It's never too early to start that Christmas wish list, and here's the latest to make mine: I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski: Life, The Big Lebowski, and What Have You, and it even comes with a complete forward written by none other than the dude himself. Quoting Jeff Bridges here (and you can read from the actual link by clicking here):
"People often ask me if I'm surprised at the amount of attention The Big Lebowski has received over the past few years. They usually seem to expect me to say "yes," but my answer is always "no". What surprises me is that it didn't do as well as I thought it would when it first came out. It was so damn funny, and the Coen brothers had just won the Academy award for Fargo - I thought people would flock to this thing. To tell you the truth, I was sort of disappointed. But now ... well ... I'm glad people are digging it, that it found its audience."
"People will sometimes ask me, "What is it about, this movie? I can't figure it out - how come people like it so much?" Well, that one's a little tougher to answer. I usually point them toward the script, to what the Stranger says at the end of the movie. I think the Stranger's enjoyment of the story sums up what most people like about it:
"I don't know about you, but I take comfort in that. It's good knowin' he's out there, the Dude, takin' her easy for all us sinners. Shoosh. I sure hope he makes the Finals. Welp, that about does her, wraps her all up. Things seem to've worked out pretty good for the Dude'n Walter, and it was a purty good story, dontcha think? Made me laugh to beat the band. Parts, anyway. Course -I didn't like seein' Donny go. But then, I happen to know that there's a little Lebowski on the way. I guess that's the way the whole durned human comedy keeps perpetuatin' itself, down through the generations, westward the wagons, across the sands a time until - aw, look at me, I'm ramblin' again. Wal, uh hope you folks enjoyed yourselves."
What's great about that is how it says it all without really saying anything. Maybe that's one reason people dig the movie and are able to watch it over and over again. It's like picking up a kaleidoscope. You see something new each time."
"Then there's this perspective. A few years ago I met a guy named Bernie Glassman. Bernie started an organisation called the Zen Peacemakers and has founded a number of Zen centres in the United States. He calls his brand of Zen Farkatke Zen. He's a Jewish fella, a wonderful cat."
"Anyway, we got to talking, and he said, "You know, a lot of folks consider the Dude a Zen Master." I said, 'What are you talking about? Zen?' He said quite a few people had approached him wanting to chat about the Dude's Zen wisdom. I'd never heard of that.
I never thought of the Coen Brothers as Zen guys. They never talked about it. I don't think the word Zen was ever mentioned, or Buddhism, or Judaism, for that matter. I don't think of the Dude as a fancy spiritualist or anything like that. But I can see what these folks are talking about. There's enough room in the movie that a lot can be read into it.
For me, the Dude has a certain type of wisdom. I like to call it the "Wisdom of Fingernails": the wisdom that gives you the ability to make your hair and fingernails grow, your heart beat, your bowels move. These are things that we know how to do, but we don't necessarily know how we know how to do them, yet still we do them very well. And that to me is very Dude. It's not like he's a know-it-all, the Dude. He's not a guy who has figured out the way to be or anything like that, but he is comfortable with what he's got, and, as the Stranger says, things turn out pretty well for him. I guess we can all take comfort in that because - who knows? - things may turn out pretty well for us, too.