More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 17.96%
Average: 2.43%
Pretty Bad: 3.4%
Total Crap: 6.8%

8 reviews, 158 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Lucky Grandma by Jay Seaver

Vast of Night, The by Peter Sobczynski

High Note, The by Peter Sobczynski

Taking of Tiger Mountain, The by Jay Seaver

Trip to Greece, The by Peter Sobczynski

Night God by Jay Seaver

Alice (2019) by Jay Seaver

On a Magical Night (Chambre 212) by Jay Seaver

Driveways by Jay Seaver

Free Country by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Big Lebowski, The
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Rob Gonsalves

"It really pulls the room together, man."
5 stars

As much as I enjoyed 'The Big Lebowski,' I'd hesitate to recommend it to anyone but die-hard fans of the Coen brothers.

Such willfully bizarre Coen efforts as Barton Fink and The Hudsucker Proxy seem designed to split viewers into two categories: those who get it and those who don't (and the latter viewers usually don't even show up). The Big Lebowski isn't a relatively straight movie like their crossover hit Fargo, which the uninitiated could take as a weirder-than-usual crime drama. No, the new film finds the Coens firmly back on their deadpan-wacko Raising Arizona turf.

Abduction plots have served the Coens well, and here they are again with ransom notes and inept kidnappers (if there isn't a film-school thesis on the motif of kidnapping in the Coens' films, there probably will be). Jeff Bridges, returning to his shaggy King Kong look, stars as the typical Coen hero: Jeff Lebowski, a stoner and bowler who prefers to be addressed as "the Dude." He has the same name as a disabled billionaire (David Huddleston), which leads to a misunderstanding wherein two thugs show up at the Dude's hovel, rough him up, and pee on his rug. The other Lebowski's trophy wife, you see, has been running up debts all over L.A.; when she's kidnapped, the big Lebowski hires the Dude as a courier for the ransom.

As if the plot even mattered in most Coen movies. The Big Lebowski, like the Coens' most underrated film The Hudsucker Proxy, is an excuse for Joel and Ethan's patented stylized dialogue ("He's a good doctor, and thorough") and unapologetic caricatures. Coen veteran John Goodman is one of the latter, as the Dude's Vietnam-vet bowling buddy Walter, who takes care of his ex-wife's pooch and refuses to bowl on Jewish holidays. There's also the big Lebowski's "artist" daughter Maude (Julianne Moore, trying to out-enunciate Jennifer Jason Leigh in Hudsucker), who has about as much reason to be in the film as anyone else -- which is to say, not much except to set up a gag or say things that nobody outside a Coen film would say.

The Coens shrewdly cast Jeff Bridges against type. Usually, Bridges is the most alert of actors; he was ideal as the alien in Starman, trying Earth customs on for size. The Dude, however, is blissfully oblivious, and Bridges gives a relaxed slapstick performance. Sometimes he's funny just sitting there, spread out across the back seat of a limo, sipping White Russians that always stain his mustache. But underneath this slacker is a hard-working professional -- Bridges does more with his deflated body language than many comedians can manage by chewing the furniture.

Like Bridges, the Coens are pros whose work doesn't look like work at all -- it looks like goofing off -- until you see Coen wannabes try it and fall flat on their faces. The Big Lebowski doesn't really come together; it's as if the Coens consciously avoided easy, audience-pleasing wrap-ups and character arcs. (Another motif in the Coens' work is offscreen deaths of major characters: Judy Davis and John Mahoney in Barton Fink, the kidnapped wife in Fargo. There's another one here.)

The movie is the Coens' acknowledged tribute to Raymond Chandler (just as 'Miller's Crossing' was a nod to Hammett and 'Blood Simple' their version of James M. Cain), and Chandler wasn't all that concerned with plot coherence either -- he used a story as a clothesline on which to hang vivid characters, snappy patter, and local color. That sums up every Coen film, including this one.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 01/02/07 12:36:20
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

