The first time I saw The Big Lebowski, I didn't have a very strong reaction, admits Will Russell, one of the self-styled Founding Dudes of the ever-expanding Lebowski Fest. I ended up seeing it a couple more times, though, and on the third viewing, I fell in love. I wondered if anyone else felt the way I did about the movie.
Indeed, quite a few other people do share Russell's passion for The Big Lebowski. The Coen Brothers' stoner-friendly, eminently quotable comedy has become a cult classic since its 1998 release, and in 2002 Russell and a handful of friends started Lebowski Fest in honor of the film's shaggy, bowling-obsessed protagonist, The Dude, as immortally portrayed by Jeff Bridges. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Fest will come to Denver to offer live music, costume contests, a bowling tournament and, of course, a screening of the film to the faithful.
It's hard to explain why people love this movie, says Russell. "It's just one of those things that either someone is way into or they just don't get it. People enjoy getting together at Lebowski Fest because they see they're not alone and that others share their love of the movie. It's a feeling of being among your people."
Lebowski Fest takes place tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Ogden Theatre (935 East Colfax Avenue, 303-832-1874, $20.50) and tomorrow at 8 p.m. at Bowl-Ero (5480 West Alameda Avenue, 303-922-1125, $25); for more info, visit www.lebowskifest.com.
Tue., Sept. 8, 7:30 p.m., 2009