The Dude Abides -- Or Is He Just Stoned?

Paul Harvey

Cathleen Falsani's The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers, featured yesterday on NPR, takes up the question of the moral order to the movies of the Coen Brothers -- The Big Lebowski, Fargo, O Brother Where Art Thou, Barton Fink, and most recently A Serious Man. A little excerpt from the interview:

The hero of The Big Lebowski is portrayed by Jeff Bridges as a meditative — or perhaps stoned? — fellow with long hair and a beard. He might evoke the traditional representation of a messiah, though he spends the entire movie clutching either a joint or a White Russian.Though he may look like a slacker, says Falsani, "there's a deep centeredness to him."

The interview doesn't get much into the most obvious parallels, in O Brother, Where Art Thou, the film that turned Man of Constant Sorrow into a national hit and revived the great Ralph Stanley's career. Much of the latter part of the interview explores Marge Gunderson's role in Fargo, her moral centeredness amidst the chaos she finds around her as she uncovers the petty but gruesome murders in Brainerd.

As for The Dude, having known a few borderline mystics/definite stoners from my Berkeley days, I'd say there's a fine line between mysticism and stoner-ism -- the line between, say, Jeff Bridges's Dude and Judd Apatow's anything.


Randall said…
Love the film. I watched it again over the holiday on Netflix. It's available as a "watch instantly" title.

Here's one of my favorite exchanges. And this picks up on a sort of religious/moral theme.

The Stranger: There's just one thing, Dude.

The Dude: And what's that?

The Stranger: Do you have to use so many cuss words?

The Dude: What the fuck you talking about?

The Stranger: Okay, Dude. Have it your way.
Jason Bivins said…
New shit has come to light.
Randall said…
"Dissertations on His Dudeness," NYT

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