Monday, August 18, 2008

44 solid moments of Big Lebowski dialogue

Delivered in chronological order, with, where appropriate, explanations of why I like them ...

1) Stranger: "Now, 'Dude' ... that's a name no one would self-apply where I come from."
Cowboys who hyphenate appropriately and conveniently. I don't know about you, but I take comfort in that.

2) Woo (peeing on the Dude's rug): "Ever thus to deadbeats, Lebowski."
Poetic cynicism from a guy holding his johnson.

3) Other Treehorn Flunky (holding bowling ball): "What the fuck is this?"
Dude: "Obviously, you're not a golfer."
This line fills me to the brim with a weird jealousy, because I would love to respond disdainfully to a dumbass robber who just gave me a swirly. Beyond that, whenever I hold a ball the way OTF holds the ball here, I picture this exchange. It's a sickness.

4) Woo:"He looks like a fuckin' loser."
Dude: "Hey, at least I'm housebroken."

5) Dude: "Walter, the Chinaman who peed on my rug ... I can't go give him a bill! So what the fuck are you talking about?"
Walter: "What the fuck are YOU talking about? The Chinaman is not the issue here, Dude! I'm talking about drawing a line in the sand, Dude. 'Across this line, you do not...' Also, Dude, 'Chinaman' is not the preferred nomenclature. Asian-American, please."
Dude: "Walter, this isn't a guy who built the railroads here."
Obviously the snap-quick change from manufactured fury to patronizing political correctness. And also, the idea that the Dude would somehow be less likely to call a 19th-century railroad builder a "Chinaman" than he would Woo.

6) Walter: "Jeff Lebowski! The other Jeffrey Lebowski! The millionaire!"
Dude: "That's fucking interesting, man, that's fucking interesting."
It's all the pose from the Dude. I can't even describe it.

7) Dude: (indicating photograph of the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers, whose ethnicities vary) "These are, uh..."
Brandt: "Oh, those are Mr. Lebowski's children, so to speak."
Dude: "Different mothers, huh?"
Brandt: "No, they're not..."
Dude: "Racially, he's pretty cool?"
Brandt losing control of the interaction with the Dude.

8) Lebowski: "Do you speak English, sir? Parla usted ingles?"
Parla is Italian, usted ingles is Spanish. Next.

9) Dude: "Wait, let me ex -- let me explain something to you. I am not Mr. Lebowski. You're Mr. Lebowski. I'm the Dude, so that's what you call me. You know, uh, that or 'His Dudeness,' or 'Duder,' or 'El Duderino,' if you're not into the whole brevity thing."
The reference to brevity as some fresh conversational trend. I don't know, maybe it's the phrase "El Duderino" that gets me instead.

10) Lebowski: "I didn't blame anyone for the loss of my legs. Some Chinaman took them from me in Korea."
Chinaman. Korea. NEXT!

11) Lebowski: "Oh, 'fuck it!' Yes, that's your answer! That's your answer to everything! Tattoo it on your forehead!"
Telling someone "That's your answer to everything!" as though you've known them for years, not five minutes. Also, TBL drops the "h" in forehead.

12) Bunny: "Uli doesn't care about anything. He's a nihilist."
Dude: "Oh, that must be exhausting."
Used to be, this was funny because it's simply a funny line, if maybe a bit overreenacted by film fans who've had a few beers (guilty). It's additionally funny because I have a hard time believing Tara Reid is in any way different from her character here.

13) Dude: "You brought a fucking Pomeranian bowling?"
Walter: "What do you mean, 'brought it bowling'? I didn't rent it shoes. I'm not buying it a fucking beer. He's not taking your fucking turn, Dude."

14) Walter: "Smokey, this is not 'Nam, this is bowling. There are rules."
I almost didn't cite this one. I don't love it. But Walter's exasperated voice sells it.

15) Dude: "And you know, he's got emotional problems, man."
Walter: "You mean, beyond pacifism?"
Ditto here for his incredulity.

16) Lebowski: "Are you surprised at my tears, sir?"
Dude (smoking a joint): "Fuckin' A!"
I can't think of a better expression to torpedo the grim atmosphere a man establishes when he summons you to a fireside to report his wife's kidnapping.

