Thu. Nov 30th, 2023

He’s The Dude, but Jeff Bridges still wonders if audiences just didn’t “get” The Big Lebowski upon its release.

Whether you’re a golfer or not, the Coen Bros. neo-noir comedy The Big Lebowski has proven to be one of the most cherished cult movies ever. As The Big Lebowski turns 25 this year, star Jeff Bridges (that is, The Dude, and not Mr. Lebowski) is reflecting on how it didn’t exactly tie the room–or the audience–together…at least not immediately.

“I thought it was going to be a big hit,” Bridges said of The Big Lebowski. “I was surprised when it didn’t get much recognition. People didn’t get it, or something.” However, it did eventually build its cult following. As per The Hollywood Reporter, “the past five years alone have seen Lebowski outgross its original domestic release in home viewing revenue.”

Seriously, how many movies get an entire festival in its honor? Lebowski Fest, which commemorated its 20th anniversary last year, sees thousands gather to celebrate all things strikes and gutters. Scratch that. How many movies have an entire religion (Dudeism) named and modeled after the main character? And that’s not even mentioning the species of spiders named after The Big Lebowski and The Dude!

On The Dude, Bridges said, “I’m so happy to be in that movie…I pretty much dug it all, man. There’s an aspect of the Dude I aspired to–he’s authentic, isn’t he? He’s who he is, and that’s about it. He’s a lovely cat.” Honestly, judging by the majority of Bridges’ appearances, he has embodied a lot of what makes The Big Lebowkski’s The Dude so cool. After all, as Bridges put it, “My first impression was it was a great script and I had never done anything like it…I thought the brothers must have spied on me when I was in high school.”

While The Big Lebowski will never get a sequel (despite Bridges himself having been open to the idea at one point), a spin-off, The Jesus Rolls, found John Turturro reprising his role of bowler/pederast Jesus Quintana. Needless to say–and despite his name–there probably won’t be a religion in his honor.

What do you think of The Big Lebowski? Whether you’re an achiever or a nihilist that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

By Dave Jenks

Dave Jenks is an American novelist and Veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Between those careers, he’s worked as a deckhand, commercial fisherman, divemaster, taxi driver, construction manager, and over the road truck driver, among many other things. He now lives on a sea island, in the South Carolina Lowcountry, with his wife and youngest daughter. They also have three grown children, five grand children, three dogs and a whole flock of parakeets. Stinnett grew up in Melbourne, Florida and has also lived in the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, and Cozumel, Mexico. His next dream is to one day visit and dive Cuba.