The Big Lebowski
Director: Joel Coen
This isn't so much a real "story" as it is a collection of odd and humorous characters, which is something the Coen brothers excel at bringing to life. But it is the best way to illustrate the meandering adventures of "The Dude," played in true deadpan stoned seriousness by Jeff Bridges. There are some scenes that are just so fucking hilarious, it's something you have to witness for yourself. Don't get me wrong, there is a story, and it is quite funny in its own right, but this really is a great compilation of caricatures you rarely see done so well in a very "serious" light (as opposed to an over-the-top, Mel Brooks kind of way).
The story follows the life and times of one Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowsksi in the early 90's, who, due to confusion with his name, ends up having his carpet pissed on, ruining the item that tied his living room together. This forces him to venture outside of his normal social activity of bowling to try to rectify the situation. He ends up getting involved in an odd kidnapping plot, and simultaneously trying to figure it out and somehow profit from it, with his sidekick who is a pissed off Vietnam vet (played quite vulgarly by John Goodman). Throw in a couple of scenes with some nihilists and some acid flashbacks, and you have absolutely no idea of what the hell I'm talking about. But I have to admit, for whatever reason, this is one of my favorite movies. It's just so irrelevant, you can't help but like it. And with Coen-favorite Roger Deakins as D.P., it looks great, too. Fantastic small roles by John Turturro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and yes, even Flea.
Great Scenes: The Dude explaining his name to the other Lebowski, trying to flick a roach out of the window of his car, the cops closing the case on the stolen carpet, trying (unsuccessfully) to brace his door to keep out carpet thieves, and his utter exasperation when his car meets its ultimate demise.
DVD Notes: None, had to settle with my well-worn VHS copy.