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!!

Big Fish

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:50 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Big Fish
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, Alison Lohman, Helena Bonham Carter, Robert Guillaume, Matthew McGrory, Steve Buscemi, Danny DeVito
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Columbia Pictures.
Release Date: 2003
Kiddie Movie: The stories are cute, but they might start to get bored.
Date Movie: It’s alright for the both of you.
Gratuitous Sex: There is a butt shot you really probably don’t want to see.
Gratuitous Violence: Not really.
Action: Ehh.
Laughs: Some.
Memorable Scene: The twins are fun to watch.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stands out.
Directed By: Tim Burton

Maybe it was just that I couldn’t get wrapped up in the characters, but there was a point during “Big Fish” where, sure, the stories being told seemed mostly unbelievable yet entertaining, but I just didn’t care anymore. I guess I’ll try to explain this a little better in my review. Let’s go…
“Big Fish” gives us Will Bloom (Billy Crudup). His father, Ed (the older played by Albert Finney, the younger by Obi-Wan Kenobi, oops, I mean Ewan McGregor) has been telling these seemingly tall tales about his lives adventures to anyone who would listen, and Will is finally sick of it, especially when Ed makes himself the center of attention at Will’s wedding by retelling the tale of how Ed was fishing when Will was born. The story is more involved than that, but Will is sick of it because, well, Will knows it isn’t true, that Ed, being a traveling salesman, was just out of town when he was born. It is with this knowledge, knowing that Ed’s most famous story is false, that Will assumes every other tale his father has told him is a lie also. Now that Ed is dying, Will just wants to find out how his Dad really lived his life.

And so “Big Fish” switches from scenes with Will in the present coupled with flashbacks detailing the stories his father has told throughout the years. A couple of the stories go as follow: One involves how this giant named Karl (Matthew McGrory) came to town one day and started eating sheep and livestock. Ed goes to confront the giant, to convince him to leave town, and they become friends and leave together. Along the way they split up for a spell leaving Ed to discover this seemingly fictional town that has you wondering if Ed had an untimely demise, that this place could be heaven, and that as Ed leaves the town, he comes back to life because it wasn’t yet his time to visit there. So Ed hooks back up with Karl, and the both of them end up at the circus. Karl gets hired by Amos Calloway (Danny DeVito), the ringleader at the circus who also might be a werewolf, and Ed goes off to find the love of his life, Sandra (the elder played by Jessica Lange, the younger by Alison Lohman). Okay, I think you get the point that Ed’s stories seem far-fetched, and if that doesn’t make you think so, there’s also the story of Ed parachuting into China to steal some plans to the power-plant only to find conjoined at the hip twins, Ping and Jing, with two bodies and only two legs, so he gets their help to escape China and helps them join the circus with Karl and Amos. You can see how Will has trouble believing his dad’s stories of his life.

And so the story goes on, eventually Ed ends up on his deathbed in the hospital, when Dr. Bennett (Robert Guillaume) puts things into perspective for Will.

Yes, it is a touching story about a son trying to connect with his father, and it has the wackiness and attention to detail that you would expect with Tim Burton directing, but about halfway through the movie, I just didn’t care about the stories that the young Ed was telling. I guess I’ll just leave the review there giving it 2 ½ stars out of 5. If you’re looking for a quirky matinee, go ahead and see “Big Fish.”

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

28 Days

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:43 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

28 Days
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Viggo Mortensen, Steve Buscemi
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Columbia Pictures
Kiddie Movie: Most of the humor is adult oriented. Leave them at home.
Date Movie: It’s a good movie for the both of you.
Gratuitous Sex: Nothing gratuitous.
Gratuitous Violence: Not really violence, but a pretty depressing scene is in there.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Some chuckles and cute spots.
Memorable Scene: I’d tell you, but it would really spoil it.
Memorable Quote: Too many to write down.
Directed By: Betty Thomas
Produced By: Jenno Topping

Can you make a movie about an alcoholic that can treat the subject with a little bit of laughter, with a little bit of seriousness, and get a point across without being preachy? Yes, and the answer is the movie “28 Days.”

“28 Days” stars Sandra Bullock as Gwen. She’s a tad out of control, a happy-go-lucky drunk who mostly has been just lucky. Always partying, waking up wondering how she got there and then cracking open a beer, she’s a party girl with a party lifestyle. She’s out of control and she doesn’t know it. But it’s the morning of her sister’s wedding, she’s running late, grabs her boyfriend and a couple of drinks and ruins her sister’s big day. Wouldn’t that be enough? Nope. Let’s add being drunk, stealing a limo to go buy a new wedding cake, and crashing said limo into someone’s living room. That’s enough to land you in jail or rehab and Gwen opts for rehab. She hasn’t hit rock-bottom yet, that comes a few days into rehab, but eventually she sees the world around her and realizes it’s hers to fix, with a little help from her new friends.

I won’t go into the days at rehab because I think most of that is better found out in the movie-going experience, but the movie does give a comical edge to rehab to keep the movie light, while still throwing in some total seriousness to have you connect a little more with the problems the patients are all facing. And Sandra Bullock with the rest of the cast do this well.

This review is a short one other that to say that “28 Days” is a great movie. I loved Sandra Bullock’s portrayal as Gwen and her transition from party-girl to taking responsibility for what she does. It took a subject that is tough to talk about without either sounding preachy or condescending, or totally making a joke out of it or being so depressing you just want a drink, and made a nice movie that both entertains and tells a story. In the end it’s 4 stars out of 5. I really liked the movie and Sandra is quickly becoming one of my favoritist actresses.

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