The Big Lebowski (1998)
Starring: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, David Huddleston, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tara Reid, Philip Moon, Mark Pellegrino, Peter Stormare, Flea, Torsten Voges, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Jack Kehler, John Turturro, Sam Elliot, Ben Gazzara, Warren Keith, Asia Carrera, Jon Polito
Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Cohen
Directed by: Joel and Ethan Cohen
Music: “Hotel California” performed by The Gipsy Kings, originally written by The Eagles
Rarely has a bit character had a bigger impact in a film in which he did not even substantially impact the central plot than John Tuturro’s Jesus Quintana. We are introduced to Jesus in a bizarre bowling scene in which Quintana licks the ball, then throws a strike and tops it all with a slow-motion victory dance. All the while, the background music is provided by the Gypsy Kings’ cover of “Hotel California”. The Cohen brothers first overlaid the song as music not involved in the story itself but as the characters speak, it fades and turns into the music being played by the bowling alley. In a film defined by the director’s remarkable ability to use prewritten songs in their films , this was best and possibly the greatest the Cohens’ have ever done. In other instances, the Cohens use another cover to end the film, Townes van Zandt’s excellent take on the Mick Jagger and Keith Richards’ “Dead Flowers”; Bob Dylan’s “Man in Me” is interspersed throughout the film including the opening credits; “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)”, performed by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, served as the perfect background for the Dude’s Logjammin’ fever dream that was parodied to great effect using Yogi Bear (NSFW language).