Now I’m not a superstitious man but I truly believe that since the moment of my conception I was destined to kneel at the jelly clad feet of ‘the Dude’. Back in 2000, during a particularly rambunctious Rugby match I broke my right shoulder. After an agonising and typically fruitless wait in the emergency room I was given a handful generic, pink pain pills and told to come back the next day.
Subsequently I spent that evening high as a kite and attempting to sleep in an arm chair. Later on, at a non-specific time, on a non-specific channel a film began with a title ambiguous enough to spark my wandering attention, the title of that film? The Big Lebowski.
As is often the case with mild concussion I awoke the next morning with very little memory of the day before and the memories I had retained were surely too bizarre to be real. Sadam Hussein dispatching bowling shoes, Jeff Bridges on a magic carpet and a pair of naked breasts on a trampoline. Whilst I suspected these images had probably come as a result of my first dalliance into the world of mind altering drugs I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had experienced something potentially profound.
So, with renewed lucidity, I popped into Woolies and invested in a vanilla copy of The Big Lebowski. At home I returned to the arm chair I now called home and set about re-watching the film with renewed clarity. What followed was a film so subtly hilarious that even the burning pain of broken bones was not enough to prevent two hours of unavoidable rumbling laughter and don’t forget, ‘strong men also cry’.
Now, nine years on, I can view my life as two separate, clearly defined eras. A life punctuated by one fateful night when I happened upon a film which changed my perception of film and what it is capable of in the right hands. Up until that night my favourite films had been visceral juggernauts such as Demolition man, The Terminator and Die Hard but The Big Lebowski opened my eyes to a new world built on crafted characters, smart wit and keen observation. And, whilst I am sad that I will never again have the virginal pleasure of watching The Big Lebowski for the first time, at least now I know what happens when you fuck a stranger in the arse.