(1998) – The Big Lebowski is one of my personal all time favorite movies and I am not alone. It is the one film most stoners tend to hold near and dear above all others, so much so that it’s inspired its own religion and a series of annual festivals held around the country:
The Coen Brothers’ cult classic includes a stellar cast featuring the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman at his smarmiest best, Julianne Moore and Tara Reid at their most gorgeous, and scene stealing supporting turns by John Turturro, Steve Buscemi, and John Goodman.
Even though The Big Lebowski is not the part that won star Jeff Bridges his Oscar, “The Dude” has become the role of the actor's career, the one people most associate him with, despite a long career of stellar performances.
It’s the pot smoking “El Duderino’s” laid back demeanor that has turned people the world over into loyal fans. No matter how crazy the world around him gets – and it does get mighty crazy in this film including a kaleidoscopic surreal Busby Berkeley inspired hallucinogenic trip -- the Dude just keeps going.
Through no fault of his own The Dude finds himself thrust into weird and dangerous situations, often made worse by his friends and associates. He is the constant amid the chaos and has the slacker wisdom to know that regardless of what happens, “Life goes on man.” The Dude does indeed abide and we can all take comfort in that.
Lebowski Fest and the Church of the Latter Day Dude
So loyal are fans of The Big Lebowski, and the film's cult status is so strong, a series of annual festivals take place in major cities across the US. Fans gather at Lebowski Fests to meet stars and bit players in the movie, sip "Caucasians" (White Russians), and share the joy of watching their favorite film together on the big screen.
“The Dude” has even inspired a religion, Dudeism. Billed as “an ancient philosophy that preaches non-preachiness and practices as little as possible,” anyone can instantly become a “Dudeist Minister” at the website www.dudeism.com. I myself am a Dudeist minister. You may laugh but in many jurisdictions you don’t need much more than this to perform weddings and other official ministerial duties.