17) Dude: "He thinks the carpet pissers did this?"
Brandt: "Well, Dude, we just don't know."
Brandt caves and calls him Dude, the politically expedient thing to do.

18) Dude: "It's all a goddamn fake, man. It's like Lenin said: you look for the person who will benefit, and, uh, you know..."
Donny: "'I am the walrus.'"
Dude: "... you know, you'll, uh ... you know what I'm trying to say..."
Donny: "'I am the walrus.'"
Walter: "That fucking bitch!"
Dude: "Oh yeah!"
Donny: "'I am the walrus.'"
Walter: "That's exa -- Shut the fuck up, Donny! V.I. Lenin! Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov!"

19) Quintana: "Are you ready to be fucked, man? I see you roll your way into the semis ... dios mio, man. Liam and me, we're gonna fuck you up."
Dude: "Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, uh, your opinion, man."
Quintana (to Walter, whose unimpressed gaze never breaks): "Lemme tell YOU somethin', pendejo! You pull any of your crazy shit with us, you flash a piece out on the lanes, I'll take it away from you and stick it up your ass and pull the fuckin' trigger 'til it goes 'click.'"
Dude: "Jesus."
Quintana: "You said it, man. Nobody fucks with the Jesus." (leaves)
Walter (finally turns): "Eight-year-olds, Dude."
You just want so desperately for Walter to say something to Jesus. Two guys who are polar opposites in every way, save for their shared love of violent threats.
And, yeah, Liam. Liam as Jesus's bowling partner. If they got a beer afterward, would they talk bowling? Would they talk about women? Is Liam a pervert, too?

20) Dude (inspecting the unsolicited "ringer"): "What the hell is this?"
Walter: "My dirty undies, Dude. Laundry. The whites!"
Walter's face afterward ... a self-satisfied genius, silently braying like a donkey.

21) Dude: "That's a great plan, Walter. Fuckin' ingenious, if I understand it correctly. That's a Swiss fuckin' watch."

22) Cop: "In the briefcase?"
Dude: "Papers, just papers, you know, my business papers."
Cop: "And what do you do, sir?"
Dude: "I'm unemployed."
Do what you want, but I laugh out loud, every time.

23) Maude: "Do you like sex, Mr. Lebowski?"
Dude: "Excuse me?"
Maude: "Sex, the physical act of love, coitus. Do you like it?"
Dude: "I was talking about my rug."
Maude: "You're not interested in sex?"
Dude: "You mean, coitus?"
Again, the Dude quickly regurgitates someone else's phraseology ("This aggression will not stand, man!") And of course that repeats itself later, "in the parlance of our time"...

24) Maude (turning off the porn movie Logjammin') "You can imagine where it goes from here."
Dude: "He fixes the cable?"
Maude: "Don't be fatuous, Jeffrey."
Julianne Moore's Transatlantic accent breaks me up on "fatuous," a world I can never hear without thinking of fatness. Why can't I get past that?

25) Dom: "So he says, 'My wife's a pain in the ass, she's always busting my friggin' agates. My daughter's married to a jagool loser bastard. I got a rash so bad on my ass I can't even sit down. But you know me, I can't complain.'" (cracks up)
Dude (drinking a White Russian): "Fuckin' A, man. I got a rash, man."
Nothing is purer than the bliss of a drunk utterly missing the point.

26) Dude (being wrestled into a limo): "Careful, man, there's a beverage here!"
"Beverage" always makes me laugh, in this movie and elsewhere, because it's so unnecessary. Drink. Drink drink drink. That didn't seem tough.

27) Dude (as marmot-tamers break in): "Hey, this is a private residence, man!"
Somehow, even the neutral word "residence" seems too classy for his house.

28) Walter: "Fucking Nazis."
Donny: "They were Nazis, Dude?"
Walter: "Oh come on, Donny, they were threatening castration! Are we going to split hairs here?"
As he developed his hurried, flimsy hypothesis, he came up with an equally flimsy defense. He'd be a great press secretary.