7/12/15 N Stew If you don't like this masterpiece, obviously you are not a golfer.... 5 stars
3/06/15 stanley welles a mindless journey to nowhere in particular 2 stars
12/18/14 Canadian Dude It's complicated, a lot of ins and outs. That's just like, my opinion, man. 5 stars
6/24/14 Dudeist Reverend M. Morley This film really ties any room together...Dude. 5 stars
10/11/12 The Rev 8 year olds dude 5 stars
2/14/11 Jeff Wilder Inventive approach, quotable dialogue. The fact that it's not plot-driven doesn't hinder it 4 stars
3/31/10 Dr.Lao If you think that colorful swearing is comic genius, you will love this movie 1 stars
1/30/10 mr.mike Props to its fans , I didn't get it. 3 stars
12/06/09 Omar Amazing film. So funny! 5 stars
10/21/09 slayme Best movie ever! Sorry some yall don't get it. 5 stars
11/22/08 Shaun Wallner Friiggin Awesome!! 5 stars
10/26/08 Total Crap Donnie, you're out of your ELEMENT! lmao, this movie is hilarious! 5 stars
9/17/08 Stu Defines the word "random" and also the phrase "funniest film ever". 5 stars
7/28/08 The Dork Knight Julianne Moore drags the story down, but s'alright 4 stars
6/29/08 AnnieG Just enjoy the characters and don't try to follow the "plot". 4 stars
6/04/08 mec leads? yeah sure! 5 stars
1/26/08 Pamela White stupid with a capital L 2 stars
1/26/08 Adam Brilliant. Never gets old, watch it at least 3 times to Get It. 5 stars
11/10/07 Kaleun You have no idea...this may be the best movie ever. Awesome soundtrack, too. 5 stars
6/30/07 Danny.G "good night sweet prince" 5 stars
4/08/07 mb Empty Junk 1 stars
2/07/07 me offcourse pure genious! 5 stars
12/12/06 David Cohen Apparently written by narcissists who foolishly think everything they write is pure genius 1 stars
12/04/06 Kelly A movie you have to watch more than once and then you cant sop quoting it 5 stars
9/05/06 Jim Nonsense, but riveting nonsense. Bridges is fantastic as the Dude. 5 stars
8/01/06 Marty we believe in nusheen lebowski nusheen! 5 stars
5/09/06 the bride are you ready to be fucked man! 5 stars
4/17/06 sky great pick me up movie 5 stars
3/28/06 Larry Just superb, you'll be bowled over! 5 stars
2/23/06 jp your reviewer needs to watch it again..... 5 stars
1/28/06 tatum Funny one-liners, but overly disjointed 4 stars
1/22/06 Crackhead This is the king Of all comedys! 5 stars
11/11/05 zeitgeist Comedic masterpiece. 5 stars
10/05/05 Jesse Taylor The Coens have done it again. One of the best of 1998. Goodman's performance stands out. 5 stars
9/18/05 Monday Morning I just saw TBL again and forgot how great it is. 5 stars
9/02/05 ES Entertaining, felt bad for Dude's carpet. 4 stars
8/23/05 Anthony G I told those fucks down at the league office a thousand times that I don't roll on Shabbos! 5 stars
8/12/05 Kelly memorable dialouge and so freakin hilarious- the dude abides 5 stars
8/03/05 matt He's the man for his time and place 5 stars
7/19/05 Mike The funniest movie I have ever seen. It's a two hour virtuoso performance. 5 stars
6/03/05 Simon Artistically devoid of any value, but God the comedy and one-liners are priceless. 5 stars
5/25/05 Jake A groin grabbingly good time. 5 stars
5/10/05 zeitgeist Comedically brilliant. One of the funniest movies of the past 10 years 5 stars
3/18/05 indrid cold The Coen brothers are so overrated, but this one has some gut busting moments. 4 stars
3/13/05 MF interesting, strange, but interesting 4 stars
1/09/05 Sam Utterly mindless, walked out in the middle of the movie 1 stars
12/10/04 Ghetto Smurf Donny, you're out of your element. 5 stars
12/01/04 Archanist_101 Yet again not really what I'd expected but, decent enough to watch again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
10/13/04 James Cole It doesn't get any better than this. Why has this movie not been on cable??? 5 stars
7/24/04 john mchamemrson wow thats one genoius movie, a must see 5 stars
7/17/04 GBrooks the chinaman is not the issue here! 5 stars
6/11/04 Jim One of the Coen Bros. best. 5 stars
6/09/04 Makman "Eh, Lebowski!" -- I love the German nihilists! Rock! 5 stars
4/13/04 Miss Julie Falling-down funny. My life would be a poorer place without The Dude. 5 stars
2/16/04 seth Great film 5 stars
2/04/04 Nick Hosler This is the best film ever! 5 stars
11/20/03 Sturphy They're gonna kill that poor woman! 5 stars
