustachioed Sam Elliott as the Stranger, the 1998 film The Big Lebowski talks about the attitude of being not overly concerned about life as a whole and just taking things a piece at a time, finding peace with what little one has and not really being worried about anything else. It kind of makes you want to just enjoy a laidback, carefree life, doesn’t it?