Lebowski: A Natural, Zesty Enterprise Ten Years Later Some people remember where they were when, like, JFK was shot. Or when 9/11 happened. Me, I recall where I was when The Big Lebowski came out. Sadly, I was not in line to buy tickets. I was at a boarding school in Michigan nodding off during my Constitutional Due Process class. Little did I know then what a cultural touchstone this filmic gem would be, and what a personal totem it would become for me.

I admit -- and I say this with more than a touch of embarrassment -- that I saw Lebowski for the first time on VHS (remember those?) over the summer of 1998, and I fell asleep the first two times I tried to watch it. Granted, it could've been the 40 of Old English I'd snuck into the basement and guzzled with my no-good skater boyfriend, but I digress. My point is, it did not work its magic on me immediately. Like anything good in life, I had to earn the right to appreciate its nuances. Ten years on, I discover something new and excellent to love about the movie with each viewing. No small feat, being that I have probably watched it somewhere around 317 times at this point.

Normally I don't go for the obsessive, nerd convention-typed fanfare that cult movies like Lebowski engender. You'll never spot me at a midnight screening of Rocky Horror. But the people who devote their lives to Lebowski are a different breed, I think. These aren't your average drama nerd, musical theater cast-offs. They're people who genuinely appreciate Creedence and bowling and White Russians and cheap pot and lingonberry pancakes and coitus and Nihilism and trivia surrounding the state of Israel. In other words, they like to party. And I can get on board with that.

This year marks the ten-year anniversary of The Big Lebowski, which means that the annual Lebowski Fest (now in its seventh year) in Louisville, Kentucky, which kicks off tomorrow, will have special resonance for everyone involved, whether you're lucky enough to make the pilgrimage or will be digging its vibes from afar. I'd like us all to take a moment to salute this monumental zeitgeist and the ripple effect it continues to have a decade after it debuted.

The dude abides.




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