Wednesday-Tuesday: "The Big Lebowski"

Aug. 30-Sept. 5

For a late ‘90s movie set loosely in an early ‘90s moment, "The Big Lebowski" sure has legs. Despite its inauspicious beginnings (it cost way more than “Fargo” but made way less; this paper panned it), the Coen Brothers’ eighth major feature became a cultural touchstone in ways that “Raising Arizona,” “Miller’s Crossing,” or, say, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” could only dream of. Or have nightmares about. I mean, hell, there are Lebowski Fests in a dozen cities and there was a documentary (“The Achievers”) about the Lebowskifesters. It’s a cult. Or maybe a movement. The film’s high concept—drop a Zen stoner into a Raymond Chandler flick—could have failed if not for the subtle and clever writing and pitch-perfect acting. John Goodman’s gun-brandishing Walter Sobchak is a tour-de-force in making a violent lunkhead (“calmer than you are”) lovable. Jeff Bridges’ The Dude has developed into a transcendent no-fucks ideal and, perhaps, the only thing keeping 10-pin bowling afloat in the "Bowling Alone" era. Am I wrong? “No. You’re not wrong, Walter, you’re just an asshole.” The Senator, 5904 York Road, (410) 323-4424, thesenatortheatre.com, $10. (Edward Ericson Jr.)

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