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The Year in Dude Studies.
December 30, 2009 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Dissertations on His Dudeness. (SLNYT) Descriptions of a new book of academic essays on The Big Lebowski such as: "“ ‘The Big Lebowski’ and Paul de Man: Historicizing Irony and Ironizing Historicism”
posted by grapefruitmoon (104 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
I hate it when my historicizing is wrinkled.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:30 AM on December 30, 2009


Yeah, well, that's just, like, THEIR OPINION, maaan...
posted by entropicamericana at 11:30 AM on December 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


Get a job, sir.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:36 AM on December 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


I seriously need to change my worldview. I read this this morning and didn't even think about linking it on MeFi. Another wasted chance! This dude will have to abide, I guess.
posted by m0nm0n at 11:39 AM on December 30, 2009


Dissertation on a Plate of Beans.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:41 AM on December 30, 2009


That article really tied the room together.
posted by OrangeSoda at 11:41 AM on December 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


This aggression will not STAND!
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:42 AM on December 30, 2009


> Ideally you’d read it with a White Russian — the Dude’s cocktail of choice — in hand.

Ideally you'd just watch the movie and give this beanplating a pass.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:44 AM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


You want a toe dissertation on The Big Lebowski? I can get you a toe dissertation on The Big Lebowski, believe me. There are ways, Dude. You don't wanna know about it, believe me.

Hell, I can get you a toe dissertation on The Big Lebowski by 3 o'clock this afternoon... with nail polish footnotes. These fucking amateurs...
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:47 AM on December 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


I saw that movie with my two German former roomates in the theater. One of them asked us what we thought. Each of them stated that they thought it was OK, but that they really didn't get much of what it was about. They turned to me and asked me what I thought.

I said it was one of the top 3 movies I had ever seen and I thought it was incredible.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:51 AM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


[QUOTE FROM THE FILM IN QUESTION]
posted by brundlefly at 11:51 AM on December 30, 2009 [25 favorites]


Say what you will about the tenets of national socialism, dude, at least it’s an ethos.
posted by brundlefly at 11:52 AM on December 30, 2009


I've always had a fondness for this kind of bean-plating. There's a huge world of Whedon Studies, though the quality there can vary greatly. And I really enjoyed Guilty of Literature about pTerry as well.
posted by kmz at 11:53 AM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


It breaks the bank!
posted by fuq at 11:54 AM on December 30, 2009


Oh, also, The Big Lebowski is a movie about being a guilt-free white man and not being able to relate to women. It's too white be to called noir.
posted by fuq at 11:55 AM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I saw that movie with my two German former roomates in the theater. One of them asked us what we thought. Each of them stated that they thought it was OK, but that they really didn't get much of what it was about.

Well, they’re probably fuckin’ nihilists so they don’t get much of anything
posted by Think_Long at 11:55 AM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Uli beanplates everything. He's a Metafist."
"Oh, that must be exhausting."
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:57 AM on December 30, 2009 [9 favorites]


Dissertation on a Plate of Beans.

I'm writing one.
posted by daniel_charms at 11:58 AM on December 30, 2009


Well, I guess we can close the file on that one.
posted by porn in the woods at 11:59 AM on December 30, 2009


The Coens are really great writers, and Lebowski says a lot about what it is to be an American in the 21st century (IMO), so I don't know if this is 'beanplating'.

One time when I was monstorously incapacitated I came up with a unifying theory about Lebowski as it relates to American Imperialism, which I've since forgotten.

I can only assume the essays in the book are better.
posted by codacorolla at 11:59 AM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


From the article: When putting the book together, Mr. Comentale said, he and his co-editor “immediately cut out all the papers celebrating the Dude as a hippie hero in a postmodern landscape.” That’s a sober choice... “We wanted these essays to press the connection between the goofy and the profound.”

