At Least It's an Ethos

lebowski.jpgYou know that one obsession you have, the one that constantly surprises people when they found out, but that you refuse on principle to be embarassed about? If you don't have one (or... uh... several), you should. And for all of my friends who look at me funny when I say "you're like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie," well... I'm not alone:

A cult gives its members license to feel superior to the rest of the universe, and so does a cult movie: it confers hipness on those who grok what the mainstream audience can't. Joel and Ethan Coen's 1998 hyperintellectual stoner noir bowling comedy "The Big Lebowski," starring Jeff Bridges as Jeff (The Dude) Lebowski, has the requisite exclusivity of a cult classic: it bombed at the box office; it was met with shrugs by many critics who had arguably overpraised the Coen brothers' Academy Award-winning "Fargo" (1996); and it has amassed an obsessive following on cable and video and by word of mouth. Nowadays, quoting its intricate, absurdist, often riotously profane dialogue earns you coolness points in widely disparate circles. Some would even say that the cult of "The Big Lebowski" is going mainstream.

Fantastic. There is hope for humanity after all. David Edelstein evens makes an effort to summarize the "plot" of the film, a noble task. And for those who still think a straight-laced Ivy League Army boy like myself can't possibly like this movie so much, you're wrong:

He added: "The Lebowski festival is the tip of the iceberg. It's remarkable how many people from different walks of life see this movie again and again. Not just potheads. There was a Wall Street guy I met who'd drop a `Lebowski' line into job interviews and if the person didn't pick up on it he wouldn't be hired. I met this commander of a military base. He said they watch the movie down there in the missile silo two or three times a week."

It makes one feel safer already.

Sure does. After all, "sometimes there's a man, sometimes, there's a man. Well, I lost my train of thought here. But... aw, hell. I've done introduced it enough."

(Also check out the Big Lebowski random quote generator).