Maybe I am making this up, but, as a Coen fanboy, I remember the initial critical reception of The Big Lebowski as a lukewarm and scolding approval: funny, great and easygoing performance by Bridges (who was just then being declared the Great American Actor), but no match for the terse artistry of the Oscar-winning Fargo. A step down. No woodchipper, no statue back in the Tarantino Age. The present sucks at guessing the future.
The Coen Brothers love the feel of ominous complications that fail to culminate, patterns that do not hold, meanings that turn out to mean nothing. That love alone accounts for the thin plot of the still-delightful Burn after Reading; but The Big Lebowski remains their definitive statement on the pure sensuality of paranoia. It is also an unlikely-but-undeniable inductee into the class of movies that “everyone can quote,” joining the likes of The Blues Brothers, This Is Spinal Tap and The Princess Bride.
For a mere $6, you can enjoy The Big Lebowski on the big screen again on Friday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston. Bathrobe or bowling attire is encouraged. Purchase tickets in person at the Bardavon box office at 35 Market Street in Poughkeepsie, (845) 473-2072; at the UPAC box office at 601 Broadway in Kingston, (845) 339-6088; or online at www.bardavon.org.