The Dinglehopper

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Earthling Cinema Video Analysis: The Big Lebowski

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One of the first tasks I give my film students is to create a top 5 of the greatest films they’ve ever seen. It’s meant to be a personal list. Inevitably, they want to know what my favorite film is, and that’s a question that causes my brain to freeze up and give the blue smoke of death. But when I do get rebooted, I often start talking about a few favorites, and one of them is always The Big Lebowski.

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It’s often difficult to detail exactly why Lebowski is so beloved–by me and millions of others. It has inspired conventions–Lebowskifest–and even a religion–Dudeism. It’s endlessly quotable, absurdly hilarious, remarkably acted, and beautifully shot. And after all of its plotted antics, it deconstructs itself into meaning not much of anything. But watching this film feels like coming home. It’s cozy and warm, familiar and comfortable.

This week Wisecrack released a video analysis of The Big Lebowski as part of their Earthling Cinema series, in which an alien discusses the significance of visual artifacts from Earth after the planet has been destroyed. As was the previous entries on Pulp Fiction and Fight Club, the perspective on the film is at turns hilarious in its parody of the film’s meaning and impact and spot on in its analysis. Included is a comparison between the Dude and Jesus, an examination of the pull of the past on different characters, a comparison of The Big Lebowski and The Big Sleep, and a look at the deconstruction of various sources of meaning for characters, like religion and success.

If you’ve seen/love The Big Lebowski or wondered why your friends won’t shut up about it, check this out.

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Author: Erin Perry

I'm a high school English teacher specializing in AP Literature and Film Analysis. I'm interested in most things geeky, including superheroes, vampires, zombies, teen culture, postmodern philosophy, pop culture analysis, and combinations of the aforementioned. Follow me on Twitter @eriuperry.

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