The Dude abides, maybe now more than ever. “The Big Lebowski’s” 10th anni arrives with a triple-dip double-disc DVD that will have fans of the immortal Coen brothers comedy stoked. For a film that had some critics scratching their heads and drew middling box office, “The Big Lebowski” has gotten bigger with age, cementing its place as one of the ’90s most beloved cult films.
They may have won Oscars for “Fargo” and “No Country for Old Men,” but a century from now historians may just look upon Joel and Ethan Coen as the filmmaking duo who introduced to the world such potent quotables as “Hey, careful, man, there’s a beverage here!” and “Nobody fucks with the Jesus” — not to mention summing up Jewish history thusly: “Three thousand years of beautiful tradition, from Moses to Sandy Koufax.”
While many films can inspire a drinking game or two, “Lebowski” goes above and beyond, lifting profanity and hilariously jarring non-sequiters to a level rarely seen before or since. While it contains no ubiquitous cross-generational phrases such as “May the force be with you” or “Tomorrow is another day,” “Lebowski” contains lines that virtually guarantee a chuckle when used in everyday life.
The film’s surprising longevity informs much of the two-disc set’s extra features. Indeed, the pic-inspired annual Lebowski Fest (an event that originated in Louisville, Ky., and has been subsequently hosted in such cities as L.A. and Chicago) is profiled in one of the disc’s retrospective extra features. Achievers (“Achievers” are to “Lebowski” as “Trekkers” are to “Star Trek”) trade lines such as “This aggression will not stand, man” and “This is not ‘Nam. This is bowling. There are rules” as they bowl, drink white Russians and bond over their favorite film.
But the undying love for the quirky noir-comedy goes beyond fanatical viewers. Happily, pic stars Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore and John Turturro are still fans of the film a decade on. In a retrospective docu, Bridges says he considers it one of his favorite roles; Goodman and Moore both claim it’s the project for which they get the most recognition on the street; and Turturro practically begs for a spinoff starring his child-molesting bowling character Jesus.
Typically, the Coens sit out much of the extras, save for a 1998 dual interview that’s surprisingly in-depth. Another doc examines the film’s trippy dream sequences (Valkyries, Sadaam and bowling), but it would’ve been better to collapse the two centerpiece docs into one, longer-running feature to avoid content overlap.
True achievers can pick up the limited-edition box set, which stores the two discs in a displayable faux bowling ball. It’ll really tie the room together.