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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Cast:
Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi , David Huddleston, Philip Seymour Hoffman , Tara Reid
Writing Credits:
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Tagline:
They figured he was a lazy time wasting slacker. They were right.

Synopsis:
From the Academy Award-winning Coen brothers, The Big Lebowski is a hilariously quirky comedy about bowling, a severed toe, White Russians and a guy named The Dude. Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski doesn't want any drama in his life - heck, he can't even be bothered with a job. But, he must embark on a quest with his bowling buddies after his rug is destroyed in a twisted case of mistaken identity. Starring Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Turturro, experience the cultural phenomenon of The Dude in the "#1 cult film of all time!" (The Boston Globe).

Box Office:
Budget
$15 million.
Opening Weekend
$5.533 million on 1207 screens.
Domestic Gross
$17.451 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French

Runtime: 118 min.
Price: $22.98
Release Date: 11/15/2011

Bonus:
• “U-Control” Interactive Feature
• “Worthy Adversaries: What’s My Line Trivia”
• “An Exclusive Introduction”
• “The Dude’s Life” Featurette
• “The Dude Abides: The Big Lebowski 10 Years Later” Featurette
• “Making of The Big Lebowski” Featurette
• “The Lebowski Fest: An Achiever’s Story” Featurette
• “Flying Carpets and Bowling Pin Dreams: The Dream Sequences of the Dude” Featurette
• Interactive Map
• Jeff Bridges Photo Book
• Photo Gallery


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Big Lebowski [Blu-Ray] (1998)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 6, 2012) - Movie Review by Chris Galloway

I heard one critic refer to 1998’s The Big Lebowski as "The There’s Something About Mary of art films". I agree with that statement. Under a certain definition, it is an art film and to those artsy-fartsy types it would more than likely be as offensive as Mary was to others. The main difference is that Lebowski seems a lot funnier and doesn't really depend on crude humor.

While I say there is little plot, its brief narrative is still very complicated. Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) gets jumped by two thugs in his own home. They want money that his wife apparently stole from a big porn king named Jackie Treehorn (Ben Gazzara). They obviously made a mistake since Dude is not married and is not the rich millionaire Lebowski the two were supposed to find. One of the goons, though, answers the call of nature on his rug out of spite.

With the help of his bowling buddies Walter (John Goodman) and Donnie (Steve Buscemi), the Dude is talked into approaching the other Jeff "Big" Lebowski (David Huddleston) to get compensation for his rug because it was he that the two goons wanted. Next thing the Dude knows is he's pulled into a conspiracy involving the kidnapping of the Big Lebowski's wife Bunny (Tara Reid). Bizarre complications follow as Dude finds himself targeted by a mad millionaire, a group of Nihilists, a porn king, a freaky Spanish bowler (John Tuturro), an eccentric painter and a ferret.

There are many funny situations in the film but the characters make Lebowski so enjoyable. The more you watch it, the more you learn and the more you laugh. The Dude is the best out of them all, a lazy, laid back, pot-smoking loser. He doesn't have a job nor does he seem interested in one. He also seems to be quite stupid and most of his knowledge appears to come from things he watched on TV.

As Walter, John Goodman is perfect. Suffering from a sort of shell shock, he relates everything to Vietnam - even when someone asks him to leave a diner. As well, he takes his bowling very seriously, as he points his gun at a man he accuses as a cheater - right on the lanes!

I could go on but I won't. So many characters, so little time left before my hand cramps up typing this out. All I can say is this movie is one of my all-time favorite comedies. I know some people have problems with it because of its lack of a plot or the fact it's not Fargo. In reality the plot doesn't matter but the characters do and they work very well. It's great fun with a lot going for it.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B/ Bonus B

The Big Lebowski appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The film with a decent but unexceptional transfer.

Sharpness tended to be adequate. Much of the film displayed acceptable definition, but the image was never especially crisp, and some mild edge haloes exacerbated the lack of great clarity. The movie could’ve been softer, but it also could – and probably should – have appeared more distinctive. No issues with jaggies or moiré effects materialized, and print flaws were minor; I saw a couple of small specks and that was it.

Colors tended to be decent but not better. The tones offered reasonable clarity much of the time but didn’t display a great deal of vivacity. Blacks were fairly deep and tight, and shadows showed good clarity. Though I didn’t think the image impressed, it had enough going for it to earn a “C+“.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it was perfectly fine. The soundfield didn’t have a lot to offer much of the time, though it broadened at times. Mostly these instances occurred during fantasy scenes; the bowling shots and some others delivered decent to good atmosphere as well. None of this ever impressed, but it worked well enough for the material.

Audio quality appeared good. Speech seemed natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music sounded clear and peppy, and effects delivered nice accuracy and fullness. This resulted in a perfectly competent track for an ambitious comedy.