29) Walter (flummoxed): "Nihilists. ... Fuck me. I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude ... at least it's an ethos."
A Jew so in need for rules and structure that he finds himself more able to understand the Nazis than people who believe in nothing. "OVER THE LINE!"

30) Dude: "I don't need your fucking sympathy, man, I need my fucking johnson."
Donny: "What do you need that for, Dude?"

31) Knox Harrington: "Do you want a drink?"
Dude: "Yeah, sure. White Russian."
Harrington: "The bar's over there. So what do you do, Lebowski?"
Dude: "Who the fuck are you, man?"
Harrington (giggles): "Just a friend of Maudy's."
Dude: "Yeah? A friend with a cleft asshole?"
A mix of absurdity and ball-breaking between two complete strangers.

32) Maude: "Uli? Her co-star in the beaver picture?"
Dude: "Beaver? ... You mean, vagina? ... I mean, you know the guy?"

33) Walter: "He's in north Hollywood, on Radford, near the In-N-Out Burger."
Dude: "No, the In-N-Out Burger's on Camrose."
Walter: "NEAR the In-N-Out Burger."
Donny: "Those are good burgers, Walter."
Walter: "Shut the fuck up, Donny."
Donny tees it up for Senor Sobchak. And all this, of course, with Dude's landlord's modern dance fiasco in the background.

34) Walter: "Fucking Arthur Digby Sellers wrote 156 episodes. Bulk of the series. Not exactly a lightweight."
Every time I watch this movie, I walk away resolving to find a reason to use the phrase "bulk of the series" in casual conversation. So far, nothing.

35) Walter: "And a good day to you, sir!"
Shouting, unprompted, to a man in an iron lung 20 feet away.

36) Jackie Treehorn: "New technology permits us to do very exciting things in interactive erotic software. Wave of the future, Dude. One hundred percent electronic!"
Dude: "Yeah, well, I still jerk off manually."
Jackie (laughs, slaps Dude's knee): "Of course you do."
Who can find nostalgic camaraderie in the topic of if not a senior-citizen porn magnate?

37) Jackie: "Refill?"
Dude: "Yeah, pope shit in the woods?"

38) Dude: "So, if you would just write me a check for my 10 percent of half a million ... five grand ..." (stumbles drunkenly)

39) Stranger: "Darkness worshed over the Dude ... darker than a black steer's tuchus on a moonless prairie night. There was no bottom."
Other than the steer's tuchus.

40) Police chief: "Mr. Treehorn tells us that he had to eject you from his garden party, that you were drunk and abusive."
Dude (muffled, face down on chief's desk): "Mr. Treehorn treats objects like women, man!"
Whether it's the golfer line or the latter half of this exchange, you're talking about a quote that various circles of my friends would forfeit a half-mile of intestines each never to hear escape my lips again.

41) Dude: "How're you gonna keep 'em down on the farm once they've seen Karl Hungus?"
As far as I can tell, the strangest and most overlooked line in the film.

42) Walter: "The man in the black pajamas, Dude ... worthy fuckin' adversary."

43) Quintana: "HEY! What's this day-of-rest shit? What's this bullshit? I don't fuckin' care ... it don't matter to Jesus! But you not foolin' me, man. You might fool the fucks in the league office, but you don't fool Jesus. It's bush-league psych-out stuff. Laughable, man ... ha HAAA! I would've fucked in you in the ass Saturday. I'll fuck you in the ass next Wednesday instead. (thrusts pelvis) WOOO! You've got a date Wednesday, baby!"
Bush-league scenery-chewing stuff, UNTIL ... the pelvic thrust accompanied by the WOOO! And I found something innately funny in the word "Wednesday" here.

44) Stranger: "'The Dude abides.' I don't know about you, but I take comfort in that. It's good knowing he's out there ... the Dude ... takin' 'er easy for all us sinners. Shucks."

1 comment:

  1. Reading this was EXHAUSTING! I never saw this movie, but I'm loving the quirkiness - think it will have to make my list. Pictures are great,too.

    Don't wait so long between posts, okay?