Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

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Profanity's involved. Of course, 'cause this is about The Big Lebowski. (Cinco de Lebowski)

It’s the slouch that sells it. Otherwise, I don’t really look like Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski. John Belushi didn’t look like Joe Cocker either, but Belushi NAILED Cocker’s voice and body language. It was impressive. I wasn’t that impressive, but A) I‘m not John Belushi, and B) there I was, at the Bagdad, in a bathrobe and shorts and with a White Russian in hand (my first drink of vodka! apocalypsos would be so proud!), and my gut was hanging out and I was slouching. I was good enough Dude enough for a couple of guys to photograph me with a woman dressed as a Valkyrie.

This was Friday. “Cinco de Lebowski,” the fifth annual Cort and Fatboy screening of The Big Lebowski, and the third such screening I’ve attended, and I and hundreds of others were channeling the Spirit of The Dude. We abided, as we should. This was my favorite of my three screenings: the best, coolest vibe, the best costumes, the best conversation, and maybe the most gleefully surreal. One guy went to the screening as Larry’s father. Meaning he was IN AN IRON LUNG. His companion: the same Valkyrie who later posed with me.

(I met them in line earlier, while I passed out tastily blackened tater tots to people in line. The Valkyrie grabbed a tot, dipped it in sauce, and then fed it to him. I’m glad she did. Me doing it would’ve been weird.)

Like the last two years, the weather pre-screening cooperated, and unlike last year it kept cooperating until after the movie, too. It was a nice, comfy night. Especially good for bathrobes.

At the Lebowski screening two years ago, the event’s vibe left a little…off, and more potentially aggressive than I would’ve liked. It was VERY crowded, as in “sitting in the aisles” crowded, and Bobby “Fatboy” Roberts read the crowd before the film and canceled a planned practical joke, because he felt the prank would piss people off. Good call. No such worries this time. (Last year’s, I left about a half-hour into the movie. I went home to have the energy the next day for a preview screening of Star Trek, and I’m glad I did; that preview was a blast. So I‘ll add no further observations about the Lebowski vibe last year.)

Simplifying things this year, we didn’t march. We either waited in line or waited in the pub. I’d gotten to the Bagdad very early (what the kids on Teh Intarwebs call “hella early”) so I could have dinner. Before the doors opened, I sprang for tater tots, in order to give them to people in line, give them “the strength to go on“ while waiting. Quite a few asked if the tots were, um, tainted. I replied “I’ve spent the last several years building an immunity to--shit, wrong movie.”

At the front of the line was the band The Lord's Own Choir, adding music to the night. Which sounds too poetic for The Big Lebowski, even when Sam Elliott as The Stranger is talkin‘, but it‘s my blog, I can phrase it thusly. Some time after the theater doors opened, the next band, The Troublemakers, started playing blues on stage. Dancing happened (some of it shirtless for some reason). The music was loud enough to reach the people in the lobby, waiting in multiple lines for food and alcohol, much of which was purchased Friday night. (You couldn’t have alcohol at any screenings of Iron Man 2 that night, so this film beats that film, right?!) Cort and Fatboy also had black T-shirts on sale, one with John Goodman as Walt pulling a gun and saying “Mark it Cinco,” the other with a Folger’s can and the words “Shut the fuck up, Donny” on it.

Five people got entered in the Big Lebowski costume contest, and, no surprise, Larry’s Uncle in an iron lung won first place. (It was a good iron lung. This wasn’t an “A for effort” case.) Cort wasn’t a contestant, since it’s his event, but he was in costume as -- I’m still happily surprised -- nihilist porn star Carl Hungus. (Probably was his own tool belt. Cort’s good at home improvements. It wasn‘t his hair, though.)

And the movie happened, and played big as it always does with crowds like this. And afterwards we staggered home, me not having to do much staggering because a cab picked me up. (Cute cab driver, too.) And then I wasn’t slouching because I was sleeping.

To anyone who hasn’t seen The Big Lebowski and knows not a thing of what I’ve been describing, you’re out of your element I’m sorry. It’s a ragged, addled film with unique charms. Plenty of people love it. Plenty of people hate it. Plenty of people just plumb don’t get it. This crowd -- it got it. The crowds at Cort and Fatboy’s Midnight Movies “get it,” which is part of the screenings’ fun. Next month’s: Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Brought to us, as Lebowski was, by Cort and Fatboy, McMenamin’s, Cort and Fatboy’s current broadcasting home, Things From Another World, and the Portland Mercury. There. It’s easier to include the sponsors when they’re good sponsors.
Tags: midnight movies, music, portland

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