Awkward Press

Independent publishers of imaginative fiction and daily meditations on the ridiculousness of the universe.
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The Awkward Movie Challenge: The Big Lebowski

July 28, 2010 By: Category: Greatest Hits, The Awkward Movie Challenge

movie-challenge-header

According to Netflix, Mike and Jeffrey agree with each other on movies 84% of the time. In their ongoing feature, The Awkward Movie Challenge, they search valiantly for that sweet 16% that results in big arguments and big laughs.

Mike:

Most of the time, I couldn’t care less about sitting outside of pop culture obsessions. I have no more desire to understand the appeal of Twilight or Lady Gaga or “American Idol” or sports than I care to understand the appeal of sticking a chopstick in ones peehole. But there are a few beloved pop items that really irk me because I don’t get them. One is Some Like It Hot, which has so much going for it—Billy Wilder and Jack Lemon and Marilyn Monroe and a reputation as the greatest comedy ever made—but never fails to bore me. Another is The Big Lebowski.

The Big Lebowski (1998) stars Jeff Bridges as Jeff Lebowski, aka: The Dude, a middle-aged hippie stoner who wants nothing more than to bowl with his crazy Vietnam Vet buddy Walter (John Goodman) but gets caught up in a scheme to deliver ransom money to the kidnappers of the wife (Tara Reid) of a millionaire (David Huddleston), also named Jeffrey Lebowski. Being that this is a movie by Joel and Ethan Coen, greed inevitably fouls the plan when Walter decides that he and The Dude should keep the ransom money for themselves. (more…)

The Awkward Movie Challenge: Magnolia

December 23, 2009 By: Category: Greatest Hits, Movie Reviews, The Awkward Movie Challenge

movie-challenge-header

According to Netflix, Mike and Jeffrey agree with each other on movies 84% of the time. In their weekly feature, The Awkward Movie Challenge, they search valiantly for that sweet 16% that results in big arguments and big laughs.

Mike:

magnolia

When we go to the movies, we have fairly reasonable expectations for whatever flick it is we’re going to view. If we’re to watch a comedy, we want to laugh. If a horror movie is on the docket, we want to get the chills. A drama should wrap us up in its plot, or at least engage us with characters worthy of emotional investment. At the very least, we want to be entertained. Some movies actually fulfill such expectations. A lot don’t. But then there are a select few that take our expectations, lift them over their heads, and smash them to pieces. I recall having such an experience around this time a decade ago. I was a big fan of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights, a movie that blended the epic storytelling of Scorsese’s Goodfellas with the puerile silliness of a seventh grader telling dirty jokes to crack up his friends at recess. So, naturally, I was psyched to see Anderson’s follow-up, Magnolia (released ten years ago this Friday). The trailer was pretty incomprehensible, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The cast was pretty stellar, though (Julianne Moore and Jason Robards, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Melora Walters, Melinda Dillon, Phillip Baker Hall, William H. Macy, John C. Reilly…). Tom Cruise was in it too. (more…)