10 Years Out: “The Big Lebowski”
UPDATE: “American Masters” TV show to feature Jeff Bridges. More info here.
We don’t usually write about movies here, but we thought we’d break the rules today to celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Big Lebowski. The 1998 film by Ethan and Joel Coen stars Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi and John Turturro. Here’s the thing: The Big Lebowski is a rock and roll movie. If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about; if you haven’t, you know what you need to do.
There’s a character named the Dude. There’s a guy named Lebowski,there are achievers, nihilists, a girl named Bunny and a guy named Jesus. There are guns, bowling, drug use, sex, rock and roll, an amputated little toe and a purple jumpsuit. There’s a rug that ties the whole room together. There are references to Metallica, the TV show “Branded,” In-and-Out Burger and, of course, the Eagles. The word “dude” is used 161 times in the movie (once in the credits). The word “man” is spoken by the Dude 147 times. And the f-word, or a variation of the f-word, is used 281 times. F***kin’ Awesome! Man.
Recently there have been a few really great articles on the internets about Lebowski, I suggest you read those – Rolling Stone magazine is a good place to start. In fact, here’s a paragraph I lifted that’s nearly as hilarious as the movie. It comes at the end of a piece on how soundtrack producer T-Bone Burnett gathered some of the eclectic musical selections heard in the movie:
A tougher get was Townes Van Zandt’s cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Dead Flowers,” which plays over Lebowski’s closing credits. “[Former Stones manager] Allen Klein owns the rights to it,” Burnett says. “He wanted $150,000.” Burnett begged Klein to just come down and watch an early cut of Lebowski. “It got to the part where the Dude says, ‘I hate the fuckin’ Eagles, man!’ Klein stands up and says, ‘That’s it, you can have the song!’ That was beautiful.” For the record, Burnett agrees with the Dude (“[The Eagles] sort of single-handedly destroyed that whole scene that was brewing back then,” he says), but the line infuriated Glenn Frey. “I ran into [Frey] and he gave me some shit,” Jeff Bridges says. “I can’t remember what he said exactly, but my anus tightened a bit.”
And as we approach an important moment in our country, you should remember: Sometimes, there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. I won’t say a hero, ’cause what’s a hero? Sometimes there’s a man, sometimes, there’s a man. Well, I’ve lost my train of thought here. But … aw, hell, I’ve done introduced it enough.
YouTube: “The F***king Short Lebowski”