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The Big Lebowski was one of those movies that just wasn’t appreciated when it hit theaters. It was mostly critically panned and the box office wasn’t particularly mind-blowing. Later, in second run theaters and on home video the film found its following and has since gained a strong cult following.

The Movie

Jeff Bridges is “The Dude” a slacker living life as it comes; drinking white Russians and bowling when he’s got a few bucks to pay for a game. Through a series of bizarre events the Dude finds himself mixed up in a kidnapping and ransom attempt. A wealthy elderly man offers Lebowski a boat load of cash to simply deliver ransom money to kidnappers that have taken his young trophy wife. At the same time the Dude and his motley crew of friends are competing in a bowling tournament. It turns out that Lebowski is a pawn of everyone, his friends, and his enemies but he’s seldom truly bothered by it unless one of them makes him spill his white Russian. There are some twists in turns in what is essentially a doublecrossing mystery noir film that are a little predictable but they don’t matter because the movie is really about the characters. These characters are so unusual that it would be entertaining to watch them do laundry, (“the whites”) and even more so what actually happens in this film.

The Big Lebowski is definitely one of the Coen brothers more bizarre films, not necessarily in story but definitely in visual execution and overall atmosphere. Once you settle into this slightly off kilter world that the Coen Brothers have created there’s a lot of fun here and even some emotional beats. It’s sort of a leisurely paced film matching the lifestyle and philosophy of the Dude himself and the Sam Elliot bookends of the film just sell the story and even the emotional weight of the film perfectly.

Small roles in the film are scene stealers including Julianne Moore as an extremely quirky artist and Flea from the red Hot Chili Peppers as a nihilist both come to mind. The movie is stylish, funny, and unendingly quotable. What did critics hate so much about this film when it came out? It’s radically different than some of the Coen’s other movies at the time but truthfully if you cross Miller’s Crossing and Raising Arizona (two other Coen films) you start to get a little close to what The Big Lebowski is. So with that in mind this is truly a quintessential Coen Brothers film.


The Video

This 1080p presentation is all new from the source material for this limited release. Colors are well balanced and vibrant with black levels coming off inky and dark without crushing detail. Contrast is cranked just a little but not to a negative degree. There’s a bit of grain but it’s film grain not grain from print damage or age. This is easily the best the film has ever looked at home.


The Audio

The DTS HD Master Audio presentation is a mixed bag of fantastic and just plain odd. Overall the mix is great, dialogue is clean and clear and music is crip and loud. This is a character film driven by dialogue so there aren’t many opportunities for playing with the soundstage but there are a few instances where the entire soundstage leans to the left for no apparent reason. Why? Also there are a few brief instances of dialogue sounding sort of hollow. With that said most of the film sounds great.


The Packaging and Bonus Features

The blu-ray comes packaged in a 28 page booklet with nice art and some great cover embossing. The packaging is sturdy and plush. All of the bonus features from previous releases of the film have been brought to this release along with a few exclusives.

There’s a goofy and fun introduction to the film featuring a film preservationist. The Dude’s Life is a montage of cast and crew interviews presented in HD. The Dude Abides features interviews with cast and crew reflecting on the 10 year anniversary of the film. Making the Big Lebowski is a making of documentary focused mostly on the casting and some mutual back slapping. The Lebowski Fest: An Achiever’s Story is a preview of a feature documentary about the festivals that have sprung up around the film’s fandom. Flying Carpets and Bowling Pin Dreams: The Dream Sequence of The Dude is a really short look at the creation of the dream sequence. The Interactive Map is a map of events from the movie that can be clicked to reveal brief clips from the film and video about the particular sequence. There’s a short piece about the photo book Jeff Bridges created for the cast and crew from pictures he took during production. Then of course there’s the expected photo gallery.

Exclusive to the blu-ray are some U Control options for viewing the film; a picture in pucture mode where more info about the story, the characters, and the cast is shared, a pop up trivia game, an option to allow a counter to run during viewing that counts every f bomb, and a music identifier mode which offers up information on the song that’s playing and an option to buy the song right from iTunes. These U Control features honestly feel a little gimmicky.

There’s a ton of extras here. Most of the really great stuff comes from previous releases of the film but it’s nice to have everything in one place. Ummm where’s a director’s commentary?


The Big Lebowski is a masterpiece of bizarre character interactions and artistic and unique vision along with being an entertaining and distinctively non-elitist story. It’s a must see for Coen Brothers fans and a should see for anyone calling themselves a fan of film.

Overall (Not an Average) 9/10

The Review
The Movie 9/10
The Video 9/10
The Audio 7.5/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 8.5/10
Overall (Not an Average) 9/10