“New shit has come to light…” And the Coen brothers’ cult strike, which has inspired “Lebowski studies,” a religion (“Dudeism”), and “Lebowski Days” all over the country (aw, man, I just missed New York’s!), has made it to Blu-ray, following a half-dozen editions on DVD and dead-as-Donny HD DVD. Does it tie together the movie?
The Story: “Way out west there was this fella… fella I wanna tell ya about. Fella by the name of Jeff Lebowski. At least that was the handle his loving parents gave him, but he never had much use for it himself. Mr. Lebowski, he called himself ‘The Dude.’ Now, ‘Dude’–that’s a name no one would self-apply where I come from. But then there was a lot about the Dude that didn’t make a whole lot of sense. And a lot about where he lived, likewise. But then again, maybe that’s why I found the place so darned interestin’. They call Los Angeles the ‘City Of Angels.’ I didn’t find it to be that, exactly. But I’ll allow there are some nice folks there. ‘Course I can’t say I’ve seen London, and I ain’t never been to France. And I ain’t never seen no queen in her damned undies, so the feller says. But I’ll tell you what–after seeing Los Angeles, and this here story I’m about to unfold, well, I guess I seen somethin’ every bit as stupefyin’ as you’d see in any of them other places. And in English, too. So I can die with a smile on my face, without feelin’ like the good Lord gypped me. Now this here story I’m about to unfold took place back in the early ’90s– just about the time of our conflict with Sad’m and the I-raqis. I only mention it because sometimes there’s a man…I won’t say a hero, ’cause, what’s a hero? But sometimes, there’s a man. And I’m talkin’ about the Dude here. Sometimes, there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s the Dude, in Los Angeles. And even if he’s a lazy man–and the Dude was most certainly that. Quite possibly the laziest in Los Angeles County, which would place him high in the runnin’ for laziest worldwide. But sometimes there’s a man, sometimes, there’s a man. Aw. I lost my train of thought here. But…aw, hell. I’ve done introduced him enough.”–The Stranger (Sam Elliott)
The first time I realized I was driving by one of the locations used in The Big Lebowski (1998)- Johnie’s Coffee Shop – I thought it would be great fun to host a Big Lebowski Tour. You’d rent a big, comfortable bus with video players, and show the film as you drove to the spots where pieces of the movie were filmed – Johnie’s, the “Big” Lebowski’s palatial residence, Jackie Treehorn’s home in Malibu, the bridge where the kidnapping exchange was to have taken place, Donny’s final resting place, etc. You’d serve white russians (or as The Dude refers to them, Caucasians) and maybe provide a smoke break for those suitably inclined. Finally, you’d end the evening in a starry bowling alley, knocking down pins.
It would never work, of course. To begin with, the locations are too far apart – The Dude’s home is in Venice, The Big Lebowski’s house is in Beverly Hills, Donny’s final resting place is down in San Pedro, Johnie’s is in the Miracle Mile, and the bridge is somewhere up north beyond the far side of the San Fernando Valley. To make matters worse, the bowling alley Hollywood Star Lanes no longer exists – it was closed and torn down in 2002. Apparently some of its decorations have been preserved at the Lucky Strike Lanes nearby, but it just doesn’t seem like it would be the same.Â It’s a shame.Â It would have been a brilliant tourist trap.