Director: Joel Coen
Year Released: 1998
A genuinely breezy cinematic oddity (and the kind of picture that gives the term 'cult classic' a good name): this free-form experiment rewards multiple viewings, precisely because the structure and 'point' are both so completely disarming - that the whole movie amounts to a giant misunderstanding felt like a let-down the first time I saw it, but now I see it as a relief. The pleasure is in the trip, not the conclusion (as it were) and in enjoying the eccentric characters, from John Goodman's impulsive Vietnam Vet who ruins everything he touches, to John Turturro's pervert/bowler/matador to, naturally, the Dude himself (Jeff Bridges), a miracle of modern laziness. The humor is dry, witty and memorable, and unlike some other Coen fiascos, I never felt like they were 'looking down' on these weirdoes, but felt a real affinity for their nonconformist lifestyles. The Dude abides.