An Illustrated, Annotated History of the Greatest Cult Film of All Time
Author: Jenny M. Jones
Publisher: Voyageur Press (MN)
Category: Performing Arts
DIVWhether contending with nihilists, botching a kidnapping pay-off, watching as his beloved rug is micturated upon, or simply bowling and drinking Caucasians, the Dudeâ€”or El Duderino if youâ€™re not into the whole brevity thingâ€”abides. As embodied by Jeff Bridges, the main character of the 1998 Coen brothersâ€™ film The Big Lebowski is a modern hero who has inspired festivals, burlesque interpretations, and even a religion (Dudeism). In time for the fifteenth anniversary of The Big Lebowski, film author and curator Jenny M. Jones tells the full story of the Dude, from how the Coen brothers came up with the idea for a modern LA noir to never-been-told anecdotes about the filmâ€™s production, its critical and commercial reception, and, finally, how it came to be such an international cult hit. Achievers, as Lebowski fans call themselves, will discover many hidden truths, including why it is that Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) is so obsessed with Vietnam, what makes Theodore Donald â€œDonnyâ€? Kerabatsos (Steve Buscemi) so confused all the time, how the film defies genre, and what unexpected surprise Bridges got during filming of the Gutterballs dream sequence. (Hint: it involved curly wigs and a gurney.) Interspersed throughout are sidebars, interviews with members of the filmâ€™s cast and crew, scene breakdowns, guest essays by prominent experts on Lebowski language, music, filmmaking techniques, and more, and hundreds of photographsâ€”including many of artwork inspired by the film./div
From box office flop to one of the most successful cult films of all time, The Big Lebowski has spawned a multicity festival, college-level courses, and its own religion. Fans of the Coen brothers’ masterfuldark comedy (collectively calling themselves "Achievers"—and proud we are of all of them) gather in movie theatres and bowling alleys across the county to quote along with the film, imbibe white russians, and admire the Dude’s rug (which really tied the room together).Fan Phenomena: The Big Lebowski examineshow this quirky movie evolved from its underwhelming debut to attract a mass following on par with that of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Contributors take a close look at the film’s phenomenal impact on popular culture and language and examine the script’s rich philosophical implications, whether it is the nihilism within the film itself or the Dudeism that Jeff Bridges’ God-like character has bred (the "Church of the Latter-Day Dude" has attracted more than 70,000 official adherents through its online ordination process). Covering issues concerning gender and sexuality within the film, such as Maude’s feminist art and Jackie Treehorn’s Malibu garden party, the essays here also explore the gender divides the film has created in today’s society, such as male versus female fandom rivalry at festivals. These gatherings—part costume contest, part bowling tournament, part trivia contest, part fan meet-up—have, since their debut in Louisville, K Y, in 2002, sprung up all around America and have even expanded globally, and the book takes an inside look at these events and includes interviews with Lebowski festival organizers and authors of other fan books and academic treatises.
First published in German in 1995, volume 77 of Heidegger's Complete Works consists of three imaginary conversations written as World War II was coming to an end. Composed at a crucial moment in history and in Heidegger's own thinking, these conversations present meditations on science and technology; the devastation of nature, the war, and evil; and the possibility of release from representational thinking into a more authentic relation with being and the world. The first conversation involves a scientist, a scholar, and a guide walking together on a country path; the second takes place between a teacher and a tower-warden, and the third features a younger man and an older man in a prisoner-of-war camp in Russia, where Heidegger's two sons were missing in action. Unique because of their conversational style, the lucid and precise translation of these texts offers insight into the issues that engaged Heidegger's wartime and postwar thinking.
Before there was a canon of literature celebrating sloth, including "The Underachiever's Manifesto" and "The Abide Guide: Living Like Lebowski," there was "7 Rabbits of Highly Pathetic People." Because the author so absolutely embraced the principles contained in his guide, it would take 20 years for all 3200 of its words to be arduously retyped from a crumpled manuscript stained by Krispy Kreme donuts. Further tribute to the author as originator of the genre, this delay would culminate in his failing to directly inspire would-be disciples like Tom Hodgkinson of "How to be Idle: A Loafer's Manifesto" fame. Irregardless, Buzz Avram's teachings are as prescient today as they were in 1996. Sure, we can look back now and appreciate what Stephen Colbert would call the "truthiness" of such "Rabbits" maxims as "begin with the end in mind and forget it quickly" and "think lose/lose." But mind you, Avram was very much challenging the status quo in his day, albeit very unassertively. "7 Habits of Highly Effective People," which has since sold more than 25 million copies, was already seven years in print. The man in the White House was sleeping 4-6 hours a night, yet still habitually jogging in the morning. Computer scientists were programming a computer to beat a champion chess player. It was a time of unprecedented "overachievement." Needless to say, Avram was a thinker at odds with the zeitgeist, not to mention a longstanding American ethos that values hard work. This is not to say, however, Avram's discursive on achieving pitifulness, was oblivious to history, literature, or pop culture. Au contraire. Avram draws original conclusions from passages about the March Hare in Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" as readily as he waxes poetic about the Energizer Bunny. Peter Rabbit, Br'er Rabbit, and the Easter Bunny all also loom large in this volume, as illustrations of points surely never intended by their creators. Speaking of illustrations, the original Word Perfect clip art in Avram's manuscript adorns the pages herein. To communicate a central point that "soft and furry on the outside, there's nothing much inside" of the rabbit, the illustrations are stark. It was also easier and cheaper-as Avram would surely argue if he had the energy-to distort, contort, and manipulate the same .gif to fill white space between his astoundingly short chapters. And lest we paint Avram's artwork with too broad a brush, readers will surely be haunted by the author's approximation of a Rorschach test in the overview for those aspiring to be "highly pathetic." It is here that Avram went to the trouble of coloring the eyes and ears of his muse. True, Avram encourages his readers to be "militantly inactive," "resume the business of doing nothing in particular," and to "keep that mind closed," which may argue for putting his book-and any other, frankly-down prior to completion. But again, this is what makes Avram unique or, perhaps, unintendedly ironic. He is too "sedentary" and "semipathetic," in his words, to be concerned about "page-turning" and number of copies sold. Nonetheless, for those who do make it to "Rabbit 7" there is the "highest level of patheticness" to be ascertained...as well as a mantra to recite that is utterly unpronounceable. -Buzz Avram, Jr.
Containing a Full and Familiar Explanation of All the Remarkable Words Made Use Of, in the Holy Scriptures, and in the Writings of the Most Eminent and Pious Divines, Whether Ancient Or Modern ... To which is Added, a Brief Explication of All the Proper Names Found in Sacred Scripture ...