Thursday, July 30, 2009

Crazy For The Big Lebowski

DO you spend your free time dressing up like figures of speech, drunkenly bowling for endless hours and memorizing non-sequitors from an obscure film? if so, you must be "an achiever," one of the group of  "big lebowski" zealots who gathers to celebrate the coens brothers movie at least once a year. the film, of course, was considered a disappointment upon opening but has become -- thanks to a few gen-x dreamers in louisville -- the biggest cult picture since "rocky horror."

today i have a piece in the LATimes, most of which is an interview with eddie chung, the director of a documentary on the phenomenon called "the achievers." some of the fans he tracks seems to NEED their "lebowski" friends so badly you kinda wonder how they avoided accumulating companions in other spheres... tho chung said most of them are pretty well adjusted. "they're not, as far as i know, criminals," he told me.

either way, more proof that in an atomized, media-obsessed post-industrial culture, anything is possible.

1 comment:

FILM MAKER said...

As a crew member on "The Big Lebowski" (Locations Assistant) it is no surprise
to me that the film was able to 'strike cult status with room to spare'. It was a gas
to watch this film come to life under the direction of the Coen brothers. If I had to
'pin-down' the core of the film, it would be bowling. Sadly the Hollywood Star Lanes
which achieved a renaissance after the filming had refurbished lanes, installed
new formica counters, spruced up the alley and spattered neon stars inside and out,
was sold to the LAUSD, even after the owner tried to back out of the deal it was
too late. Hollywood's ONLY true bowling alley was bulldozed for an ugly modern
middle school, going the way of so many irreplaceable landmarks here in tinseltown.
What remains is the immortality achieved via "The Big Lebowski", I have many
fond memories of great locations; Jackie Treehorn's hill-top hideaway, the Dude's
Venice neighborhood, the Santa Paula orange grove where we froze filming overnight,
trying to get the money-drop scene to look right, in another brilliant Coen moment
the brothers decided to film the briefcase toss from the moving car in REVERSE
so that it looked like it was floating away from the car. This was also done on the
scene when the Dude passes out at Treehorn's house and smashes down onto
the glass-top table. Cinematic tricks, inspired dialogue, stellar performances along
with the incredible dream sequence involving malevolent clowns and a Busby Berkeleyesque
dance number with a bevy of bowling beauties donning pin headdresses make
"Lebowski" an undeniable true classic alongside "The Blues Brothers" , in part I
believe because of the truth at the center of the characters and the places, some
of which only exist now in this incredible film. I am thrilled to see that even after a
decade of incredible change, 'the Dude abides'.