"You can call him The Dude or His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing"

Last night, I was watching the wonderful PBS series, American Masters, as they opened their 25th season with “Jeff Bridges: The Dude Abides”, a fitting title to a nice potrayal of Jeff Bridges. It took me back to a time when I used to go out late, with a couple of my friends who were movie enthusiasts like me, to a nearby multiplex showing not-so-new movies for $1.50 each. That was the time before the ubiquity of DVDs and big screen TVs, the rise of both has since marginalized these economical cine projections into antiquated novelties. I watched many a memorable movie whose name I hadn’t heard of before in these shows – The 13th Warrior, The Usual Suspects and Election to name a few. But by far, the best unheard-of-movie that I had ever watched in such late night adventures is The Big Lebowski.

Boy, were we blown away! The Dude had made an impression on us that would last forever.

Just as the three of us who watched it together at that time had never heard of it before, there were many who were unaware of his Dudeness for a long time since. Yet, to this day, any conversations we have among us don’t go beyond two or three sentences before the Dude makes an appearance. Glad to see him reach a cult status now, but for years, we couldn’t fathom why no one recognized this masterpiece and why so many never truly appreciated his brilliant portrayal. Yes, the writing from the Coen brothers is some of the best ever, but I doubt if anyone could have brought The Dude to life like Jeff Bridges did.

While he won his Oscar recently for his Crazy Heart performance, in my mind’s image, he is frozen forever as the Dude. Looking back at his earlier movies and his performances in Bad Company, Cutter’s way, Starman, and The Contender, I always thought he came across as an uncontrived actor who is never trying too hard.. comfortably lulling some into overlooking him, but never leaving them rolling their eyes for over-doing it. He just seems to be himself in every role, letting the character come to him. Well, the Dude abides.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite scenes of him with The Big Lebowski.
“I’ve got information..man.. new shit has come to light!”

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