Cool! Sounds like it's up my alley. Er, bowling. Alley.
posted by naju at 12:00 PM on December 30, 2009


This is only for people who are not into the whole brevity thing.
posted by sciurus at 12:00 PM on December 30, 2009


TBL is turning into one of those things I can only enjoy if I ignore all of the bullshit surrounding it.
posted by you just lost the game at 12:03 PM on December 30, 2009 [12 favorites]


I guess I'm just completely bent. I like the Coens (generally); I think Jeff Bridges is one of the most underrated actors working; I have been writing and acting in (alleged) comedy for years. I've watched TBL twice. And for whatever reason, I do not understand what people find funny about it. I grinned a couple times, but that's about it. I'm apparently the only guy in the world who doesn't appreciate this movie.
posted by Skot at 12:19 PM on December 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Can we construct a rugless corner for Skot to sit in?
posted by Atreides at 12:23 PM on December 30, 2009


I guess I'm just completely bent. I like the Coens (generally); I think Jeff Bridges is one of the most underrated actors working; I have been writing and acting in (alleged) comedy for years. I've watched TBL twice. And for whatever reason, I do not understand what people find funny about it. I grinned a couple times, but that's about it. I'm apparently the only guy in the world who doesn't appreciate this movie.

Obviously you're not a golfer.
posted by Crane Shot at 12:24 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Obviously you're not a golfer.

It is true that I am not a golfer. HOWEVER! It is also true that IMDB reports that this movie is "down" 22% as of this writing. For those who would suggest that this is a meaningless statistic, well, then, in response, I shall simply lick this bowling ball.
posted by Skot at 12:30 PM on December 30, 2009


Oh, also, The Big Lebowski is a movie about being a guilt-free white man and not being able to relate to women.

You mean coitus?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:30 PM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Skot: I'm apparently the only guy in the world who doesn't appreciate this movie.

I'm impressed. How many questions does it usually take to spot them?

wait what are we doing?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:31 PM on December 30, 2009 [10 favorites]


> Ideally you’d read it with a White Russian — the Dude’s cocktail of choice — in hand.

Or maybe a "White Lebowski" (a white russian made with non-dairy coffee creamer).
posted by 445supermag at 12:33 PM on December 30, 2009


Forget it, Donny Skot, you're out of your element!
posted by RussHy at 12:35 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is this your dissertation, Larry?
posted by anthom at 12:37 PM on December 30, 2009 [10 favorites]


The Dude: [looking at images of the Nexus 6 repicants] And these are uh...
Bryant: Oh, those are Mr. Tyrell's children.
The Dude: Different mothers.
Bryant: No...
The Dude: So genetically, he's pretty cool?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:40 PM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


He say you Lebowski, Lebowski!

Tell him I'm eating.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:43 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't know why he saved my life. Maybe in those last moments he loved life more than he ever had before. Not just his life - anybody's life; my life. All he'd wanted were the same answers the rest of us want. Where did I come from? Where am I going? How long have I got? He died, like so many young men of his generation, he died before his time. In your wisdom, Lord, you took him, as you took so many bright flowering young men at Khe Sanh, at Langdok, at Hill 364.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:53 PM on December 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


Is this book big enough to lay on a coffee table? because I think If i did that it would totally tie the whole room together.
posted by Gungho at 12:54 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm apparently the only guy in the world who doesn't appreciate this movie.

I think it's a very good movie, but I'd rank it around fourth in the Coen Bros. oeuvre. I guess it's their most quotable (I prefer the dialog in Miller's Crossing), and maybe their funniest (Man, Raising Arizona is funny). Good music (but not as good as Oh Brother Where Art Thou?). Maybe it's just the most Coen Bros. of the Coen Bros. movies?
posted by Bookhouse at 12:55 PM on December 30, 2009


I'm apparently the only guy in the world who doesn't appreciate this movie.

So you have no frame of reference here. You're like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie and wants to know...
posted by billysumday at 1:08 PM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Perhaps it is fortuitous timing that this would come out just as I'm putting the last touches on my thesis, This agression will not stand: A critical analysis of latent nihilistic ideology as expressed in Lebwoski/Walter fanfiction.
posted by Humanzee at 1:10 PM on December 30, 2009


Is this your dissertation, Larry?

I am not proud of this, but I have found myself muttering at small children: "This is what happens, Larry. This is what happens, Larry. This is what happens when you find a stranger in the alps."
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:12 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, The Big Four. Add Blood Simple and you've got The Big Five.
posted by ovvl at 1:13 PM on December 30, 2009


One of the great disappointments when I moved to LA was discovering that the bowling alley had been demolished to build a school. Tragic.
posted by mullingitover at 1:13 PM on December 30, 2009


I do not understand what people find funny about it. I grinned a couple times, but that's about it. I'm apparently the only guy in the world who doesn't appreciate this movie.

