Online Portfolio

The Big Lebowski

I have finished reading The Year's Work: The Big Lebowski edited by Aaron Jaffe and Edward P. Commentale.  It has 21 essays in it from 21 different contributors, academic ones.  They take the movie, shake it, turn it upside down, rearrange all that has fallen, and put it back in again. 

I've seen the movie twice, and did not look that deep into it.  I liked it better the second time I saw it, and after having read the book, I will probably like it even more the next time I see it.  Reading this book is interesting, not just for the ideas and cultural critique presented in the essays, but also because it retells the story of The Big Lebowski, but in a non-linear way.  Each essay references different parts in the movie.  The last time I saw it was quite a number of years ago, and my memories of it are vague.  The book has refreshed my memories of it, in my imagination.  Now I'm using my imagination to piece together all these different parts of the movie.  I'm using memory and imagination. 

I have been called a "Dude" before, twice, in fact.  It was outside of a bar, and it was a woman who said it, on both occasions.  Different women, but they were similar in appearance and mannerisms. It was outside the same bar. I took it as a compliment, because the Dude is living the life.  He makes a good case for communism.  He is a fantasy of not-working.  Getting high, bowling, drinking "Caucasians". 

The Coen brothers say they didn't try to make the movie so subconsciously appealing. They didn't expect the academic book, or the cult following.  They put a severed toe in it as an idea, and worked around that idea.  The toe represents castration, and there are many more references to castration in the movie, like the marmot in the bathtub, and the German nihilists.  The Coen brothers went to film school, and probably know their Laura Mulvey.  She is a feminist.  The Coen brothers probably didn't mean to make their film as analogy for a quest for the grail, but one author makes a good case for it being so. 

I like No Country For Old Men and True Grit, also directed by the Coen Brothers.  They are based on books.  I like the books, too.  Now you know. 

No comments: