A 'Lebowski' DVD Fans Can (Almost) Abide
By JEN CHANEY
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008
There are people who live and die by "The Big Lebowski," the one-time box office dud that has blossomed into a pop culture phenomenon over the past decade. They quote the film's pithy Coen brothers dialogue. They attend the Lebowski Fest, an annual extravaganza that celebrates all things associated with this Raymond-Chandler-meets-L.A.-slacker cult favorite. And they worship at the altar of Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski, the film's bathrobe-wearing protagonist (a sublime Jeff Bridges), who hangs out at a retro bowling alley, punctuates every sentence with "man," slurps ceaselessly on White Russians and finds himself caught up in a bizarre kidnapping case.
These are the individuals who will undoubtedly purchase "The Big Lebowski: 10th Anniversary Edition" ($19.98), released today. Actually, they will probably buy the slightly more expensive but undeniably clever limited edition set ($34.98), which includes the same two discs but houses them in a case shaped like a bowling ball. Hardcore Jeff Lebowski lovers (and quoters) surely must be thinking what I'm thinking: Placing that ball on my home entertainment center would really tie the whole room together.
Still, kitschy packaging doesn't necessarily make a DVD worth buying. This particular collection comes with seven hit-or-miss featurettes and an introduction to the movie by faux historian Mortimer Young, whom Coen brothers aficionados will recognize from the filmmakers' "Blood Simple" DVD. Several of the extras -- like the documentary footage of Lebowski Fest and the interactive map of L.A. locations featured in the film -- are great fun and will appeal enormously to those who consider themselves "Achievers," the unabashed, most loyal fans of "Lebowski." But others -- especially the supremely dated "Making of 'The Big Lebowski'," which was filmed in 1998 and really looks it -- are just weak.