I saw the movie Wonder Boys way back in 2000, just around the same time I saw The Big Lebowski for the first time on VHS.
Never noticed any connection. Perhaps it was the face-value divide between the preening East coast literati and the goofy West coast motley crew that peopled each of them. Not to mention the fact that one is prone to presume pop-actor Michael Douglas couldn’t hold a candle to the casual cool of Sir Jeffrey Bridges.
But the other day I stumbled upon this Time Magazine article and it impelled me to see it again.
I slouch corrected. It is a fully worthy entry into the pantheon of Dudeist cinema. And Douglas is great in it. Furthermore, celebrated novelist Michael Chabon’s screenplay often approaches the Coenesque. Some sample quotes:
Vernon Hardapple: You drivin’ this car?
Grady Tripp: Excuse me?
Vernon Hardapple: This 1966 maroon Ford Galaxie 500. You drivin’ this car?
Grady Tripp: It’s mine.
Vernon Hardapple: Bullshit! It’s mine, motherfucka!
Grady Tripp: You must be mistaken.
Grady Tripp: What do we have here? This looks like… that’s our old friend Mr. Codeine. That should take the old pinch out of the ankle. Want one?
James Leer: No, thanks. I’m fine without them.
Grady Tripp: Right. That’s why you were standing in the chancellor’s backyard spinning that "cap gun" of yours. You’re fine. Yeah, you’re just as fit as a fuckin’ fiddle.
Grady Tripp: Shocking as it may sound, I am not the first writer to sip a little weed. Furthermore, it might surprise you to know that one book I wrote, as you say, "under the influence," just happened to win a little something called the Pen Award. Which, by the way, I accepted under the influence.
Enjoy! And make sure to read the Time article referenced above.