You need to watch it again.

And again.

And again.

You can't possibly appreciate it in one sitting. It grows on you. Like a fungus. Don't get me wrong, I liked it the first time, but I didn't love it until the third time. And honestly - I do find that it's a pretty good metric for who I connect with: if someone doesn't like The Big Lebowski, chances are we just don't operate on the same wavelength. Which is fine and whatever, but I'm just not going to be able to sit down and finish my coffee with them. No sir, won't be able to enjoy my coffee.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:15 PM on December 30, 2009 [12 favorites]


Jeff Dowd came to Seattle this year for Lebowski Fest. It was hard reminding myself that this was the 'real' dude, no matter how much he wasn't like the movie characterization.
posted by nomisxid at 1:20 PM on December 30, 2009


ovvl: Yeah, The Big Four. Add Blood Simple and you've got The Big Five.

I much prefer Fargo, Barton Fink, The Man Who Wasn't There, and A Simple Man to go with my Big Lebowski as the best of Coen.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:21 PM on December 30, 2009


I'm a Crimewave man.

No, I'm just being difficult.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:28 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


(I prefer the dialog in Miller's Crossing)

Walter: You're a fickle boy, Donny. The Jesus finds out you got another "amigo," well, I don't peg him as the understandin' type.
Donny: Find out? We ain't event been talkin'! Jesus, Walter! Dammit! Jesus!
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:29 PM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


For those who are wondering what the big deal about TBL is, I'd just like to say that sometimes there's a film--I won't say a classic, 'cause what's a classic?--but sometimes there's a film-- and I'm talkin' about the Big Lebowski here-- sometimes there's a film that, well, its the film for its time and place--and that's the Big Lebowski, for the last ten or so years...and even if its a cult film, and the Big Lebowski is certainly that--quite possibly the biggest cult film in the Coen Bros filmography, which would place it high in the runnin' for biggest cult film worldwide--but sometimes there's a film... sometimes there's a film.
posted by brevator at 1:33 PM on December 30, 2009 [10 favorites]


Will nobody stand up for The Ladykillers or Intolerable Cruelty!?!?!

I mean, I won't, because I heard they were terrible and so I didn't watch them.
posted by Skot at 1:35 PM on December 30, 2009


Do you like our marmot?
posted by panboi at 1:46 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Intolerable Cruelty is definitely second-rate Coens, but has its moments and is (IMHO) worth seeing. The Ladykillers is far and away their worst film; I sat through the whole thing and didn't laugh, chuckle or even smile once.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:01 PM on December 30, 2009


This aggression towards Intolerable Cruelty will not stand, man. Clooney and Zeta-Jones are almost as crackling in their on-screen chemistry as Burton and Taylor in Zeffirelli's The Taming of the Shrew.

Someone here obviously isn't a golfer.
posted by rudster at 2:05 PM on December 30, 2009


The first time that my friends sat me down to watch the Big Lebowski, I feel right asleep and only woke up during the dream sequences.

Now we have monthly Little Lebowski (Sub)urban Achiever meetings.

How did that metamorphosis happen?

I watched the film. It was pretty good; a few White Russians helped. Then a couple of months later I got an itch to watch it again. After that, the itch came faster, and it was only a few weeks before I watched it again.

Then I got a hankering to go bowling and knew that I was hooked.

To me, The Big Lebowski is analogous to Calvin and Hobbes. They are the perfect stories, in some way,and communicate all there is to communicate. Talking or writing about them is useless. Through some wizardy Bill Watterson and the Coen Brothers told the complete story. Whatever they said has already been said the best way that it could be. No explanation necessary. Appendices may be ignored.

And I'm sure the feeling that I'm describing is the same one that people who don't get the Big Lebowski have about other movies that I'm sure I wouldn't get. Good thing there's a lot of artists out there.

Well, I lost my train of thought here.
posted by burnfirewalls at 2:09 PM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, I lost my train of thought here.