The disc comes with a broad array of extras. We open with an interactive component called U-Control. This splits into three categories: “The Music of The Big Lebowski”, “Mark It, Dude” and “Scene Companion”. The first two lack much value. “Music” simply provides text credits for the songs we hear in the movie, while “Mark It” creates a silly counter; it keeps track of various dialogue elements in the flick. It’s pretty pointless.

The “Scene Companion” proves to be the most substantial extra, as it delivers picture-in-picture material. This mixes cast/crew bios, quotes from writer/director Joel Coen, writer/producer Ethan Coen, actors Steve Buscemi, John Goodman, Jeff Bridges, and Julianne Moore. We also get some soundbites from Buscemi, Goodman, Moore, Bridges and actor John Turturro. They discuss aspects of the film, working with the Coens, and its reception.

Many prior Universal picture-in-picture features have been good, but this one is a relative dud. We tend to find pretty minor thoughts about the movie and its creators, and we go long periods without info from the “Scene Companion”. To make it worse, you can’t run all three of the “U Control” components at the same time. Sure, the system shows you which is currently active and you can switch to it manually, but you can’t view all the pieces automatically. All of this makes “U Control” less valuable and user-friendly than I’d like.

(Note that you’ll find virtually all of this video content elsewhere on the disc via its featurettes. That makes “Scene Companion” even more expendable; you can get the same info elsewhere in a more efficient manner.)

Another feature that accompanies the film, Worthy Adversaries: What’s My Line Trivia tests your knowledge of Lebowski. Occasionally, at least. It throws up questions every once in a while, but not with much frequency. Honestly, I bailed on “Adversaries” when the movie hit the scene in which the Dude learns of Bunny’s kidnapping; that was more than 20 minutes into the flick and I’d only seen one question to that point. If you’re really patient, you might get something out of “Adversaries” – and maybe the items come rapid-fire later – but I got too bored with this feature to stick with it.

For something irreverent, we get An Exclusive Introduction. Similar to an item found on the Blood Simple Blu-ray, we get comments from “Mortimer Young” of “Forever Young Film Restoration”. During the four-minute, 40-second clip, he delivers some bogus “facts” about Lebowski. I wasn’t wild about the concept on Simple, and the joke doesn’t get funnier here.

A mix of programs follows. The Dude’s Life runs 10 minutes, eight seconds and delivers notes from Bridges, Buscemi, Moore, Goodman, Joel and Ethan Coen, and Turturro. They discuss the movie’s characters and performances. It’s a pretty introspective view of things.

A retrospective arrives via The Dude Abides: The Big Lebowski 10 Years Later. It fills 10 minutes, 27 seconds with info from Turturro, Bridges, Buscemi, Moore, and Goodman. They talk a bit about working with the Coens as well as the movie’s reception and legacy. This is a decent piece but a little on the insubstantial side.

Next comes the 24-minute, 35-second Making of The Big Lebowski. Created back in the 90s, it involves material with Joel and Ethan Coen, Bridges, and Goodman. “Making” looks at the movie’s roots, story and characters, cast and performances, and a few production elements. Though clearly intended to promote the film, the featurette becomes the most informative piece to date, largely because we hear much more from the Coens here than we do elsewhere. “Making” is much better than expected.

For a look at the movie’s enduring legacy, we go toThe Lebowski Fest: An Achiever’s Story. A 13-minute, 53-second excerpt from a documentary called The Achievers: The Story of the Lebowski Fans, we learn about the first Lebowski Fest and how the notion developed. I don’t get the Lebowski cult, but it’s interesting to hear about this ground roots following and celebration.

The featurettes end with the four-minute, 20-second Flying Carpets and Bowling Pin Dreams: The Dream Sequences of the Dude. It offers material from Buscemi, Goodman, Turturro, Joel and Ethan Coen, Moore, and Bridges. The piece is too short to deliver a lot of details, but it throws out a few fun facts about these specific scenes.

Afte this, we get an Interactive Map. This lets you learn a little more about 14 different locations featured in the film; click on any of them and you’ll find short clips with video and film footage plus narration and a few soundbites; we hear from Goodman and Bridges. These are moderately interesting but the format becomes a chore. The snippets last between 29 seconds and 49 seconds, and the “Map” lacks a “Play All” option, so we constantly have to return to the menu. The “Map” contains some enjoyable material but the awkward interface makes it slow-going.

Collections of stills finish the set. Each provides filmed compilations of shots; we get a Jeff Bridges Photo Book (17:30) and a Photo Gallery (3:25). Both offer pictures that Bridges shot on the set, but the format differs. In the first, Bridges shows us the pics and describes them, while the second lets us view the images in a more traditional stillframe manner, albeit one that also includes captions from Bridges. That makes the second one occasionally redundant, but both are enjoyable.

Arguably the biggest cult film to emerge in the 1990s, The Big Lebowski continues to attract a following 14 years after its release. The movie creates an unusual, wacked-out film noir. The Blu-ray delivers erratic but generally good picture, audio and supplements. While this doesn’t become a definitive edition of the film, it should please fans.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.25 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main