Why We Love Lebowski
With the release of our white cream stout Ties the Room Together, you’ve been hearing quite a bit about The Big Lebowski. And for good reason — it’s definitely one of those movies that stays with you. It celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and has remained eminently quotable since its release in 1998.
However, we get that it might not be everyone’s cup of tea… or rocks glass of white Russians, as it were. If you’ve never been able to catch the movie — even in its find-a-stranger-in-the-Alps, sanitized version on TNT — we’ll have it playing during the release party for Ties the Room Together on Friday from 5-8pm.
But… the sound will be off so that you’ll be able to hear Will Knapp play all of the Creedence known to man (and you won’t be able to hear the 260 uses of the f-word…). Fans of the film will undoubtedly show up to the party in costume as their favorite character — as The Dude, Walter, Donny, Maude, Jackie Treehorn, or one of the nihilists — and get the chance to win a CMBC and Left Hand Swag Bag. We’ll have collectible glassware and inflatable bowling, and a great time will be had.
But why? We caught up with the Brew Crew and a couple of folks from over at Left Hand to find out what they love about The Big Lebowski.
If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll love our fan favorites below. If not, swing by the party on Friday, anyway.
“It’s iconic,” says Natalie Gula, the Tasting Room General Manager at Left Hand. “The one-liners, the characters, and the darkness of the Coen brothers shines through brilliantly. How do you not love a Dude, in a robe, buying half-and-half at the grocery store (for his drink of choice), and paying via check?”
Basic plot synopsis: All The Dude ever wanted was his rug back.
Loser/stoner/bum Jeffrey Lebowski — better known as The Dude — returns from some light grocery shopping to find that his home has been broken into by Jackie Treehorn’s thugs, one of whom micturates on his rug. An aging hippie, he spends most of his time bowling, driving around, and suffering the occasional acid flashback, but this aggression against his rug will not stand. He’s ultimately thrown into a Raymond Chandler-esque tale of kidnapping, extortion, and nihilism, sipping white Russians and smoking weed the entire time. After all, that rug really tied the room together.
Check out the original trailer below:
“I must admit, I am a huge Big Lebowski fan,” says Director of Brewing Operations Jimmy Valm. “It’s one of my top movies of all time. It’s just so well written with such great characters, and the actors portraying them are so good. It’s just fantastic. I think it’s also one of the most layered films ever: there is so much going on, the next time you watch it just keep your eye on Donny. He is doing so much in the background that’s just under the radar, brilliant stuff.”
The Dude is on a bowling team with Walter Sobchak, a Vietnam veteran played with seething fury by John Goodman, and Donny, the eternally set-upon and oft-silenced third wheel played by Steve Buscemi. Their main bowling rivals are Liam O’Brien and Jesus Quintana, a pedophile played by John Turturro.
“Lebowski is a timeless classic,” says Head Brewer Brian Hink. “The humor is spot on, the soundtrack is fantastic, acting is top notch, and the dialogue couldn’t be better. My two favorite lines were also two name suggestions that, for some crazy reason, didn’t make the cut: ‘You do not fuck with the Jesus’ and ‘I fucking hate the Eagles’. I really think both would’ve made for great names for the beer. I can’t believe Marketing didn’t sign off on them!”
Yeah, well…. There are good reasons for that, Brian. Ignoring the fact that the TTB would never approve those names, around here we like the Eagles, even though The Dude’s line was referring to the band and not the football team.
“I love all of John Goodman’s lines as Walter Sobchak,” says Distribution Manager Justin Vitti. “True side story, when I was in New Orleans for my first US Beard & Mustache Championships, one of my two roommates, Jeffrey Mustache, brought his laptop and played The Big Lebowski whenever we were in our room, on repeat, the whole extended weekend. By the time Jeffrey, Al Underwood aka Wonderstache, and I were departing, we would be reciting the entire movie to one another… It was a fantastic time of Lebowski, Jack & Cokes, and round-house kicks. Oh, and supreme facial hair, too.”
Justin’s story brings up a good point — Lebowski is one of the most dependably quotable films of all time. The IMDb Memorable Quotes page has 187 entries, all of which are absolute gems.
Walter: You want a toe? I can get you a toe, believe me. There are ways, Dude. You don’t wanna know about it, believe me.
The Dude: Yeah, but Walter…
Walter: Hell, I can get you a toe by 3 o’clock this afternoon… with nail polish. These fucking amateurs…
“This is what happens when you FIND A STRANGER IN THE ALPS!” — Walter, in the edited-for-TV version. We’re pretty sure that the censors had simply given up by that point.
The Dude: And, you know, has it ever occurred to you, that, instead of, uh, you know, running around, uh, uh, blaming me, you know, given the nature of all this new shit, you know, I-I-I-I… this could be a-a-a-a lot more, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, complex, I mean, it’s not just, it might not be just such a simple… uh, you know?”
The Big Lebowski: WHAT IN GOD’S HOLY NAME ARE YOU BLATHERING ABOUT?!?
Through the remainder of the film, we’re introduced to a cast of memorable characters. The Dude’s landlord is just an insanely bizarre human. The Big Lebowski, a wheelchair-bound Korean War vet is pulled directly from the pages of Raymond Chandler. The late Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the millionaire Lebowski’s trembling sycophant, Brandt, and he completely knocks it out of the park. Maude Lebowski, The Big Lebowski’s daughter played by Julianne Moore, is an artist whose first entrance is, in a word, extraordinary.
“I feel like I know the characters,” says Matt “Truck” Thrall, Director of Brewing at Left Hand. “They are so well-developed throughout the movie that I know I could sit down, drink a beer with each of them, and have a real conversation. Something about Lebowski just resonates with me, like rooting for dumb luck to work out for the best.”
The Coen brothers are known for well-rounded, slightly bonko characters — people who, if you found yourself in a conversation with them at a party, you’d quickly find a reason to move to the other side of the room. Yet, in a Coen brothers comedy, the end up endearing themselves to you.
“I love the characters,” Natalie says. “They’re all so different but, somehow, intertwined. The point of the movie is to tell a story, not to make a specific point. That seems to be a theme with the Coen brothers. Every time I see one of their films I’m left asking, ‘what is the point?’ When you dive deeper, you can find some many ideas in each and every scene. What it’s portraying, what they’re actually saying without saying it right out. It’s also just plain ass funny. ‘This is not ‘Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.’”
For a lot of people, Lebowski was their first introduction into the genius that is the Coen brothers. They’d had some minor successes before Lebowski — odd, quirky films that passed under the radar of most moviegoers, and, in all likelihood, couldn’t get greenlighted today.
“Lebowski began a love affair with the Coen brothers that persists to this day,” says Content Marketing Coordinator Scott Armato. “It came out while I was in college, and I and my stoner friends were instantly taken with the film — it’s just so bizarre. Things happen in Lebowski that are simply beyond the realm of possibility, yet it’s a story told so earnestly and acted so well that you end up rooting for the biggest loser of all time and his moron friends. John Goodman is like a master class in acting, and Julianne Moore is… wow. So very good.”
Ultimately, The Big Lebowski is a fish-out-of-water tale about an unlikely hero being thrust into a world he doesn’t belong, not unlike Trading Places, Legally Blonde, Meet the Parents, The Jerk, or My Cousin Vinny. The Coen brothers somehow meld this with aspects of a non-traditional spaghetti western and a classic mystery in a noir comedy that withstands the test of time.
So, swing down to the Tasting Room on Friday, October 12th. For more information, click here. Ties the Room Together will flow all night, and you’ll be able to pick up your 4-packs and beer-to-go.
If you aren’t sold on the brilliance that is The Big Lebowski, after Friday, you’ll understand. But that’s just, like, our opinion, man.