"This is not 'Nam, this is bowling; there are rules... You mark that frame an eight, you're entering a world of pain..." THE BIG LEBOWSKI DVD
Universal Home Entertainment will finally be drawing back the curtain on its DVD “Collector’s Edition” of The Big Lebowski on October 18. The good folks at the DVD preview site Upcoming Discs have revealed that the new edition will feature a much spiffier presentation (remastered anamorphic widescreen) than was seen on the previous edition, which has been available in most Best Buy bargain bins for a couple of years now. Extra features will include the very same relatively delightful “making of” documentary that was featured on the Polygram disc, as well as a gallery of production photographs shot on the set by Jeff Bridges, and an introduction by one Mortimer Young. Well, in the words of one disgruntled potential buyer on Amazon.com who sees the new edition as a cynical fleecing of the Lebowski faithful, “Oooh, whoopee (sic), that sure is worth my money! Who the hell is (Mortimer Young) anyway?” Coen fans who either bought or rented the recent director’s cut DVD of their first film, Blood Simple, may remember Mortimer Young as the excessively dry, entirely faux film professor who introduced the new cut with such laser-precise comments as, “The Coens have removed some of the boring bits and added other parts.” Another appearance by Young on the new edition of The Big Lebowski bodes well for at least four of five minutes of hilarious skewering of critical academia, if nothing else.
(Lebowski, being the beautiful scruffy specimen that it is, probably wouldn’t lend itself as well to the kind of delirious satire that was provided by equally faux film expert Kenneth Loring on the Coen-scripted commentary track of the noir-drenched Blood Simple, but his presence on the disc will be missed nonetheless.)
Apparently there will also be a limited “Achiever’s Edition” available featuring the Collector's Edition DVD, a bowling shammy towel, quotable lines picture coasters and photo cards from Jeff Bridges' personal collection. The only thing missing that would make such a splashy package complete is a ticket to the next Lebowski Fest.
There is one more good reason to pick up either the Collector’s Edition or the Achiever’s Edition, and that would be the closed-captioning and English subtitles created fresh for this new release by yours truly and my wife. We spent a very happy couple of days at work earlier this year poring over what, for both of us, I think, is our favorite Coen Brothers film in minute detail in order to bring to it the best subtitling possible. When you rent it or watch the copy you buy, you can click the “subtitle” feature on your DVD player, check out our contribution to the enjoyment of the film, and perhaps even find them to your liking. Hopefully, in the same way that the Cowboy observes of the Dude that every age gets the man it deserves, The Big Lebowski will finally get the DVD, and the subtitles, it deserves.
UPDATE 10/11/05: Courtesy of DVD Beaver, here's a screen grab from The Big Lebowski Collector's Edition, complete with one of approximately 1,500 brand-spanking-new DVD subtitles.