No matter how many times I see this film, I can watch it more. It’s funny, tragic, quirky and ridiculous, and is one of my favourites ever.
So, there’s a guy called Lebowski who is better known as The Dude (Jeff Bridges). He’s an old hippy who potters around, getting through life somehow until one day his house is broken into by thugs who threaten him and urinate on his rug. When realising it is a case of mistaken identity, his best mates and bowling buddies Donnie (Steve Buscemi) and Walter(John Goodman) advise him on how to resolve this issue. And along the way are nihilists, artists, acid flashbacks, kidnappings, beating up cars and a lot of swearing.
If you’ve not seen the film, you may well not like it. Because if you have friends who like the film, they’ve probably forced it on you. If you didn’t like it, you may no longer have those friends – it’s one of those films that people get crazy passionate about. Use this as a test: watch this clip that shows the entrance of Jesus (John Turturro). If you don’t think this is the most magnificent introduction of a character in cinematic history, you may not like the film. And I’ll chuck it out there: what other character entrances are magnificent? (My second would be Ray Winston in the opening of Sexy Beast. Find that one yourself – I couldn’t find it on youtube. You need the full version with Peaches by The Stranglers)
When I heard of this film, a made-for-television movie about waterspouts that pick up sharks and take them inland into Los Angeles, I though it would be fabulous. Terrible fabulous. So-bad-it’s-good fabulous. Snakes on a Plane fabulous. Something that I would enjoy for exactly what it was; a ridiculous concept. I didn’t think it would matter how it was executed, that I would just love it. I didn’t.
It does fulfil the basic requirements of a disaster film; a reluctant hero, sexual tension, a kooky character, a character who needs to see the worst before they will believe it and even a dog trapped in a car. I didn’t expect any decent plot – this is a film with the tagline “Enough Said!” There was never going to be much plot. I didn’t mind how ridiculous the story got, that was fine. I did not expect any character development (not let down there either) and I did not expect to have my heart touched – no chance there, not even with the incredibly moving story of why the pretty girl hates sharks.
What I did expect was awesome special effects and I was let down here. Yes, there are some cool teeth, and the bits where the sharks are flying around in the waterspouts look ace. But there was a lot of laziness and corner-cutting that lost it for me. I Not even the wonderful company and fabulous B-list (B-list? C-list? Probably closer to E-list) cast could keep me engaged. (Ian Ziering from Beverly Hills 90210, Tara Reid with more clothes on that you could expect, perpetual character actor and all around awesome guy John Heard. Actually, I liked his performance as drunken barfly, George)
By all means, watch it for the spectacle. Watch it with friends, watch it somewhere you can shout at the screen and laugh and hopefully rewind great moments, like when (*SPOILER ALERT*) someone falls from a helicopter into the mouth of a flying shark. But lower your expectations as low as you possibly can, or you’ve got no change.