It’s 20 years since The Big Lebowski was first released in cinemas – the story of eternal slacker The Dude, who gets caught up in a web of kidnap, a peed-on rug, nihilism, bowling paederasts, severed toes, and fucking strangers in the ass (“You see what happens, Larry?!”)
Played by Jeff Bridges, The Dude (AKA Jeffrey Lebowski) is the greatest icon of masculinity in cinema history. He’s cool, laid-back, has an awesome beard, and is unfazed by the material things of this world, man. But The Dude is more than just an icon. He holds the answer to everything you ever needed to know about life – style, relationships, even the meaning of our very existence.
Here are some ultimate life lessons from his Dudeness.
No man should try too hard to look good. True style is effortless – a sense of cool that comes from an outward expression of just not giving a fuck. As best demonstrated by a bathrobe, shorts, and pair of jelly shoes. A shaggy beard with White Russian in the moustache will really set the ensemble off.
“Does this place look like I’m fucking married?” asks The Dude when two heavies break into his apartment, demanding he pay off his wife’s debt, stick his head down the bog, and piss on his rug (it’s mistaken identity, of course – they’ve got the wrong Lebowski). “The toilet seat is up, man,” It’s a clichéd observation, but you have to admire The Dude’s nonchalant attitude to romance. He’s happy in himself, content in the pursuit of the divine through pure doobie-enhanced laziness. It does, of course, make him unexpectedly attractive, as Maude Lebowski (no relation) seduces him for the purpose of unwittingly siring a child – a “Little Lebowski”.
As you can see by his wife-less home and easygoing threads, The Dude isn’t motivated by money. Which is a handy attitude for the kind of man who has to write of a cheque to buy a pint of milk. Of course, he’s offered $20,000 to act as bagman when the other Lebowski’s trophy wife, Bunnie, is kidnapped and held to ransom for $1million. But he’s fairly unbothered when the money is first stolen, then later revealed to be a bogus package. He just gets on with life. The Dude abides.
It’s good to have a leisure activity to occupy your mind. For The Dude, it’s bowling. But remember, no cheating. This is not Nam. There are rules.
The Big Lebowski is arguably the greatest film about men ever made – with The Dude, Walter, and Donnie (shut the fuck up) as the perfect spectrum of masculinity. Walter is the testosterone-fuelled alpha, The Dude is a chilled out pacifist, and Donnie’s the runt. But even Walter has the makings of a rounded, modern-man: at one minute a ball of emotional fury, the next minute looking after his ex-wife’s pomeranian dog, correcting The Dude on his culturally-insensitive description of an Asian-American, and getting upset because a league bowling game has been schedule on a Saturday – and he sure as shit doesn’t fucking roll on Shabbos.
Walter is perhaps a better man to turn to on the subject of war, traumatised as he is by seeing his buddies die face down in the mud. But almost every war in human history could have been avoided if situations had been settled with The Dude’s mantra of agreeing to disagree: “That’s just, like, your opinion, man.”
Nobody fucks with the Jesus, man.
The Meaning of Life
As The Dude proves just need to find that special something to make your life complete – that one thing that really ties the room together.