You see what happens? You see what happens when you FIND A STRANGER IN THE ALPS???
posted by Mcable at 2:13 PM on December 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Blast you, Crane Shot!
posted by rudster at 2:18 PM on December 30, 2009


Will nobody stand up for The Ladykillers or Intolerable Cruelty!?!?!

I mean, I won't, because I heard they were terrible and so I didn't watch them.


Ladykillers is fucking hilarious. Funnier (but not better, I'd say) than TBL. I've always heard that people heard it was bad, but never from anyone who's seen it.

Burn After Reading Might become Lebowski-like for me. There's something so satisfying about the way everyone, including the audience, is denied satisfaction.
posted by cmoj at 2:22 PM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fargo and The Big Lebowski are two of the finest films of the past decade; infinitely rewatchable. Although I love No Country for Old Men and Burn After Reading (haven't seen A Serious Man yet, didn't care for O Brother..., Intolerable Cruelty or Ladykillers), I think the Coen Bros. high-water mark was set in the 1990s. Still, I look forward to their future output like no one else except Scorsese.
posted by porn in the woods at 2:26 PM on December 30, 2009


This post about that book is a nice summary of why English grad departments and the humanities in general are no longer a place for serious work or thought. To grad students: pay back your loans and get a job selling soda and popcorn in your local multiplex.
posted by Postroad at 2:26 PM on December 30, 2009


porn in the woods: haven't seen A Serious Man yet, didn't care for O Brother..., Intolerable Cruelty or Ladykillers

Go see A Serious Man. It's top-notch.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:34 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Burn After Reading is one of the most misanthropic movies made for a mainstream audience. It's awesome.
posted by The Whelk at 2:39 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Hudsucker Proxy will always have a place in my heart. Though, I won't be celebrating tomorrow night at one of those Beatnik bars. Damn proto-hippies!
posted by Atreides at 2:40 PM on December 30, 2009


The Whelk: Burn After Reading is one of the most misanthropic movies made for a mainstream audience. It's awesome.

You sir need more Solondz in your life.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:42 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


(The Whelk goes to sit in the corner with "The Hudsucker Proxy" and sigh.)

Myabe it was cause I saw a lot of movies growing up on a B&W TV and THP is the only movie I'll still turn off the color for - or maybe it's my unexamined love of 50s melodrama - or maybe it's just that scene, when they're flirting on the balcony against a fantasy skyline and the movie swells and there is a perfect fade to black kiss - but The Hudsucker Proxy looms large my childhood imagination not a good movie per say but a movie I wanna crawl inside and live in.
posted by The Whelk at 2:48 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


You sir need more Solondz in your life.

made for a mainstream audience and presented as a comedy. It's so hilariously bleak, almost a burlesque on the subject.
posted by The Whelk at 2:49 PM on December 30, 2009


The Hudsucker Proxy will always have a place in my heart.

I have always been kind of "ehhh" on the Coens. I think it's mostly because I consider "Fargo" one of the most overrated films ever made. However when I saw "Hudsucker" I was shocked at what a good movie it is.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:51 PM on December 30, 2009


I guess I'm just completely bent. I like the Coens (generally); I think Jeff Bridges is one of the most underrated actors working; I have been writing and acting in (alleged) comedy for years. I've watched TBL twice. And for whatever reason, I do not understand what people find funny about it. I grinned a couple times, but that's about it. I'm apparently the only guy in the world who doesn't appreciate this movie.

If it makes you feel any better, I'm with you. I initially chalked it up to not having ever smoked pot, although I think there's more to it than that. I've liked every other Coen Bros. movie I've seen, so it's not a distaste for their work.

I prefer my protagonists likable, I guess? Well, that's not entirely true either, but I spent every time I've watched that move (yes, grapefruitmoon, I've watched it multiple times because it's such a favorite amongst our peers) feeling really really annoyed by all the characters. Annoyance is not a state of mind I chose to cultivate, personally. It's a shame because I feel like an uptight stick-in-the-mud for not liking it, which if you knew me you'd know couldn't be further from the truth.

And I love white russians as my wintertime nightcap of choice, and kind of hate that when I drink them now everyone brings up The Dude.
posted by misskaz at 3:11 PM on December 30, 2009


You know, for kids!

