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The Big Lebowski (1998)
Rated R

Starring: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, and Julianne Moore

Rating:
**
out of
*****

The Big Lebowski concerns a man who goes by the name of The Dude (Jeff Bridges). His real name is Jeff Lebowski, but he doesn't want anyone to call him that. When two thugs break into his apartment demanding money that his wife owes to their boss, they realize they have the wrong Lebowski. The Lebowski that they're searching for is a millionaire. The Dude is an unemployed musician/bowler who doesn't do much of anything, and is most certainly not a millionaire. The thugs, before leaving, urinate on The Dude's rug. The Dude sets out to find this other Lebowski, feeling that he's owed compensation for his rug.

The Dude's meeting with the Big Lebowski leads him into nether world of strange characters and even stranger situations. Along with his friends, Walter (John Goodman) and Donny (Steve Buscemi), The Dude wanders around in a drug and White Russian-fueled haze, attempting to make some sense of what he's gotten himself into. I won't reveal anything specific, because that's one of the fun things about this movie: it's unique set-ups and deliveries of situational humor.

The Coen Brothers, who are responsible for other weird movies like Raising Arizona, Fargo, and Barton Fink, all of which were strange, but enjoyable, are also responsible for The Big Lebowski. Unfortunately, this time out, they misfire in terms of setting up an interesting atmosphere and surroundings for their characters. Some may find The Dude interesting enough to have a movie devoted to his rambling adventure. I did not.

I know this movie is going to be loved by fans of art-house movies. I, on the other hand, didn't love it. I did enjoy parts of the film and it did make me laugh a lot. Those are the only reasons I'm not going to completely trash it. I'll admit that I wanted to like this movie alot, mainly because I enjoyed Fargo so much. The Big Lebowski is definitely not on the same level as that fine film.

Trivia: Ewan McGregor was cast as Young Ed Bloom when producers noticed the striking similarity between him and pictures of a young Albert Finney, who plays Senior Ed Bloom. (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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