10/30/03 Branagh Hater True Cinema Masterpiece, this is how movies are supposed to be. 5 stars
10/29/03 Aaron I had to get gluteal replacement surgery after I saw this one. 5 stars
10/07/03 R.W. Welch More amusing absurdity from the Coens. May be too squirrelly for some. 4 stars
10/02/03 MARTIN EL DUDERINO 5 stars
9/25/03 Anthony Butler Possibly the greatest comedy ever 5 stars
9/11/03 tim awesome! 5 stars
8/20/03 Taylor One of the awesomest and most hilarious movies ever made! 5 stars
8/11/03 The Savage The only 3 people who wouldn't like this movie are Hitler, Saddam, and Bob Saget. 5 stars
7/31/03 Walter Shut the fuck up Donny-Best Movie Ever 5 stars
7/17/03 Jin Stopped watching after an hour. It felt like 3. 1 stars
7/10/03 joe long redeeming; an antidote to modern life 5 stars
6/18/03 magus one of the greatest comedies of all time, must hav seen it about 50 times 5 stars
5/17/03 George Jung Anyone who doesn't like this movie is a fucking idiot with no understanding of modern film 5 stars
4/08/03 Mystique One of the best films ever 5 stars
4/01/03 Rebecca Great Lines; Requires more than one Viewing 5 stars
1/06/03 Bob Dong If you dont buy this film you are insane, it is fantabulas 5 stars
12/31/02 Bob Hardcore A movie this good is called a miracle 5 stars
12/13/02 Choadushouse Best movie I've seen in a long time. Relaxing. Smooth. Like an Orange Julius. 5 stars
11/09/02 Stevo The Dude is my idol now too. Wonderful movie. 5 stars
10/27/02 MarktheShark6 It's the best slacker movie of all-time, Jeff Bridges plays the part perfectly. 5 stars
8/23/02 Bluto Jeff Bridges is an incredibly natural actor, Ben Gazzara looked fabulous 5 stars
8/03/02 Brother Seamus Let F(1) = funny the first time. F(i) = F(i-1) * 999. Explanation? Best film ever 5 stars
6/14/02 bokonon Julia Cox you stupid dits! Greatest movie ever 5 stars
5/23/02 Butterbean I can watch "The Dude" and Walter spar off all day 5 stars
5/13/02 Dark Baron Best fucking movie of all time. Don't ever fuck with the Jesus. 5 stars
4/14/02 Jesus, The White Russian This and Cassablanca are the only two films I would want to rate as BETTER than awesome. 5 stars
4/04/02 Edfink Lombardo Hysterical comedy...There is nothing quite like this film...John Goodman is brilliant 5 stars
4/02/02 El Talboto Great (though strange) humor! 5 stars
3/22/02 Whiplash19 What's this day of rest shit? What's this bullshit Jesus is the best!!! 5 stars
3/05/02 Julia Cox (Ordinarily a Julianne Moore fan) Goodman's too mean, Buscemi's too pitiful. Can't even remember Julianne Moore being in it. 2 stars
1/22/02 clownfish there is so much to this movie that i've seen it over 50 times and it's still fresh and fun 5 stars
1/02/02 Andrew Carden Feels Like You're Watching An X Rated Pee Wee Hermen Show. 1 stars
11/13/01 Robert I must have seen this film a dozen times and it NEVER gets old 5 stars
11/03/01 y2mckay hey, Katie, you stupid bitch. Try WATCHING the fucking movie before posting 4 stars
10/25/01 katie didn't watch the whole movie just a clip thought it was pretty stupid. 3 stars
10/20/01 The $1.98 Pyramid Really Good 5 stars
9/30/01 daniboy laughed my ass off 5 stars
9/12/01 Butterbean I have to give it to Jules (the reviewer), that's the funniest review I've seen. 5 stars
9/08/01 snagy snag best movie ever 5 stars
9/02/01 Butterbean This have the best developed characters! The Dude and his White Russians are unforgettable! 5 stars
8/06/01 E-Funk Amigo, nobody fucks with Coen brothers...This si one of their best, simple and great. 5 stars
7/15/01 officer 412/l one of the best comedys ever. man 5 stars
7/08/01 petter ass i look up to the dude 5 stars
6/30/01 Doctor Gravitron An intellectual movie. Jules, you're an inept person, I hope you die. BEST MOVIE EVER! 5 stars
5/07/01 Jesse Best. Movie. Evar. 5 stars
5/04/01 ChiefAlDog I'll be proud to show this masterpiece to my kids if I can get Julianne Moore to fuck me. 5 stars
4/28/01 The Jedi Droid "8 year olds dude" a true Coen brothers Classic 5 stars
3/22/01 selman dinler this is perfect film.fuck jules anyway! 5 stars
3/06/01 Scott This movie is hilariously funny,but only after acouple of viewings when the nuances set in 5 stars
2/26/01 The Bomb 69 the dude rocks, very funny stuff, ending was kind of weak though 5 stars