I just saw The Hudsucker Proxy for the first time two days ago and loved it. I've only seen like half of the Coens' ouevre, though.
posted by Target Practice at 3:15 PM on December 30, 2009


Intolerable Cruelty is definitely second-rate Coens, but has its moments and is (IMHO) worth seeing. The Ladykillers is far and away their worst film; I sat through the whole thing and didn't laugh, chuckle or even smile once.

I'm going to get so much hate for this, but that's how I felt about Burn After Reading. I laughed exactly once during the whole movie, and I'm pretty sure what I laughed at wasn't intended to be funny.
posted by Target Practice at 3:17 PM on December 30, 2009


I didn't really respond to Burn After Reading either. It's one of those movies where I know it's good, but I can't really figure out why.
posted by Think_Long at 3:42 PM on December 30, 2009


Now we have monthly Little Lebowski (Sub)urban Achiever meetings.

And proud we are of all of them.
posted by A dead Quaker at 3:57 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I laughed my ass off at "Burn After Reading." Especially the ending.
posted by brundlefly at 4:00 PM on December 30, 2009


Fargo and The Big Lebowski are two of the finest films of the past decade; infinitely rewatchable.
YOU'RE GODDAMN RIGHT I LIVE IN THE PAST!


And Burn After Reading deserves much love; the scene with Malkovich and B. Pitt is fantastic.

"You think that's a Schwinn!"
posted by porn in the woods at 4:12 PM on December 30, 2009


I'm with The Whelk in loving The Hudsucker Proxy. What a fine, fun film.
posted by hippybear at 4:15 PM on December 30, 2009


Seems then that a cult film is a fairly well done film that a very limited audience raises to the level of a religious experience and that only those about to be saved can really value its true meaning ; the rest of us not fully appreciating it grandeur are doomed to eternal damnation.
My grandmother got off on Bruce Lee, Enter the Dragon...She adored that skinny little
guy and the odd sounds he uttered when taking out the bad guys.
posted by Postroad at 4:21 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


KEEP YOUR UGLY FUCKIN' GOLDBRICKIN' ASS OUT OF MY BEACH COMMUNITY.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 4:24 PM on December 30, 2009


*fixes the cable*
posted by jonmc at 4:56 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Burn After Reading and The Ladykillers are pretty shite, but TBL, Fargo, Miller's Crossing, and Hudsucker Proxy are films I can see again and again.
posted by Dumsnill at 5:04 PM on December 30, 2009


Jack: Wang, the Chinaman who stole my truck, I can't go give him a bill, so what the fuck are you talking about?
Wang Chi: What the fuck are you talking about? The Chinaman is not the issue here, Jack. I'm talking about drawing a line in the sand, Jack. Across this line, you DO NOT... Also, Jack, Chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature. Asian-American, please.
Jack: Wang, this isn't a guy who built the railroads here. This is a guy...
Wang Chi: What the fuck are you...?
Jack: Wang, he stole my truck!
Eddie: And your fiance.
Wang Chi: Eddie you're out of your element! Jack, the Chinaman is not the issue here!
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:12 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


This thread is ludicrous.
posted by Stonewall Jackson at 5:22 PM on December 30, 2009


This thread is ludicrous.

I am the walrus?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:57 PM on December 30, 2009


Vladimir Illyich Lenin!

Say, by the way, does anyone know of where I could find a complete script on the internet? The first google result omits the Knox Harrington scene, amongst other differences. Where's a canonical one? Is this a copyright thing?
posted by breath at 6:20 PM on December 30, 2009


And let's not forget the great cameo Jimmie Dale Gilmore had in the film.
posted by lometogo at 6:29 PM on December 30, 2009


Like Scott, I don’t really get The Big Lebowski. The (four?) times I’ve watched it, I couldn’t help but feel that the film tries (so very hard) to mythologize Lebowski but nothing he does is worth mythologizing. Epic evades Lebowski like styrofoam evades static electricity. Lebowski doesn’t seem placid; he seems dumb.

The calm, catatonic, bemused look on Lebowski’s face and the faux Buddhist interjections masquerading as dialogue in TBL irritate my anti-racism bone. Or maybe I don’t like the grandfatherly voiceover. The whole film seems too eager-to-please, obsequious to the wannabe cool kids. In any case, I’m going to rewatch TBL tonight on Netflix Instant View to see if my opinions won’t at least mellow some.

Coen Brothers films I think that can sustain academic attention include Barton Fink, No Country for Old Men, Blood Simple, and Raising Arizona. Publishing an entire book about The Big Lebowski seems something academics would do to convince you they’re hip (photo of “Richard Gaughran, a rather Dude-like English professor at James Madison University and a contributor to the book.”) which to me is a sign that, really, you’re square.
posted by mistersquid at 7:08 PM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


The calm, catatonic, bemused look on Lebowski’s face and the faux Buddhist interjections masquerading as dialogue in TBL irritate my anti-racism bone

It would only be "faux Buddhist" if it were trying to be Buddhist in the first place, which it's not. As for the rest of this sentence, all I can say is, you are being very un-Dude.

I suggest you try a better drug regimine. To keep your mind limber.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:14 PM on December 30, 2009


For those who may think all this interest in 'Dudeness' and the endless quoting is just silly and pointless, I may have a hint of one of the reasons for you. It's not directed at anyone personally, covers some of the obvious stuff, and this can apply to any media that has a 'cult' following, whether film, music, literature, perverse sexual interests, whatever.

With the exponential expansion in available media and information since the 1950's, those who do not follow the straight line of popular culture and stick to it, pay a price. That price is 'shared experience.' For those who live outside the mainstream, to any degree, we lose out on a certain amount of connection with the social herd, from not being interested in what 'the average Joe or Jane' is supposed to be interested in.

Whether it's not being able to talk sports, or get all worked up about the newest celebrity controversy in the news or TV shows, or whatever, we miss out on that a little. So, when one finds a story that you can relate to, in some form, it brings out an intense response, and like-minded people get together in ways one who doesn't 'get it' seem very odd. It's oddly satisfying, in a way, that their confused reaction is a mirror to how we see the everyday popular crap that so many people readily consume with gusto.

Like indie rock or indie film? Then you have only a tiny fraction of the available outlets to choose from. I sometimes think my life would be easier if I liked what's popular. Not that I am saying that if it's popular I wouldn't like it, 'cause that's just being a contrarian ass. It just happens my interests lie outside of the mainstream. I would have more than a handful of radio stations in the country to listen to, more than five or six TV channels that might have something good on, I could go to any theater and see films I like, not just a midnight showing that sells out in a day, or not have to go through so much of a pain to make sure I can get tickets to see the bands I like, who have to play in shitty little venues, etc. It would be easier, but it's not, so tough shit for me.

That intense response I mentioned includes discussion and investigation of why we are so digging on this particular thing, and how this particular thing is not like the 'average stuff' and has brought so many like-minded people together who would never know the others existed. It's a vortex of navel-gazing, but great fun for those who dig it.

Those who have found some sort of natural resonance with the story and performance in The Big Lewbowski, seek each other out. We're having our own shared experience dammit, and we're going to experience the hell out of it.

/Off the cuff dissertation over
posted by chambers at 7:27 PM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Publishing an entire book about The Big Lebowski seems something academics would do to convince you they’re hip

Perhaps, but if you didn't get the film, then maybe that's not what they're trying to do at all. Although, plate of beans ... the Dude is a philosopher, but not an academic.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:29 PM on December 30, 2009


"I couldn’t help but feel that the film tries (so very hard) to mythologize Lebowski but nothing he does is worth mythologizing. Epic evades Lebowski like styrofoam evades static electricity. Lebowski doesn’t seem placid; he seems dumb."

That is Zen right there. One does not need epic quests to show the a hint of the nature of Zen.

He does by not doing. But not by trying not to do things.
posted by chambers at 7:34 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Quasi. I should have said, “quasi.”
posted by mistersquid at 7:36 PM on December 30, 2009


By the way, this film really does have a far-reaching cultural impact.

A good friend here, the ultimate hippie ski bum who owns a pizza shop at the base of the mountain loves, loves The Big Lebowski. Well, you'd expect that, wouldn't you? But that's not where the effects end.

