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Movie Review

The Big Lebowski

MPAA Rating: R for pervasive strong language, drug content, sexuality and brief violence

Reviewed by: David Kerr
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Drama/Comedy
Length:
117 min.
Year of Release:
1998
R

Starring: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore / Director: Joel Coen / Released by: Gramercy Pictures

“The Big Lebowski” is the latest offering from Joel and Ethan Coen (the Coen Brothers) the people who brought you “Fargo” and “Blood Simple”. Joel directs, Ethan produces, and both write.

The story is about The Dude (Jeff Bridges), the laziest man in Los Angeles, who comes home one day to find two thugs waiting for a “Jeff Lebowski.” It turns out that there are two Jeff Lebowskis, The Dude being one of them and the other a wheelchair bound-man who lives in a mansion. After ruining The Dude’s beloved rug, the thugs realize that they have the wrong Lebowski. The Dude wants a new rug, and in the process of getting one, he runs into all sorts of trouble. A woman gets “kidnapped”, a gang of nihilists chase The Dude, a feminist-extremist wants to bear his child, and the list goes on. Helping out The Dude are his two bowling buddies played by John Goodman and Steve Buscemi.

This movie is hard to describe—it is an oddball of a show with no message. It is literally just a bunch of stuff that happens to The Dude while he is not out bowling. This movie is so laid back, it leaves viewers interested only in sitting in the theater seat upon completion of the film.

“The Big Lebowski” has an “R” rating for good reason. In this reviewers opinion, it is not as offensive as “Fargo” because of the laid-back style. There is one character in this movie, a warped bowler name Jesus, that will be likely to offend Christians.

I would not recommend this movie to anyone except a fan of Coen Brother’s films. Even then, there is no redeeming value in this film. Furthermore, literally hundreds of instances of profanity and obscenity, plus sexually suggestive dialogue, drug abuse, discussion of pedophilia, female breast rear male nudity, and violence make this a film off-limits to all Christians.

Viewer Comments
I’m a big Coen Brothers fan—and particularly a Julianne Moore fan—but “Lebowksi” was unwatchably bad. It’s already on my worst list for 1998. Just the thought of it, two hours I’ll never get back. Ugh.
—Brian, age 24
I wish I had read your review before I went to see this movie. I love to bowl with my youth group and consider bowling to be a healthy pasttime. I was so disapointed that this movie would take a clean Christian sport like bowling and pervert with the drugs and sex and profanity. I would urge other Christian bowlers to stay away from “The Big Lebowski.”
—Heather, age 21
If you’re tempted to see “The Big Lebowski” because it’s a Coen brothers film and you love the Coen brothers, don’t. I loved the quirky “Raising Arizona” and to a lesser degree (but still in the “loved” category) “The Hudsucker Proxy.” But for all of the reasons mentioned in the above review, plus the fact that the storyline is confusing and disjointed, don’t waste the price of a matinee ticket on The Big Lebowski. The Bros. can do better, and we shouldn’t encourage them to lower the quality of their product, by sponsoring this amoral and mediocre picture. (One caveat to the above would be if you are in the habit of sitting in a blacklighted room smoking weed and croaking hoarsely “cool, man.” Then… well, this is the movie for you, dude. you’re probably a big Cheech and Chong fan, too.)
—Kimberley McKaig, age 43
Hey—I walked out of this one about 20 minutes into it. There were so many F-words if I had a dollar for every one, I’d buy out Microsoft. For those of you who loved the Coen brothers for “Raising Arizona,” forget it. Those days are over. As soon as “Fargo” made it big, the Brothers decided to get nastier.
—Jeff James, age 23
…The amount of profanity and disgracing of the Lord in this film made me sick to my stomach. After the nude scene I was forced to leave the theater. I knew my Savior was dissappointed in me for watching such filth…
—Michael, age 22
Positive—Even though I found it offensive, for me it’s just humor. It’s true that makes laugh of some Christian matters but I had really fun watching it. It’s a “classic,” a “cult movie” nowadays, and each time I see it gets better. I recommend it to all Christians that do not get offended easily.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jesús Ignatius, age 32 (Spain)