Set at the time of the Gulf War, the Coen Brothers meandering homage to Raymond Chandler baffled most audiences upon release in 1998. But as the full suckitude of the sucky decade to come revealed itself, suddenly it looked less like a rangy goof and more like a pretty sensible design for living in a world of senseless hostility: mix up a White Russian, fire up another doob, and go bowling. Jeff Bridges abiding Dude was the perfect hero for the Bush II years, cosmically unfazed by the looming menace of Saddam Hussein (who proved to be about as big a threat in real life as he is here). A decade later, though, the figure that seems most prophetic is John Goodmans Walter Sobchak, the original teabagger, a wellspring of apoplectic rage and bad information. All we can hope is that 2019 isnt the Year of Jesus Quintana. No word on whether The Belcourt will again offer White Russians at the bar, but heres hopingespecially since just last week, the theater was blessed with a visit by the Coens inspiration for The Dude, film marketing guru Jeff Dowd.
Sat., Sept. 26, midnight; Sun., Sept. 27, midnight, 2009