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ACMI Re/commends: The Big Lebowski

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In these times of isolation, we may find ourselves rewatching old favourites. To this end, think of The Big Lebowski (1998) as the weighted blanket of nostalgic 90s cinema. All it asks is that you just, like, chill out. 

Joel and Ethan Coen wrote, produced and directed this crime comedy starring Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski; a loveable slacker, bowler and white Russian drinker. After a case of mistaken identity (rugs were involved, man), The Dude is tasked with delivering a ransom to secure the release of a millionaire’s kidnapped wife. Like most Coen brothers' films, the plot is not a simple point a to b proposition, so we’ll leave it at that for now lest we reveal any spoilers. 

In standard comedy-of-errors style The Dude is helped, though mainly hindered, by his slightly unhinged sidekick Walter (John Goodman), who’s responsible for a good chunk of the film’s eminently quotable dialogue, and kind-hearted friend Donny, played by cult movie favourite Steve Buscemi.  

The strong supporting cast, including Julianne Moore, John Turturro and Philip Seymour Hoffman, play a mixed bag of larger than life characters who cause enough chaos to keep things from slipping into entry-level stoner movie territory. 

A Coen brothers' film is a safe bet at any time, but what makes this particular film so perfect is that we can all use a little of that Dude energy right now. Take the pressure off, wear that robe at 2pm, go with the flow. I think The Stranger (played by eternal cowboy Sam Elliot) says it best: 

“The Dude abides. I don't know about you, but I take comfort in that. It's good knowin' he's out there. The Dude. Takin' it easy for all us sinners.”

– Imogen Craddock Kandel, Communications Manager, ACMI

See streaming options for The Big Lebowski on JustWatch.


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