We rounded off a short but relaxing holiday weekend with a viewing of The Big Lebowski (parental warning; occasionally, the actors do not swear in this film), written and directed by the Coen brothers. This comic romp, with Jeff Bridges’s portrayal of ‘The Dude’ echoing Eliott Gould’s portrayal of Philip Marlowe in The Long Goodbye, deserves its cult status. The script, including ‘cuss words’, ranks up there with The Producers for comic dialogue (the best excerpts can be read here). I particularly liked John Goodman’s portrayal of Vietnam Vet, Walter Sobchak. There were several such oddball characters knocking around in Bologna in the late 1970s, profiting from the GI Bill and lax entry requirements at the university to become permanent students. They were generally nice people but, like Sobchak, they had a screw loose and could suddenly turn paranoid – sometimes violently so. I remember one’s graphic description of his war experience. Frequently shot at by an enemy he never once saw, his job from hell was to drive a jeep up and down a road in the middle of the jungle for hours on end to maintain the polite fiction that the road was free. No wonder he had a screw loose.