The Year's Work in Lebowski Studies

The Year's Work in Lebowski Studies

The Year's Work in Lebowski Studies

The Year's Work in Lebowski Studies

Synopsis

A massive underground sensation, The Big Lebowski has been hailed as the first cult film of the internet age. In this book, 21 fans and scholars address the film's influences--westerns, noir, grail legends, the 1960s, and Fluxus--and its historical connections to the first Iraq war, boomers, slackerdom, surrealism, college culture, and of course bowling. The Year's Work in Lebowski Studies contains neither arid analyses nor lectures for the late-night crowd, but new ways of thinking and writing about film culture.

Excerpt

Edward P. Comentale & Aaron Jaffe

Far out. Far fucking out.

So what’s a Lebowski, you might ask?

This is not the definitive question of the film.

That would probably be Which Lebowski? Or, perhaps, Where’s the money, Lebowski?

We’re academics, though. Over-achievers, if you will.

Let’s begin with the title of the movie, which, we admit, is a bit of a puzzle. As far as titles go, it is both glaringly idiosyncratic and utterly slack. Through the course of the film, the “big” in The Big Lebowski slips back and forth between quality and quantity, spirit and matter. Yes, there’s a Lebowski in the film who is big in cash and big in girth, but his decrepit image—bald, bloated, crippled, hot in the face—hardly meets the expectations of the star-burst title sequence. After betraying the family name and his daughter’s love (not to mention the little Lebowski Urban Achievers, and proud we are of all of them), this Lebowski turns out to be nothing but a big “crybaby,” pounding his fists on the floor of a mansion he never owned. the other Lebowski—dead-beat, down-andout Jeff Lebowski, “the Dude”—reveals “bigness” of a different order. It’s not his brains, exactly, but his heart, an expansive tenderness of being, or, at least, a big, sloppy helping of just being there. Yeah, Walter, I’ll be there. And, with a little Lebowski on the way, bigness surely shifts . . .

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