At midnight tonight, the distribution deal between Netflix’s online streaming service and the Epix premium movie channel will expire. This means more than 100 titles will vanish from Netflix’s online catalog overnight – including many newer releases such as World War Z, the Hunger Games movies and Transformers: Age of Extinction. (Many of these will head over to Hulu, thanks to the new Epix deal there.)
And yet, for some reason I can’t stop thinking about one particular loss, a 17-year-old non-hit about an unkempt guy in his bathrobe.
The Big Lebowski, as with many films from the offbeat siblings Joel and Ethan Coen, is not for everyone: It rambles and takes odd side-turns into absurdism, farce and beyond. But its slacker charms have inspired comparisons to Zen Buddhism, and Jeff Bridges has yet to find a better role – even the turn in Crazy Heart that won him an Oscar pales next to his performance as Jeff “The Dude” Lewbowski.
A love story between a man and his rug, Lebowski channels the L.A.-set detective fiction of Raymond Chandler as it depicts one man’s struggle to find justice: Some guys broke into The Dude’s apartment, thinking he was another Jeff Lebowski, and urinated on his floor covering.
Of course, the film is about much more than the rug. It’s also about white Russian cocktails and bowling and ransom demands and one of those Philip Seymour Hoffman supporting performances that helped cement the actor’s then-fledgling career.
Mostly, though, it’s about perseverance. The Dude’s uniquely comic stoner affect allows him to endure indignities, insults and injuries. One imagines that the offense of being kicked off Netflix’s playlist would be a walk in the park for him. The Dude, after all, abides.
If you have Netflix and nothing else to do this evening, watch (or re-watch) The Big Lebowski before it goes away. There are far worse ways to spend a Wednesday night.