Believe it or not, I didn’t enjoy THE BIG LEBOWSKI when I first saw it in theaters 20 years ago. In general, the Coens are hit or miss for me and there was nothing about THE BIG LEBOWKSI that stood out for me. I gave the movie a few years and then I finally revisited it on DVD and at that point, I loved it. Enough time has passed now where I figured I was in the minority with my initial reaction and after meeting so many people that love the film and even reading about the Lebowski Festival, I kind of forget that not everyone loves THE BIG LEBOWSKI.
I’ve attempted to explain why people don’t like the movie, but it’s difficult. I think it comes down to how you feel about The Dude himself. If you dig the way Jeff Bridges portrays him and find what he says funny, you’ll inevitably love the film. But if you can’t find the humor and brilliance in the performance, it’s going to be a long two hours. Personally, I recognize The Dude as the true American hero and a version of what everyone wants to be; no job, no worries, no commitments. Heck, he doesn’t even bother putting on real clothes in the morning. There’s something freeing about that and I think that’s one of the reasons people love him so much.
As for the movie itself, the subtle nature of the Coens comes through in spades in THE BIG LEBOWKSI. Sometimes their approach to film-making can be nerve wracking (A SERIOUS MAN comes to mind), but in movies like this and FARGO, their understated humor is crafted brilliantly and the result is an ingenious movie. The Dude stumbles through a pretty serious situation with a relaxed, easygoing demeanor, which allows the Coens to play with more serious elements without ever weighing down the actual tone of the film. If anything, we want more serious things to happen just so we can see how The Dude is going to handle it.
I don’t know if there has ever been a better fit of an actor to a character than Jeff Bridges and The Dude, but I think I speak for all fans of THE BIG LEBOWSKI when I say that The Dude is a friend I wish I had. Jeff Bridges was already established as a great actor, but in THE BIG LEBOWSKI, he shows just how likeable he can be. He’s surrounded by a talented supporting cast, starting with the always great John Goodman and Steve Buscemi. But again, it’s Bridges’s reactions to some of the things that happen or are said that sell the movie and the story.
If you’ve seen THE BIG LEBOWSKI once and you didn’t like it, then I strongly urge you to give it another chance. If you love the movie, then this cool collector’s set was probably made with you in mind.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: Previous releases of THE BIG LEBOWSKI tended to look pretty polished, which pleased some movie fans. But this 4K presentation presents the film in a more natural light, which will please everyone else. The detail is amped up on this release, showing more clarity and definition then I’ve ever seen in this film. Everything from the clothing to the closeups is highlighted and it looks fantastic. This is probably how the Coens wanted the film to look and it’s easily the best it has ever appeared on home video.
Audio: Along with the improved video presentation, we get a nice DTS:X track. This film doesn’t require an amazing sound system, but try not to dance when The First Edition’s ‘Just Dropped In’ starts booming through your system.
There are no 4K exclusive special features, but it does include a Blu-ray of the film, which contains all of the special features from the previous Limited Edition Blu-ray. It also comes with a very nice Limited Edition gift set as you can see below.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.