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The Big Lebowski

USA 1998
produced by
Ethan Coen, Tim Bevan (executive), Eric Fellner (executive) for Working Title, PolyGram
directed by Joel Coen
starring Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, David Huddleston, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tara Reid, Philip Moon, Mark Pellegrino, Peter Stormare, Flea, Torsten Voges, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Jack Kehler, John Torturro, James G.Hoosier, Carlos Leon, Terrence Burton, Richard Gant, Christian Clemenson, Dom Irrera, Gérard L'Heureux, David Thewlis, Lu Elrod, Mike Gomez, Peter Siragusa, Sam Elliott, Marshall Manesh, Harry Bugin, Jesse Flanagan, Irene Olga López, Luis Colina, Ben Gazzara, Leon Russom, Ajgie Kirkland, Jon Polito, Aimee Mann, Jerry Haleva, Jennifer Lamb, Waren Keith, Asia Carrera, Robin James, Wendy Braun, Kiva Dawson
written by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, music by Carter Burwell

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Just because the Dude (Jeff Bridges), a good-natured unemployed bum who is interested in little other than bowling, shares his name with wealthy business tycoon Jeff Lebowski (David Huddleston) he is beaten up by two thugs (Philip Moon, Mark Pellegrino) whose boss porn producer Treehorn (Ben Gazzara)  tycoon Lebowski's wife Bunny (Tara Reid) owes money - which wouldn't be so bad if they didn't also pee on the Dude's rug - which held the room together.

At the suggestion of his best friend and bowling buddy Walter (John Goodman), a Vietnam veteran with sudden violent outbursts every now and again, the Dude visits the big Lebowski to get a new rug from him - and somehow he really manages to trick big Lebowski of rather his servant Brandt (Philip Seymour Hoffman) out of a rug - which is where the problems start because the next day, Lebowski's wife is kidnapped and held for ransom and for some reason he asks the Dude to handle the handover. Unfortunately the Dude accepts and lets Walter in on the whole deal, thinking Bunny has only faked her own kidnapping to better her allowance with the ransom money, and before you know it, the whole thing is messed up royally when the ransom money is stolen, and the Dude finds himself between lines, Lebowski on one side, the kidnappers - who turn out to be an incompetent trio of German nihilists (Peter Stormare, Flea, Torsten Voges) on the other, and then there's also porn producer Treehorn, who has gotten wind of the whole deal and wants his share of the money, and Lebowski's borderline mad daughter Maude (Julianne Moore), who detests her father and especially his trophy wife Bunny, and who claims the ransom money - a million bucks - is actually hers since her father has no money of his own and only lives on an allowance she grants him from her mother's inheritance - and not only that, she also lets the Dude impregnate her just to annoy his father.

As the Dude begins to piece together the puzzle though, the whole thing falls apart when Bunny returns from a weekend in Vegas, and it turns out that the big Lebowski actually tried to embezzle the money for himself, making the Dude the fall guy. And though the Dude comes out of the whole thing empty handed, he at least comes down in one piece - until he meets the nihilist trio, who burn his car and threaten him with swords ... but receive a sound beating from Walter, who has finally found a proper outlet for his aggressions. Unfortunately though, the Dude's and Walters friend and bowling buddy Donny (Steve Buscemi), who had nothing whatsoever to do with the whole thing, is so shocked by the attack that he has a heart attack and dies ... and when the Dude and Walter try to scatter Donny's ashes into the ocean, the whole load goes right into the Dude's face ...


Over the years, the Coen brothers have made many a very amusing crime drama, but arguably, The Big Lebowski is there best film ever, the perfect parody of the film noir genre that is so spot on because it never consciously tries to be a parody but toys around with various genre elements up to a point where the whole plot is purposely thrown out of the window and declared obsolete - without this hurting the film one bit. Apart from the wickedly clever and unusual approach to storytelling and the self-assured direction that never shies away from kitsch and nonsense, the film lives from a cast that's nothing short of excellent, with Jeff Bridges effortlessly carrying the film in a very unglamorous role and more and more garish outfits, and supporting actors like John Goodman at his most psychopathic, Ben Gazzara at his sleaziest, John Torturro (as a Mexican bowler called Jesus) at his most over the top, and Steve Buscemi as the guy who isn't even involved in the whole thing add spots of colour to the film pretty much every step along the way.

Most highly recommended.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD