Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Big Reunion

On Tuesday evening the EH Team assembled to watch The Big Lebowski reunion live on Facebook, which gathered Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore, John Turturro, and T-Bone Burnett together on the same stage. While it was great to see the cast reunited for the Q&A (it would have been nice to see Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Sam Elliott, though) and generally a treat, I personally thought the Lebowski Fest New York event was a little awkward and could have been executed better.

The moderator, one Clark Collis from Entertainment Weekly, was – well let's just say he was out of his element. Apparently he attended the second annual Lebowski Fest back in the day, and it kind of seemed like he had prepared for that instead of an epic 10 year reunion. It was awkward to watch him interact with the cast because, for one thing, they apparently couldn’t understand a word that was coming out of his mouth. The seating arrangement on stage involved big, white armchairs for each cast member and, while they looked very comfy, they spaced everyone out so much that no one could hear anything. And Jeff Bridges was already spaced out enough for everyone.

Speaking of Bridges – he looked perfectly comfortable in his new role of kooky old man/country music singer (Tuesday also marked the release of Bridges first album, which was produced by T-Bone). The first thing he did when he sat down was interrupt Collis so that he could announce that he needed water. The second thing he did was ask the rest of the cast if they’d like some as well.

As far as the rest of the cast, they ranged from upbeat (Turturro) to bewildered (Buscemi said he hadn’t smoked pot in 20 years but that the fest was making him feel stoned). John Goodman may have been the most fun to watch, however – at one point when he couldn’t understand Collis he got up out of his chair, walked to Collis for the question, and then returned to his seat to answer it, all to the delight of the audience. He also indulged his fans with a well placed “You’re out of your element,” and asked if anyone had a copy of Logjammin’ on VHS.

About the audience – I don’t want to be too harsh on my fellow fans, but they were a little ridiculous with the screaming and quoting. While he was kind of just quoting the movie and being good-natured about the famous line, Buscemi advised the audience that they should be the ones to shut the fuck up, and I couldn’t agree with him more.

It might not have been the audience's fault, because, while Collis did ask some pretty lame questions (one was about what quote the actors get the most from fans, and of course that just riled the crowd up even more) it was really the awkward pauses between the questions that did the damage. But like I said, the Q portion of the Q&A was pretty bad. At times, Bridges asked more interesting questions of his cast mates than Collis did.

At one point near the end of the Q&A, the event slipped into absurdity when, after halting everything to tell the screaming audience that no one on stage could understand them, a very baked-looking Bridges tried to lead everyone in a nice healthy round of a yoga “Ommmm.” But The Dude’s Om sounded like he was trying to channel a grizzly bear.

You may have enjoyed the reunion or Collis and the audience may have gotten to you but, whatever the case, as The Dude pointed out at the end of the Q&A – to his fan’s enthusiastic agreement – that it’s just, like…your opinion man.

I’ll leave you with a performance of one of Bridges’ new songs and a DirecTV commercial that Buscemi and Goodman recently lent their voices to, which Buscemi mentioned during the Q&A.

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