One of my clients is an orthopaedic surgeon, and I've been to his house many times. Recently the family adopted a puppy, essentially their family dog, because their son is old enough now. They named him Dude, and TBL is their inspiration. He's a labradoodle, so he does sorta look the part - not sure if that makes sense, but it sounds about right ...
posted by krinklyfig at 7:42 PM on December 30, 2009


“When we first put out a call for papers, we received about 200 proposals,” said Mr. Comentale, an associate professor of English at Indiana University, Bloomington, whose previous books include “Modernism, Cultural Production and the British Avant-Garde” and “T. E. Hulme and the Question of Modernism.”
Well. Aren't they the Little Lebowski urban achievers.

I liked it the first time, but I didn't love it until the third time.

I think I always already loved the Dude (and Walter and Donny and ... )
posted by octobersurprise at 8:04 PM on December 30, 2009


the film tries (so very hard) to mythologize Lebowski but nothing he does is worth mythologizing

Exactly.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:31 PM on December 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's addressed at the end of the film:

DUDE: You thought, hey, a deadbeat, a loser, someone the square community won't give a shit about.
LEBOWSKI: Well? Aren't you?
DUDE: Well. . . yeah.
posted by breath at 9:12 PM on December 30, 2009


Epic evades Lebowski like styrofoam evades static electricity.

If you begin with the notion that this is intentional - a feature rather than a bug, as they say - you might be able to extrapolate from there to the reason why it's one of the best films in the history of cinema.

That . . . and six other guys . . .
posted by gompa at 9:48 PM on December 30, 2009


That . . . and six other guys . . .

It increases the chances of conception.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:59 PM on December 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I like the film better after rewatching it, sort of like my liking Don DeLillo’s White Noise better after a third reading. Part of me wonders, though, if I’m susceptible to all the Dude hype or if I’m kissing-and-making up after harshing on the paean to The Dude.

That Comentale “cut out all the papers celebrating the Dude as a hippie hero in a postmodern landscape” seems OK as long as we’re talking about “celebrating” “a hippie hero” because postmodern is all over this text and any discussion of this film without mentioning as much to some extent has to reinvent the wheel.

Lastly, given its linkage to The Big Sleep,* I can see more clearly and appreciate more fully the rendering of noir in the the grime-and-opulence context of early ’90s L.A.

*Props to uncle Mike.
posted by mistersquid at 10:06 PM on December 30, 2009


Did all of you miss the 70s?

The Dudes were not quite so ... oh well ... nevermind. That's Hollywood.
posted by Surfurrus at 11:36 PM on December 30, 2009


I reckon it's just one of those texts that is really a magnet for thesis projects as it has so many trajectories. Every time I watch it I see something new to laugh about. I think my thesis would be on the "The Slow, Hilarious Death of The Dude's Ford Torino = Metaphor for Everything." Even after continued re-viewings, I still laugh-til-tears whenever that poor car suffers a new degradation, all that broken glass/hobo toileting/joint induced crash before its inferno denouement.
posted by honey-barbara at 12:53 AM on December 31, 2009


This thread is as profound as Jackie Treehorn's urgent phone message.
posted by vicx at 3:17 AM on December 31, 2009


This thread is as profound as Jackie Treehorn's urgent phone message.

Which is exactly the point where - on the second viewing - I started loving the film.
posted by hawthorne at 4:43 AM on December 31, 2009


Did all of you miss the 70s?

Yep. And every decade before that too. Pretty much, everything prior to the Reagan administration - safe to say, I missed it.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:02 AM on December 31, 2009


Did all of you miss the 70s?

Yep. And every decade before that too.


Sorry, that question was sort of rhetorical. I remember being a bit confused about my daughter's raving about TBL. I still don't get it. But, from this discussion I see that she was too young to remember 'the dudes' in their original setting. The Coens' nostalgic rendering screens out the grit.
posted by Surfurrus at 12:59 PM on December 31, 2009


the faux Buddhist interjections

is that some sort of eastern thing?
posted by brevator at 1:06 PM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Coens' nostalgic rendering screens out the grit.

Yes, but the Coens aren't known for their realism. Surrealism, maybe.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:07 PM on December 31, 2009


Yes, but the Coens aren't known for their realism. Surrealism, maybe.

The Coen's make movies that take place In The Movies, they're nothing if not homages, pastiches, tweaks, inversions, or explorations of particular Movie Language and Styles. It's not Surrealism, it's very realistic - provided your real world is The Movies. Which is awesome.
posted by The Whelk at 4:37 PM on December 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


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