A very special birthday with The Big Lebowski


17th April 2011

Our friends Sam and Simon of the Picturehouse Podcast fame celebrated their first birthday in style: by inviting a bunch of us to a screening of The Big Lebowski, getting us drunk and encouraging us.

If you haven't listened to the Picturehouse Podcast yet, hosted by the venerable Simon Renshaw and Sam Clements, then friend, you're literally missing out on something that's quite good.

Sam and Simon have been podcasting for a year now, and to celebrate, they held a special birthday screening of The Big Lebowski at the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton, for no other reason than it's brilliant. I was still 50/50 on going, until I heard the bar would be serving White Russians. What can I say: I just love dairy-based alcoholic beverages.

Both of these were mine.

As is customary for film screenings in London, before the main event there was fun in the foyer (except it wasn't really in the foyer, it was in the screen itself). Not only were Sam and Simon doing a live podcast, live, as we were sitting there, LIVE, but there were fun and games and all sorts of free shit to give away.

I think this is a promotional Narnia paperweight or something.

All you had to do was bowl a rubber ball into a mountain of promotional giveaways, plus the far more important task of putting your hand up the fastest in the first place. I'm in training for next year.

Plus there were balloons and rub-on tattoos.

I think this guy won the bowling. I'm hoping he didn't come dressed like that, anyway. Let's hope he made it home safe.

That rug really tied his look together.

Anyway, on to the film. You don't need me to tell you how fantastic The Big Lebowski is, but I can definitely tell you it benefits from being watched with a large group of similarly-minded fans. It's not quite up there with the audience participation you get with the likes of The Room or Rocky Horror, but it's a damn sight more enjoyable with a room of fellow Dudes. The quantity of dairy-based alcoholic beverages probably helped, too.

Despite a class-A cast of top Coen characters and brilliant bit-parts, I think my favourite character is Phillip Seymour Hoffman's toady assistant, Brandt. No one does a disgruntled, nervous laugh as well as him: look at that face.

"That's marvellous!"

Also every time I watch it, I spot someone else who I never knew was in it. This time, I realised the extremely camp guy who giggles through the scene with Maude is David Thewlis; also, the goon who flushes The Dude's head in the toilet and yells, "Where's the fuckin' money, shitheaaad?" is Jacob from Lost. I look forward to watching it again next year and discovering that the Chinaman who pees on The Dude's rug is actually the little Asian guy from The Hangover.

Although 'Chinaman' is obviously not the preferred nomenclature.

I didn't win any free shit but I did see a brilliant film and I did get a little bit drunk from drinking alcomilk and I did celebrate the fine work of two lovely chaps who you should love too. Happy birthday, gents!

By the way, the most excellent Big Lebowski artwork in the main banner picture is by Sam Gilbey who is offering prints of it for sale. Fuckin' A!

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