The Big Lebowski

Last March, during an open-forum chat between visitors of the Washington Post’s Web site and the author of yet another book on why today’s young men don’t have the same ambitions as their fathers, a 26-year-old declared, “Today’s hero is not the blazing, iconoclastic industrialist of Ayn Rand, but the slacking, chilled-out Dude of The Big Lebowski.” The protagonist of the Coen Brothers film, the Dude (Jeff Bridges) — a man who’s happy bowling, recalling a long-gone counterculture and wearing pajama pants all day — has become a hero to a generation burnt out or disillusioned by the rat race.

There’s plenty of other reasons 1998’s The Big Lebowski became a cult hit: the surreal dream sequences, the eccentric supporting characters (played by the likes of John Goodman, Steve Buscemi and Julianne Moore), and the what-the-fuck plot involving kidnapping, mistaken identity and a urine-stained rug. But stuff like that can be found in the average Coen Brothers film. (Now, that’s an oxymoron.) The Big Lebowski stands out even in the brothers’ acclaimed catalogue because of the Dude’s status as a generational icon, up there with Randle McMurphy or Tom Joad. 11:55 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The River Oaks Theatre, 2009 West Gray. For tickets and information, call 713-866-8881 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com. $8.25.
Sun., Dec. 28, 11:55 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 29, 11:55 p.m., 2008


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