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DSH: The Big Lebowski at State Theatre

This series is influenced by (or lovingly ripped off from) NYU Local’s Drunk/Sober/High feature. Below you’ll read the opinions of three writers who took it upon themselves to have a great night with differing ideals at The State Theatre’s showing of The Big Lebowski this past Friday night.

Drunk:

This was, by far, the best movie experience I’ve had in a long time. Since I spent a decent amount of cash for the pregame prior to the movie, I enjoyed the fact that I only had to fork over five bucks for the show. Then there was the whole “booze in the theater” aspect. I was still slightly shocked that I was going to see a movie for less than ten dollars and there, right in the lobby, was a table selling the Dude’s signature drink: a White Russian. It was the perfect fit because I wasn’t trying to get completely shitfaced. I just needed a little something-something to extend my buzz.

Before his Dudeness even made it onto the screen, I was shelling out more cash for another White Russian. Those “Caucasians” tend to disappear much faster than a Natty or Rum and Coke.

Seeing The Big Lebowski with a live audience was perfect. The laughter that followed all of those Dude moments and Walter rants (and anything Donny did) created an incredible atmosphere. It didn’t matter if you were a diehard fan or a first-time viewer. If you were there, you were laughing.

High was probably loving life since The Big Lebowski can be pretty trippy at parts, but I was more into the dialogue. Jeff Bridges kills me every time he talks in that movie. I would list off some of my favorite quotes, but they wouldn’t be nearly as funny as in situ. You need Bridges right in your face when he says, “That’s a bummer, man.” You need to see just how angry Walter (John Goodman) is at some random teenager when he yells, “This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass.” You need to see how ignorant Donny (Steve Buscemi) is to the conversation when he chimes in, “I am the walrus?”

Until then, you’ll probably just be wondering why some drunk, asshole was raving about a movie that’s fourteen years old.

Sober:

Unfortunately I was five minutes late because “High” was screwing around. I didn’t miss much, though, maybe only a minute or two of the opening sequence. I came in just as The Dude was testing the half-and-half he was about to purchase in the convenience store.

This was my first time seeing The Big Lebowski. I love Coen Brothers films, and based on my past experience with them and all the excellent things I’ve heard about this movie, I went in with some pretty high expectations. But nothing could have prepared me for the full punch to the face of awesome that was about to hit me.

Jeff Bridges was, like, totally amazing as The Dude, our pot-head slacker protagonist, man. And, like, he goes on this, like, totally wild adventure with his friend, Walter (John Goodman), a crazy Vietnam War vet. It all happens after this far out case of mistaken identity, man. Like, The Dude shares a name with another Jeffrey Lebowski, dude, some fat cat whose trophy wife owes money all over town, man, and after some guys urinate on his rug (which really tied the room together, did it not?), shit just gets crazier and crazier from there. Like, do you know what I’m saying, man?

The only problem I have with the movie is that after watching The Dude drink so many White Russians, I was really jonesin’ for one. Which wasn’t really that much of a problem, since the State Theatre was selling them in the lobby. (Did I let my thirst or journalistic integrity prevail? What do you think…)

I think the icing on the cake for this film, though, are Sam Elliott’s closing words as “The Stranger” just before the credits rolled. His spiel was so meta, and it wraps up the story in a way that many films don’t

I loved the movie and would definitely recommend it to anyone. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should. It’s one of those classics everyone should see at least once. It might just change your whole perspective on life, man.

High:

“Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you.”

Those are the memorable words of wisdom that lingered with me as I ducked into an alley to spark a cigarette after leaving the State Theatre’s Friday night showing of the Coen Brother’s The Big Lebowski.

As the cold winter breeze stung at my face, I searched back on my memory the night hoping to uncover some profound meaning behind The Dude’s grungy locks (as played by the legendary Jeff Bridges) and the yellow filmy aviators worn by John Goodman’s Walter. I pieced together a few scenes of people pissing on ornamental rugs, trippy acid flash backs, and cheesy bowling sequences set to a soundtrack of Bob Dylan classics and one damn catchy Kenn Rogers and First Edition funk remake of the LSD-phobic “Just Dropped In.”

The hilarity of Walter’s ‘Nam flashbacks and Steve Buscemi’s character, Donny, being constantly shot down while also looking like a heroin addict gave me more than a few cheap chuckles. I was pretty out of it, though, so the over the top productions rendered me the comedic equivalent of a 1990’s Pinnaple Express. Sorry, non-smokers, you just wouldn’t understand.

A theme of the underdog stoner being dragged through the scandals of the mega-wealthy persisted. It also helped that despite a few too many tabs and a medical regimen of doobies and White Russians, the Dude comes out unscathed. He is a million sperm cells lighter thanks to a crazy millionaire artist, Maude, played by Julianne Moore, but that’s just one of the perks of the unemployed life, along with making it to the finals of a bowling beer league.

Despite pondering the possibilities of Nihilism or taking after The Stranger, as played by the wiry Sam Elliott, and just saying fuck it and dressing like a cowboy, the only thought that remained in my head for an extended duration after the movie was how to get some Kahlua and take care of cotton mouth that had been bothering me for the last couple hours.

I may have been on a different level (Sober was holding me back) but the Coen Brothers seemed to be on my level. The movie left me feeling confident that being a lazy piece of shit could actually turn out to be a pretty interesting future indeed.

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