InsidePulse DVD Review – The Big Lebowski (Collector's Edition)


Image Courtesy of Amazon.com

Director:

Joel Coen

Cast:

Jeff Bridges……….The Dude
John Goodman……….Walter
Julianne Moore……….Maude Lebowski
Steve Buscemi……….Donny
David Huddleston……….The Big Lebowski
Philip Seymour Hoffman……….Brandt
Tara Reid……….Bunny Lebowski
Philip Moon……….Woo, Treehorn thug
Mark Pellegrino……….Blond Treehorn thug
Peter Stormare……….Uli Kunkel
Flea……….Nihilist #2
Torsten Voges……….Nihilist #3
Jimmie Dale Gilmore……….Smokey
Jack Kehler……….Marty
John Turturro……….Jesus Quintana

The Movie

The Dude (Jeff Bridges) has a rather charmed life. He bowls with his friends Walter (John Goodman) and Donny (Steve Buscemi), gets drunk on occasion, and lives a rather charmed life without a job. This all changes one day when two men break into his house: they desecrate his favorite rug (it held the room together very well) and demand money out of him. They have him confused with someone else with the same name, Jeff Lebowski; the other Lebowski is a rich man whose trophy wife Bunny (Tara Reid) owes these thugs some money and they have been sent to collect. With his rug ruined, The Dude does what every normal human being would: demand it be replaced by the man whose wife spurred the thug’s urination. At the goading of Walter, The Dude gets another rug from the other Jeff Lebowski. But when Bunny ends up being kidnapped, The Dude is lured into a world of nihilists, pornography, and a Sadaam Hussein look-a-like which is equally preposterous and humorous. In their followup to Fargo, Ethan and Joel Coen craft a comedy that is so ridiculous, so over the top in its situations, that it is madly brilliant.

The key to the madness is in the cast; everything is so ridiculous and zany that it requires casting of people willing to just abandon themselves in the role. This isn’t half-hearted or sleep-walking, this is a cast of character actors letting loose with a template for their creativity. It’s rather amazing to watch as the more zany the situation gets, the more zany the cast gets.

The humor is the film’s strong point. It is so unconventional and different from a lot of comedies of its era. It doesn’t need someone eating fecal matter or being hit with a foreign object; the situations are crafted to be as loony as possible and hilarious on their face alone. While putting normal, everyday characters into this would normally be sufficient enough for a lot of laughs, the Coen brothers have another strong vantage point: well-developed characters.

Always the strength of their writing, the Coens characters in The Big Lebowski are easy enough to understand but aren’t just one dimensional. They have a fullness a lot of characters don’t have to them in a comedy.

Score : 10 / 10

The Video
Presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen format, The Big Lebowski has the same aspect ratio as its bare bones release did. The picture looks slightly better than it did before but it really doesn’t look that much better than it did before.

The Audio
Presented in the same audio format as before, The Big Lebowski is presented in Dolby 5.1 surround. It still sounds great, but it isn’t an improvement from the first release.

The Extras:

Introduction by Mortimer Young is a rambling, unfunny introduction by Young to the film. It’s not really funny or enlightening, but it runs five minutes so it ends soon enough.

Jeff Bridges’ Photography is a collection of still photography taken by Bridges during the film.

Production Notes are a series of notes from the producers about the film’s conception and production. It’s more of an overview about the film and its cult status.

Making of The Big Lebowski is a retrospective fueled by the Coen brothers about the making of the film. It all started from a friend of theirs, as they based Jeff Bridges’ character and imagined a real crazy scenario for him to be on. With comments from Bridges and Goodman meshed between comments from the Coens and clips from the film, this featurette runs around 24 minutes.

Score : 5 / 10