JM Tyree and Ben Walters – BFI Film Classics: The Big Lebowski

Peter Watts in Time Out London:

Big_lebowski_usThe appeal of ‘The Big Lebowski’ is now so well established that it hardly seems surprising it should be one of the films chosen to kick off a new series of canon-defining BFI Classics (along with studies of ‘City Lights’, and – cover your mouth when yawning – ‘Lawrence of Arabia’). This isn’t even the only book on ‘…Lebowski’ out this month. The founders of Lebowskifest – a bowling- based, fancy dress-wearing, Creedence-grooving, White Russian-quaffing celebration of all things Dude – have written ‘I’m A Lebowski, You’re A Lebowski’ (Canongate, £12.99), a fan’s guide to the film filled with trivia, interviews and anecdotes. Read it and learn that somebody really did confront a schoolkid with homework discovered in the back of a stolen car; the authors have tracked down both the self-styled PI and the errant schoolboy.   

Tyree and Walters’ is a more scholarly treatise. The danger you face with a BFI Classic is that given the prospect of filling 25,000 words rather than their usual 800, critics will make statements of increasing stupidity and chin-stroking contrariness in a bid to justify their existence. Walters, Time Out’s deputy film editor, and Tyree, avoid such dangers by identifying the two key quotes in the film – ‘What makes a man?’ and ‘Fuck it, Dude. Let’s go bowling’ – and honing their exposition around these twin themes of (Hollywood) notions of masculinity and a philosophical prioritisiation in favour of fun.

More here.