2/05/01 Aiken Drum the dude is my hero 5 stars
1/22/01 jmr best movie ever 5 stars
1/22/01 scorekeeper Don't date a woman who practices yoga. 5 stars
1/08/01 Painful Days "Do you see? Do you see what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass?" Fucking great! 5 stars
1/06/01 Robert Cruickshank I saw it about 8 times in the theater. We'd speak only in lines from the movie for a month. 5 stars
12/05/00 Monday Morning Fall down funny. Every time I think of "White Russians" I laugh. 5 stars
11/03/00 Mark and Bob Simply the best film ever, Coen Brothers rule ! 5 stars
11/03/00 Mark and Bob Simply the best film ever, Coen Brothers rule ! 5 stars
10/12/00 Dan P. Without a doubt the funniest movie ever. It's even better if you fire one up before seeing 5 stars
9/16/00 Wafer awesome movie 5 stars
7/06/00 Matthew Bartley Absolutely hilarious!!! 5 stars
6/06/00 Bob Wombat "The Chinaman is NOT the issue, here!!" Absolutely fucking brilliant!! 5 stars
6/04/00 natasha John Goodman should have gotten an Oscar for this! 5 stars
6/02/00 Wafer Donny! Your out of your fucking element 5 stars
4/08/00 Dan brilliant and probably the funniest movie ive ever seen 5 stars
2/19/00 Neil Austin Top film, although John Goodman only ever said Fuck 5 stars
2/02/00 Steve Buscemi They wouldn't let me get in two words edgewise in this film, then they killed me off. 1 stars
1/13/00 PervertedPixie Now God stand up for bums! 5 stars
11/04/99 Andrew Fleck go, coen brothers, go! 5 stars
9/05/99 Weird Andy Strangely hypnotic. Goodman's character is appreciated more with every viewing. 4 stars
9/05/99 Elizaveta Yeahh Jesus! This film is uniquely hilarious and smart at the same time. 4 stars
8/01/99 hum pretty good 4 stars
7/13/99 Ciaran This film is the bees knees and the cats pyjamas 5 stars
6/27/99 Ed Wood The Dude abides, man ... the Dude abides 5 stars
5/03/99 jenna bean for anyone without ADD this movie is fucking hilarious, great characters and music. 5 stars
2/09/99 Gary What a fuckin great movie dude. Goodman was great and so was Bridges. 5 stars
1/20/99 C Dub Raising Arizona this was not... 2 stars
1/03/99 Charles Dubé Too funny to describe, it may not be your bag, but try it out. The Coen's do it again! 5 stars
12/05/98 grunter shut the fuck up Donny! . . . fuckin' 8 year olds. 5 stars
11/26/98 Mr.Pink Not a Coen masterpiece, but still way better than most director's on their prime. 4 stars
11/25/98 Fred If you didn't like this, it's just your...opinion, man. Go fuck yourself. 5 stars
11/13/98 Jules WHAT??? This too long, badly edited, pointless, predictable piece of shite SUCKED! 2 stars
11/09/98 Spice I'm the dude man! 4 stars
11/08/98 Foxgirl Cool plot,awsome scenario,great actors.Really funny.I loved the Dude. 5 stars
11/06/98 Lord Of The Dunce A little unstructured, even long, but Bridges was perfect. Goodman was too much though. 4 stars
10/24/98 Vincent Some ammusing moments but overall a mess- the Coens are hit-and-miss for me 3 stars
10/14/98 Chi-Fan Hu I didn't get this movie. It put me to sleep 1 stars
9/26/98 Pat Flanagan Some friends and I watched it in our dorm and laughed our asses off! 5 stars
9/24/98 Nate Dogg "The Dude abides..." 4 stars
9/17/98 cheryl_ann very trippy at times, very funny too. i dug it. 5 stars
9/16/98 Lonatic Best comedy since Cheech & Chong's Up In Smoke! Laughed my ass off the whole time! A++++++ 5 stars
9/14/98 Chip Taylor Coen brother are back with whores, money and drugs. 5 stars
9/06/98 U.N.Owens It rocked! I'm still giggling over "Logjammin'" 5 stars
8/24/98 The Vapid Goofball Had some great moments and some crappy ones. 3 stars
8/23/98 Mister Whoopee You're high if you couldn't find fun in this film. 4 stars
8/17/98 Miss Stress maybe this is just a guy flik cuz i hated every minute of it. 2 stars
8/17/98 Matt i dunno what makes a movie 'fun', but thats what this is 5 stars
8/16/98 Johny Coens have done better 3 stars
8/14/98 {{{OZ}}} A fine movie. No Fargo or Raising Arizona, but what is? 4 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  06-Mar-1998 (R)
  DVD: 18-Oct-2005


  09-Apr-1998 (M)

Directed by
  Joel Coen

Written by
  Joel Coen
  Ethan Coen

  Jeff Bridges
  John Goodman
  Julianne Moore
  Steve Buscemi
  John Turturro
  David Huddleston

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast