The Big Lebowski

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:57 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The Big Lebowski
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, David Huddleston
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Grammercy Pictures
Release Date: 1998
Kiddie Movie: I doubt they’d get the humor.
Date Movie: She’ll love it or hate it.
Gratuitous Sex: Some nudity, but no real sex.
Gratuitous Violence: Some beating up of some people.
Action: Some gunfire.
Laughs: I laughed a lot.
Memorable Scene: A bunch of them.
Memorable Quote: Too many for me!
Directed By: Joel Coen

From the reaction in the theater, I’m going to guess there are only going to be two types of people seeing “The Big Lebowski”: Those that think it is hilarious, and those that think it sucks. There won’t really be much in the middle, I don’t think, but for me, I’m in the first category – I thought it was hilarious.

“The Big Lebowski” is from the same folks who brought us “Fargo.” It definitely ain’t no “Fargo,” and it really teaches you one thing – If a stranger comes in to your apartment and pisses on your rug, just clean it up, go bowling, and don’t tell your Vietnam Vet bowling partner.

The story of “The Big Lebowski” sort of goes like this: Jeff Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) is “The Dude.” He is mistaken for a really rich dude, The Big Lebowski, and a couple of thugs come to The Dude’s apartment seeking money that The Big Lebowski’s wife owes. Well, The Dude can’t help them, so the one guy pisses on The Dude’s rug. When The Dude tells his buddy Walter (John Goodman), Walter, the crazed Vietnam Vet dude, convinces The Dude that he should go to The Big Lebowski and demand a new rug. Well, if I give the entire story’s twists and turns this review will go on for days, so I’ll cut to the chase. The Dude gets hired by The Big Lebowski to be the bagman for his wife who is kidnapped. The Dude ends up involving Walter, the money drop doesn’t go as planned, The Big Lebowski’s sister gets involved, you get some German nihilists, and a porn king. And then you have poor The Dude, who finds himself wrapped up in a goofy plot for money when he would have rather been either smoking pot, drinking white russians, or bowling (or maybe all three at the same time).

Does it sound goofy? Well, it is, but that is why I loved this film. The odd-ball friendship between The Dude, Walter, and Donny (Steve Buscemi) as bowling partners and friends works brilliantly, especially with the intertwining of the kidnapping mystery. Then there is the portrayal of life in L.A., which, well, even if it’s wrong, it’s sort of what I pictured.

Honestly, I really don’t know what else to say about “The Big Lebowski” except I laughed my ass off. You might too, or you might leave the theater just saying something like “Boy, that was stupid.” So, I guess all I can really say is if you like twisted movies poking fun at lifestyles (bowling, laid-back, psycho veteran, porno king, Los Angeles, a wealthy philanthropy guy, bimbo wife, whacked-out artistic sister, and more), then you will probably like “The Big Lebowski.” Otherwise, maybe go play some miniature golf.

From me, I give “The Big Lebowski” 4 stars out of 5. You might give it the same, or you might give it only 1. I doubt you’d give it a 3. Oh well – to each their own sometimes!

That’s it for this one, I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!

Arlington Road

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:57 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Arlington Road
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Tim Robbins, Jeff Bridges
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Columbia Pictures
Directed By: Mark Pellington

What would you do if you found out your goody-two-shoes neighbor is really an architect for some terrorist bombings? That seems to be the premise of “Arlington Road.,” where Jeff Bridges finds out that his neighbor, Tim Robbins, has been blowing up buildings. Nobody seems to believe him, and he doesn’t really have the proof to get the feds involved, but Jeff seems to know, Tim finds out, Tim kidnaps Jeff’s kid, and the action sequence is on.

This looks like a decent thriller type film, but I’m kind of worried about the ending falling apart. I see Jeff saving his kid, saving a big-ol’ building from blowing up, and Tim Robbins ending up dead or being caught. I hope I didn’t ruin it for myself.

I’ll wait and see on this one.

That’s it for this preview! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Tron: Legacy

MPAA Rated – PG
It’s 2:05 Long
A Blu-ray Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Tron: Legacy
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde
MPAA Rated: PG
Released By: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Kiddie Movie: It’s a tad violent, so not too young.
Date Movie: Especially if she’s a little geeky.
Gratuitous Sex: Skimpy outfits, mostly.
Gratuitous Violence: It’s Disney and PG, so nothing horrible.
Action: Lots of chasing and running.
Laughs: Some snickers.
Memorable Scene: The Game Grid is cool.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stands out.
Directed By: Joseph Kosinski
Cool things about the Blu-ray? The “making of” stuff is nicely detailed so you don’t get the feeling it was just thrown together, but for shear interactive Tron-ness grab your iPad or laptop and use the Second Screen feature.

I barely remember the original “Tron.” Sure, I played the game on my Intellivision, but in my movie world, if my life depended on remembering any of the story, well, it’s a good thing that “Tron: Legacy” has a 5-Disc, 2-Movie combo pack that includes not just “Tron: Legacy” on Blu-ray, but the original “Tron” on Blu-ray as well, a Digital copy of “Tron: Legacy” for portability, a basic DVD of the new one and, if that weren’t enough, if you’ve popped for that new Blu-ray 3D TV and have been looking for an entertaining movie to watch on it, well, this set has one of those as well!  Yup, there is no excuse for you to not be assimilated into all things “Tron,” but so that this review isn’t too long, let’s pick up where the first movie left off…

In “Tron: Legacy” we find that it’s been a number of years since Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) disappeared from his son, Sam’s (Garrett Hedlund), life.  Sam has always been a rebellious son, even though technically in charge of ENCOM, his father’s company.  As it goes, after ruining a software release for ENCOM and posting bail, his father’s old confidante tracks down Sam and lets him know that he received a page, from Dad.  So Sam is on a quest to the old arcade, finds a trap door, gets sucked into the computer game Dad was sucked into, and when he realizes things aren’t well on the Grid (that’s the computer world), he also realizes he can save his Dad.

So, with the help of Quorra, a resident of The Grid, Sam is able to survive a bit, and eventually Sam, Kevin, and Quorra realize that Clu, who is now the “Ruler” of The Grid, is trying to build an army to enter our real world, take it over, and make it better.

Sure, it sounds a little confusing on paper, but even for me, who couldn’t remember a lick of most of the original, “Tron: Legacy” did a nice job of moving along and bringing you into the story.  There are some scenes that, if you aren’t watching it in 3D, will say “Come on, already!”, but in terms of entertainment in your living room, I liked “Tron: Legacy” and think you won’t even have to be a geek to like it.

Visually the movie is pretty stunning and part of me would love to run out and buy a 3D TV but damn, I still hate those glasses, even though I’m guessing it looks even better in 3D!  Acting-wise things are what they are, but you get some fun action and just some popcorn fun.  It’s 3 ½ stars out of 5 for “Tron: Legacy.”

Now in terms of the Blu-ray package and the various extras, gosh, where to start?  Well, in terms of normal stuff you get some pretty good looks at how things are made and that, even though technology has made the movie look a hell of lot better than the original, the challenges are still many to bring a movie about a fictional “game” universe to the big screen.  Some stuff is throw-away, I suppose, unless you are a Daft Punk fan and really want to watch the video of “Derezzed,” but in terms of shear movie interaction, Disney has included their “Second Screen” extra, which allows you to use your iPad or laptop to follow along with movie, synching the extra coolness, views, and tidbits for you on your device while you watch the movie.  It’s pretty cool, and a lot more fun than things just popping up on the TV screen.

So, in the end, I’ve got to say that in terms of movie-packaging, Disney did a great job with “Tron: Legacy,” especially if you opt for the 5-disc package.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!