The Coen's tackle Noir in Gulf War-era Los Angeles. It's certainly no Chinatown, and I'm sure James Ellroy probably disapproved, but The Big Lebowski is one charmer of a movie, excluding Jesus the Bowler. Highly underrated, apparently by fans of the Coen Brothers, and perhaps understandably so. John Goodman's acting is ever so forceful, Steve Buscemi's turn as the weak-hearted Donnie is rather limp, and there are too many unanswered questions. But these quirks go by mostly unnoticed, as the sheer novelty of the story and colourful cast of characters should charm the pants of those with a sense of humor - a questionable sense of humor, of course. The Big Lebowski earns the title of Semi-Great Flick, perhaps missing Great Flick status simply because of the power of the Coen's earlier work. It's not quite up there with other Coen classics like Barton Fink or The Hudsucker Proxy, but it's still an original slice of...well, pick your term. It's like a pie in the face: it tastes good, probably smells alright, but it tends to get annoyingly stuck in those hard to clean areas.