Following the success of "Fargo", the Coen Brothers created their most gratifying character to date. If ever there was a philosophy to be gleaned from the Brothers' canon, then Jeff 'The Dude' Lebowski might well be the embodiment of it. Not only is this classic Coen Brothers, it's exemplary Jeff Bridges.
It's worth remembering that "The Big Lebowski" is a period piece, set around the start of the 90s when grunge was about to become chic and Generation X was a buzzword. Thankfully, this quintessential slacker does not become enmeshed in that ill-conceived windbaggery. Similarly, the soundtrack is not comprised of Soundgarden or Pearl Jam, but Beefheart and Dylan. This Dude is indubitable, man.
As for the plot, it's about as skewed as The Dude's mind. A case of mistaken identity leads a couple of thugs to The Dude's Venice Beach home where they relieve themselves on his prized carpet. Seeking compensation from their intended victim, The Dude's namesake and antithesis, he becomes entangled in a complex kidnapping drama involving sinister German nihilists (Peter Stormare among them), the Art World (of which Julianne Moore is the affected representative), and the porn industry.
Apart from psychedelic dream sequences with a bowling twist, it's the wealth of great characters and their insane dialogue that make this a memorable film. John Goodman's Vietnam Vet and The Dude's bowling buddy is in part responsible for the mayhem, but he also gives colour to The Dude's everyday life, as does a mawkish Steve Buscemi and John Turturro's absurd Latino child-molester, Jesus Quintana. There are others, too many to mention, not least those populating the world a million miles from The Dude's leisured life and his ruined rug.