Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Week 52: The Big Lebowski

Dear Avid Reader,

Oh movie blog, I knew him well Horatio. As Aristotle said, "The End Of Labor Is To Gain Leisure". And so I guess I now gain some leisure.

Or whatever.

Hey Careful Man, There's A Beverage Here

I have tried for a week to write this final blog entry. I'm not sure what is causing the writer's block. Maybe it's something to do with the fact that I think this essay has to be better than the others. Or that there needs to be closure. I'm not sure, but I do know that I have started this like three times already and I am determined to finish on this one.

And I find it fitting that the final blog entry is about a movie that has kind of an interesting ending for me: all the characters end up where they started. Well, Donny is dead and Maude is pregnant, but everyone else returns to their earlier situations. The Dude is a penniless bum, Treehorn doesn't have his money, Bunny and Lebowski are still together, and nobody fucks with the Jesus. In fact, sometimes I just skip the final monologue and start watching something else. For me, the movie ends on "The Dude Abides". And I abide in that.

So What Are You Telling Me, When You Get Divorced, You Turn In Your Library Card, You Get A New License, You Stop Being Jewish?

But perhaps the fact that I haven't been able to get a head of steam is that I've really been looking forward to this flick. I've been planning for this to be the last movie since January. I guess I have built up what this essay would to me personally be too much. This is a theme for me, because I like endings. They are convenient when trying to assess how something (or myself) is doing. Once something finishes, a true analysis can begin. That's probably why older bands can be better than newer bands. The whole story can be examined. Or whatever.

But even though I like endings, it's hard for me to decide on what this ending should be. This is because the other reason I like endings is because I get bored. If the thing would just end, I could check it off in my mind and then move on to the next thing. I like processing culture. It feels good. But this restlessness means that my mind encounters static as I try and write. I wish I could write effective onomatopoeia right now. Zzzzzrrshhhzzrrshh, is lacking somehow.

I'm Not Messing With Your Special Lady

Let's take it from this tack. The Big Lebowski kind of encapsulates what I like in art. On the surface, it's a comedy, with wacky characters and snappy dialogue. And the movie can be enjoyed on that level, but there are things happening all around that add depth. First, the whole thing is an homage to film noir and the film has inside jokes for fans of the form. It also has beautiful dream sequences that are surreal and fascinating. The characters are real and meaty and the interplay between them is superb.

And there are truly dark parts of the film. The fight outside the bowling alley for one is comical, but very violent. Walter's rage is palpable. And the sheriff of Malibu is truly menacing. But my favorite part of the darker side is The Dude's powerlessness. It is a film noir convention that the antagonist is lost in world of shadowy forces, but to work that into what is essentially a comedy is amazing. Lot of ins, a lot of outs in this movie.

He Fixes The Cable?

Why my wife doesn't like this movie is beyond me. Maybe it's a gender thing. Whereas Dirty Dancing is the feminine side of awesome, The Big Lebowski is the masculine side. But what is universal is the appreciation for complexity, for subtlety. It's why people like wine. It's why I like punk music, and They Might Be Giants. There is something on the surface, and something, maybe something that is an opposite, laid underneath. It's harmony. It's balance.

It's an ending. But it could also be a beginning.

Until Next I Blog,


1 comment:

Clarice said...

This was one of the first movies I saw in college while hanging out with a bunch of guys. It introduced me to this whole world of movies outside of ROMCom and for that I love it.