Thursday, July 25, 2013

Celebrating Urine-Soaked Rugs and Bowling Alleys

by Pa Rock
Cult Film Fan

So what becomes of Rocky Horror fanatics when they grow too old to attend midnight showings and dance across the stage in ladies' French underwear?  One possibility is that they adjust their focus for age and become Big Lebowski fanatics.  Beer and bowling alleys and sharing your bath with a ferret - that's the new normal as far as cult films are concerned.

A few days ago while channel surfing I came across Joel and Ethan Coen's classic (okay, one of several Coen Brothers classic films), The Big Lebowski.  I hadn't seen the 1998 film in several years, and decided to settle down for an evening's entertainment.  And while "the Dude," aka Jeff Bridges, may not be the role model that you would hope for your kids to emulate, he is definitely entertaining.

My first hint that The Big Lebowski was becoming a cult film came while I was on Okinawa.  Two of my friends in the clinic where I worked would throw lines from the movie back and forth with seeming abandon,  while demonstrating an almost perverse knowledge of the film.

My second hint came while watching the movie again last week.  There are so many sight gags and so much cleverness in the movie, that I'm sure I could watch it several times and always come away with some gem of a line or a visual that I had missed in previous viewings.  It is simply a very good movie, one that just keeps on giving.

The third hint cam a couple of days after I saw the movie on television last week.  I was listening to National Public Radio (NPR) while getting ready for work one morning, and they did a piece on The Big Lebowski Film Fest in Louisville, Kentucky.  It is an annual event that has been going on for fifteen years, and like Rocky Horror, it attracts fans in costume - ones who belch out lines from the movie with a beer in one hand and a bowling ball in the other.  The concept of a festival to celebrate The Big Lebowski has also spread to other cities over the years.

So it would appear The Big Lebowski has arrived as a cult film.  Or maybe it arrived fifteen years ago and I just wasn't paying attention.  Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, and Steve Buscemi, along with a big cast of talented irregulars, did themselves proud as they gave life to one of the Coen Brothers' best works.

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