Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Things I've Often Wondered About The Big Lebowski

I know this is my second Big Lebowski post in a matter of just a few days, but I was rewatching the movie after having written that post and there are some things I've always wondered about the movie, that I'm hoping some of you fine people can help me out with.

First, what's the deal with the bowling teams? The Dude's team seems to have 3 people on it, Dude, Walter, and Donnie, while all the other teams have only 2.

As evidence, "You ready to be fucked, man? I see you rolled your way into the semis. Dios mio, man. Liam and me, we're gonna fuck you up." Clearly indicating only Liam and Jesus on that team.

Also, "Dude, this is Smokey. Look, I don't wanna be a hard-on about this, and I know it wasn't your fault, but I just thought it was fair to tell you that Gilbert and I will be submitting this to the League and asking them to set aside the round. Or maybe forfeit it to us."

For what it's worth, in watching the movie I feel like I remember him saying that his partner's name was Gilbert, while the screenplay I'm cutting and pasting from says his name is Gene. I'm not gonna rely on my memory because I wasn't specifically paying attention for his name. UPDATE: He definitely says Gilbert in the movie, so I changed the quote.

Anyhow, the point is that why does the Dude's team have 3 guys? I can't say this with 100% certainty, but during the movie I don't actually recall the Dude ever bowling, while Donnie and Walter were definitely bowling at one time or another. My contention is that the Dude is just the scorekeeper or something. Maybe he's Donnie's understudy in case of an unfortunate heart attack during league play.

The second thing I've often wondered is this. Do you think Brandt was in on the scheme to steal the million dollars or was it just Lebowski (the other Jeffrey Lebowski, the millionaire) who was gonna keep the money for himself? I don't know if there's really one way to definitively determine this, and ultimately it doesn't really hint at it at all. Given that it's never even mentioned at all and the fact that Brandt seems to really admire Lebowski in a childlike way, it's unlikely. But still it's something I've wondered.

The third thing, and I guess this is sort of arbitrary and doesn't really have an answer, but why does Walter hate Donnie so much? I understand that that's what makes it so funny, but after having watched this movie about a million times by now, I've moved to just analyzing strange things about it. Donnie generally asks legitemate questions, with a couple exceptions ("I don't neet sympathy, Walter. I need my fucking Johnson." "What do you need that for, Dude?"). Maybe Walter is just used to him asking more stupid questions than most people so he's just fed up with him at this point. Who knows? Any reaasonable explanations? Also I'm confident in the possibility that Walter hates Donnie vehemently and only hangs out with him because he makes their bowling team better.


Evan said...

1)I’ve often thought about the numbers of players on the team as well. I’ve concluded that only two members can roll, for any given game, but your team can consist of more than two players. I’m assuming Donnie is the “alternate” on the team, because Jesus if clearly talking to the Dude and Walter. Also, Walter stresses over and over that he needs for the Dude to play in the semis. If this is the case I’m guessing the team chooses which two people to roll.

2) I think Brandt is definitely in on the scam. Brandt is the person who gives Dude the ringer (You threw out a ringer for a ringer!). So, if Brandt was not in on the scam, Brandt would have to be kept in the dark about the ringer and deliver it. I think that would be too much for Mr. Lebowski to risk. Also, when Brandt and Mr. Lebowski confront Dude in the back of the limo it seems to me that Brandt and Mr. Lebowski are on the same page. Now, do you think that Bunny Lebowski was in the scam as well?

3) Walter hatred toward Donnie is never explained, thus making it hilarious! Clearly Walter is crazy and maybe this plays into it. Walter may just arbitrarily hate Donnie, but, who knows?

Open Bar said...

I agree with Ev that all three are probably on the team, but I'm not so sure it's Donny who's the alternate. After all, he's the one we actually see bowling the most. Does the Dude ever even throw a ball during the movie? He's usually just sitting there marking or not marking it zero.

And Bunny didn't know about the scam. She just took off "to avoid that rather sizable sum" she owes Jackie Treehorn. She's an idiot and a whore.

And yeah, I think Brandt's in on it. All the "her life is in your hands, Dude"s swayed me.

ChuckJerry said...

Isn't it possible that Brandt just really admires Lebowski? Like when he's explaining all the awards and stuff he nearly creams his pants with enthusiasm. And given that blind devotion he just goes along with whatever Lebowski says.

If you think of it, watch the scene where Lebowski is in fron of the fire going "Real men also cry" and the Dude is "doing a J," and watch the cutaways of Brandt. They're really interesting.

I really suspect that Brandt is not in on it.

Side Bar said...

I don't think Walter "hates" Donnie. He is visibly upset when Donnie dies, gives a moving eulogy (sort of) and he is protective of Donnie when the nihilists attack. I think he is just hard on Donnie b/c they have hung out together for like a million years and Donnie is annoying.

Like if Dave died you would be sad, but on any given day Dave is kind of annoying and we frequently tell him as much.

Anonymous said...

Agree with general sentiment on #2 and #3. Walter's just kind of nuts and Brandt is in on the whole thing. I think the logistics would be tough for Lebowski to pull off if he wasn't.

Re #1, I think the Coens didn't mean to mislead us, but did accidentally. Maybe each team does have 3 players, but perhaps Jesus and Liam's teammate is just off-camera. Or taking a massive shit. And the Smokey "Me and Gene..." thing might be just an unintentional mistake.

I think The Dude does bowl. You don't see him actually rolling, but he gets out in the lane and stretches and shit, clearly getting ready to actually bowl. And doesn't he have a bowling bag? I bet it looked weird with his character that he would do something as focused and active as bowling so they decided not to shoot him bowling.

"What's this day of rest shit? Laughable... HAAA! You might fool those fucks down at the league office, but you don't fool Jesus. Don't matter. I would've fucked you in the ass on Saturday. I'll fuck you on Wednesday instead. WHOOOO!!! You got a date on Wednesday, baby!"

(did not use IMDB, hopefully not too far off from actual quote)

Anonymous said...

BTW, great photo of Brandt. What a great acting job by P.S. Hoffman as an ass-kissing lackey.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Lebowski...You're a Lebowski...