What can be said about the Big Lebowski that hasn't already been said about chocolate and sex? Its perfect. The dialogue, the directing, the acting and the soundtrack all add up to one hell of a film. This dark comedy, directed by the double-headed hydra of directing, Ethan and Joel Coen puts a slew of oddball characters in an improbable situation. The story is basically the quest of a man who is seeking compensation for a rug of his that was "micturated" upon. Honestly though, this movie could be about waiting in line at the fucking DMV and it would be hilarious just because of the characters.
The story is centered around Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski(Jeff Bridges). A lazy layabout who's primary concerns in life are bowling and making sure he has enough milk for his White Russians. Jeff Bridges is enthralling in this role. Every little mannerism, every little speech pattern is perfect. Every word uttered from his mouth is pure gold. Not one word is wasted on his character. Everything he says is perfect. His attitude is one of general nonchalance. His uncaring demeanor is more than enough to get you laughing. He doesn't even have to do anything, he could just be sitting there and he would have you laughing. Bridges really delivers his greatest performance in this role. A true masterpiece.
Along for the ride are his two friends and bowling teammates Walter Sobchak(John Goodman) and Donny Kerabatsos(Steve Buscemi). The chemistry between these two is amazing. Walter is a powder keg. A Vietnam vet who can relate his war experiences to just about anything, whether it be a cup of coffee or a funeral. Walter is a bomb ready to explode at any second, though he claims to be "perfectly calm". Donny is the antithesis of Walter. Naive and optimistic, Donny is the spark which often ignites Walters rage. His questioning attitude is found by Walter to be impertinent and just plain irritating. Donny and Walter are like water and oil, they just don't mix. Yet they remain friends, and good friends at that. The chemistry between Goodman and Buscemi is amazing in every scene. Their performances makes for some of the greatest laughs in the film. Truly one of a kind.
This film is also home to a great supporting cast. David Huddleston plays "The Other" Jeffrey Lebowski. A conservative millionare who couldn't be any further on the opposite end of the spectrum from his namesake. Huddleston's grumpy and pessimistic attitude inspires quite a few laughs. "The Other" Lebowski's sycophantic and rather creepy assistant, Brandt, is played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Like everyone in the film, Hoffman really dove headfirst into this role and produced something very unique. A very unusual performance is given by Hoffman, not one that we have seen of him before, nor one we will probably see again. Julianne "Redbeard" Moore plays Maude Lebowski(daughter to Huddlestons character). A feminist, avant garde artist and general weirdo, Maude has an interest in The Dude beyond what meets the eye. Very active in feminine rights, Maude finds her art to be "strongly vaginal". Julianne Moore brings to the table a wonderful performance, not one to soon be forgotten. Sam Elliot rounds off the supporting cast as the narrator, simply named "The Stranger". His deep and soothing voice adds an element to the film that couldn't be found anywhere else in the movie. He gets a couple scenes as well, and some very memorable lines.
The soundtrack is one of the best I have ever seen and probably ever will see. From classic Creedence tunes, to obscure Bob Dylan and Townes Van Zandt recordings, the soundtrack sets the tone for the film and provides a setting for the story that makes it very pleasing and all the more enjoyable to watch.
The Coens are truly an unstoppable force. Even after Raising Arizona and Fargo, they still manage to bring to the table something unique and unlike anything we've ever seen. These two are truly one of a kind directors, and have continued to prove themselves as a powerhouse in the business with 2000's O' Brother Where Art Thou and the 2007 adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel, No Country For Old Men(2007 Academy Award Winner for Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Directing). Only good things can come of these two in the future.
All in all, The Big Lebowski remains and always will remain, my favorite movie of all time. The first time I watched it, I'll admit, I didn't get a whole lot of it, but I still laughed my ass off. But that's what makes it so awesome. You can watch it a million times and still find something new to laugh at. Something you didn't notice before. Its a movie that never gets old, and never will. A true classic that's not only an amazing comedy, but an amazing film all together.