Well it looks like the tickets for LebowskiFest West go on sale this Monday. I guess it's a big deal because the guys who arrange it sent me four identical emails. The "Fest" is a fan gathering to celebrate the Joel & Ethan Coen movie "The Big Lebowski" (1998). If you haven't seen it yet or it's been awhile, go rent or buy it today and watch it tonight.

I first saw "The Big Lebowski" right around when it first came out on video with my brothers, probably around 1999. I think we had recently seen "Raising Arizona" which we loved so much that we thought we'd try another Coen Brothers movie.

Upon first viewing it was funny enough, but didn't really seem all that special to us. But the next day we found ourselves chuckling over some of the dialogue and repeating it to each other and laughing some more. The characters in the movie are typical Coen fare, each one is unique and oddball enough that you can't forget them. The resultant dialogue simply shines due to great writing and equally great delivery by Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, John Turturro (who steals the show as Jesus Quintana), Philip Seymour-Hoffman, Julianne Moore, and Steve Buscemi.

I think probably a few months later we rented it again and found ourselves rolling on the floor with laughter. It's a movie that definitely takes repeated viewing. At first, the Jesus character (a John Turturro cameo) is what makes you roar the most, but upon multiple exposures, it is the interaction between the Dude (Jeff Bridges), Walter (John Goodman) and Donny (Steve Buscemi) that really crack me up the most. All three characters are archetypes of a personality type that you'll recognize instantly.

Go here for a random quote generator from the movie. Frippin' hilarious!

I must have seen the movie at least fifteen times now...it's kind of become an excuse tradition where I can get together with some friends to drink copious amounts of White Russians or "oat sodas" and laugh uproariously. I think it's John Goodman's best performance ever captured on film, it's really too bad that the Oscars don't generally take comedies seriously...

I should also mention that the very hot Tara Reid makes her feature film debut here as the nympho Bunny Lebowski.

Anyway, it seems that my brothers and I were not alone in our slow and gradual enjoyment of this movie. The LebowskiFest started out as a simple "gathering" of like-minded individuals in Kentucky in 2002 and has grown in numbers and extravagance since. This will be the fourth year of the Festival, which now has several versions: one in the midwest (Kentucky), one on the West Coast (Los Angeles) and one on the East Coast (New York).

I've never been to a LebowskiFest but from what I can see, it's filling a niche that could maybe be compared to the 70s-80s phenomenon that was "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" or even Star Trek, but on a smaller scale. In other words, a box office flop develops a strong cult following that results in strangers meeting up in weird costumes to celebrate the movie...

It looks like a fun time: Drinks, bowling, drinks, music, drinks. This year they have several actors who played minor roles showing up as well as the real-life "Dude", Jeff Dowd (the Coen brothers modelled their main character around him). If I lived in LA or happened to be there that weekend it's something that I would definitely be doing.

If they ever get any of the main actors there (Bridges, Goodman, Buscemi, Turturro, Moore, Seymour-Hoffman) or the Coen Brothers I might consider making a special trip to the LebowskiFest...

§33 · February 4, 2005 · Entertainment, Movies · · [Print]

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  1. Rob says:

    Some days you eat the bur, some days the bur eats you. I could really go for a caucasian right about now…