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August 19, 2011

You Can Now Watch “The Big Lebowski” With Your Facebook Friends

The cult classic The Big Lebowski is now available to rent on Facebook.Coinciding with the film’s Blu-ray release, fans of the Coen brothers comedy can rent the film directly from The Big Lebowski Facebook fan page.

Facebook continues to gain ground as a movie rental platform. Last month, Paramount Pictures brought the Jackass film series to Facebook and Warner Bros. continues to make more titles available on the social network.

For this release, Universal Pictures is doing something more unique with its rental offering by giving fans a way to interact and share their favorite parts of the film online.

Working with F-commerce developer Milynoi, NBCUniversal is giving the Facebook rental experience a more social twist.

Users that rent the film can “like” and make comments on memorable scenes and quotes throughout the film. They can also see what other Facebook fans and friends have said while watching the movie. Plus, users can reward up to five friends with a $1 discount on the Facebook rental. A 48-hour rental is 30 Facebook Credits ($3), which is the same amount other studios are charging for similar titles.

Even though the film is available on DVD, Blu-ray and through digital download services such as Amazon, Cinema Now and Vudu, we think a Facebook offering makes sense for this type of film.

The Big Lebowski was not a blockbuster in theaters, but it has found immense success on home video and DVD over the past 13 years. Much of its popularity has been fueled by strong word-of-mouth buzz and group rentals. I first saw the film my junior year of high school with a group of friends. It was a veritable staple in college.

Thus, it makes sense to us to allow current or new fans of the film to make the group viewing experience more visceral on the social web. With college and universities starting up, this would be a great way for friends spread out across the country to share a funny, infinitely quotable movie together.

The Big Lebowski is a 1998 comedy film written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Jeff Bridges stars as Jeff Lebowski, an unemployed Los Angeles slacker and avid bowler, who is referred to (and also refers to himself) as "The Dude". After a case of mistaken identity, The Dude is introduced to a millionaire also named Jeffrey Lebowski. 

When the millionaire Lebowski's trophy wife is later kidnapped, he commissions The Dude to deliver the ransom to secure her release. The plan goes awry when The Dude's friend Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) schemes to keep the full ransom. Steve Buscemi, Philip Seymour Hoffman, David Huddleston, Julianne Moore, Tara Reid, and John Turturro star in the film, which is narrated by a cowboy known only as "Stranger," played by Sam Elliott.

The film is loosely based on Raymond Chandler's novel, The Big Sleep.The original score was composed by Carter Burwell, a longtime collaborator of the Coen Brothers. The Big Lebowski failed at the U.S. box office and received mixed reviews at the time of its release. Reviews have trended towards the positive over time, and the film has become a cult favorite,noted for its idiosyncratic characters, dream sequences, unconventional dialogue, and eclectic soundtrack.

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski returns home only to be roughed up by two thugs claiming to be collecting money that Lebowski's wife owes a man named Jackie Treehorn. After beating him and urinating on his rug, they realize they are looking for a different person with the same name, and they leave. At the instigation of his friend and bowling teammate Walter Sobchak (Goodman), The Dude decides to seek compensation for the rug from the other Jeffrey Lebowski. The next day, the titular "Big" Lebowski, a wheelchair-bound millionaire, refuses The Dude's request. The Dude meets Bunny Lebowski (Reid), the Big Lebowski's nymphomaniac trophy wife, while leaving the premises with a rug taken from the mansion.


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