Best Jeff Bridges Movies -- the Comedies

Jeff Bridges wins Oscar
Jeff Bridges wins Oscar | Source

Jeff Bridges is an amazing, versatile actor with a wide variety of credits to his name. According to imdb.com, his first role was Infant at Train Station in the 1951 drama The Company She Keeps.

Since then he has appeared in 8 TV series and 71 movies. Bridges, the iconic Dude, has gone largely under-appreciated in his career, but in 2010 he was honored with a Best Actor Oscar for the film Crazy Heart.

Bridges has been involved with many types of films including Westerns, Super-Hero Action, Animated Features, Sports Dramas, Science Fiction, Biopics, and Comedies. In this article, we will take a look at some of those Comedies. Five to be specific.



Jeff Bridges on Acting Drunk

So, without further fanfare, here are…

The Top Five Comedy Films of Jeff Bridges


1. The Big Lebowski, 1998, playing Jeffrey Lebowski, AKA The Dude.

Synopsis: A case of mistaken identity causes Jeffrey Lebowski, The Dude, to meet a millionaire in town who shares his name. Shortly afterwards, the millionaire is in need of assistance and calls upon the Dude.

Starring: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tara Reid, Sam Elliot.

The Dude first appears on screen wearing an outfit reminiscent of Steve Martin's I don't need anything look in The Jerk. He is in Ralph's grocery store, where he pulls a carton of milk from the shelf and proceeds to drink from it. The Dude spends his days bowling with his unstable friend Walter(Goodman) and drinking White Russians which he sometimes calls Caucasians.

One night Dude is attacked in his home. The attackers are seeking payment of a great deal of money that Jeffrey Lebowski owes them. As one attacker holds Dude down, the other urinates on his Living Room rug. It is soon apparent, even to the dim-witted attackers that The Dude is not the millionaire Jeffery Lebowski whose wife owes them money.

The Dude is unhappy about his rug, which he threw out after the incident. He decides that the millionaire owes him for the rug and goes to collect. The millionaire (the titular Big Lebowski) refuses to pay and while leaving the mansion Dude steals a rug of his which he assures the staff Big Lebowski has given him. Later, when Big Lebowski's wife Bunny(Reid) is kidnapped, he summons The Dude to make the money drop to the kidnappers. Then, as I'm fond of saying satirically, hilarity ensues.

The Best: The Dude is summoned to Maude(Moore) Lebowski's house. Once at the house, he enters into a large empty hallway that is very dark. There is a light at the end where a painted canvas seems to be angled on the floor. Very strange music is playing -- it is two female voices who seem to be saying "Hiya" over and over. Suddenly there is a loud rumbling from behind Dude. He turns in alarm to find a naked Maude in a harness, apparently suspended from the ceiling, flailing her arms and flying straight towards him. Dude ducks as she passes over and manages to get a few splashes of green paint from the brushes in her hands on the canvas.



The Amateurs Trailer

2. The Amateurs, 2005, playing Andy Sargentee.

Synopsis: Andy is lives in a small town. He has a hard time keeping a job. Having tried every get-rich scheme, he comes up with his best idea yet. Making an amateur porno. Andy knows nothing about making a movie, and neither do any of his friends in town who sign on to help. No problem, right?

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Time Blake Nelson, Joe Pantoliano, Ted Danson, Lauren Graham, Jeanne Tripplehorn.

The sweetest movie you've ever seen that involves a porno. The townspeople are all friends of Andy, and even though they too have lost money on all his schemes from the past, when he decides to make a porno they are all there to do it with them.

Andy and the investors begin by watching many porno films for research. Eventually they come up with a short list of the types of scenes they think should be in their movie and begin trying to find actors to play the roles. They look to other people in town to fill the roles and hit their first snag when three men they've hired to play the roles of big black guys turn out to be less-than-well endowed.

When the first intimate scene of their movie is finally about to be filmed, Andy decides that the crew should give the actors some privacy. That's when everyone, even the cameraman, turns their backs to the action. They continue this practice throughout filming and while the characters that comprise the crew aren't looking neither is the camera of this film. We only see the fallout from the scene -- such as clothes flying.

The Best: One of the three men who are fired from the film for not being so big, returns to discuss payment with Andy. He is upset because the men were only paid half of what they were promised. There is a back-and-forth between he and Andy about the expectations of each. They are sitting in a diner during this exchange and people are beginning to get upset. The discussion reaches its climax with Andy yelling out "Black Penis! Black Penis!" while banging his fists on the table.


Men Who Stare ... Trailer

3. The Men Who Stare at Goats, 2009, playing Bill Django.

Synopsis: A reporter meets a former member of a military unit called the New Earth Army, whose goal was to cultivate and make use of psychic abilities among its soldiers.

Starring: Jeff Bridges, George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Lang, Stephen Root, Rebecca Mader.

Lyn Cassady (Clooney) is a man who once knew what it was like to be truly happy. Not though success or wealth, but though true spiritual freedom. Where did he find this freedom? In the military.

He was part of the New Earth Army, A unit whose mission was peace. Its leader, Bill Django, was a type of guru who wanted to transform the army in to a non violent organization.

He would do this through the use of psychic soldiers, called Jedi. The Jedi practiced driving while blindfolded, predicting the future, astral projection, and dancing.

Eventually, the unit was shut down after Django was accused of spending government funds on drugs and hookers. The hooker part was untrue.

The Best: Lyn and Bob (McGregor) are driving through the Iraqi desert with nothing but sand to be seen for miles. Lyn decides to practice cloud-bursting, a psychic skill that disintegrates clouds. He is explaining the technique to Bob and looking up at the sky when he crashes the car into a rock.



4. How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, 2008, playing Clayton Harding.

Synopsis: Sidney (Pegg) is an outspoken journalist who works on the fringes of the business. Suddenly he is given a job working for one of the largest publications in the country and has some trouble fitting in.

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Simon Pegg, Megan Fox, Gillian Anderson, Kirsten Dunst, Danny Huston.

Hilarious and somewhat slapstick look at magazine publishing and the treatment of Hollywood up-and-comers. Sidney is something of a rebel. He wants to break through the shiny veneer of Hollywood's famous people and get though to the real stuff. He loves to poke fun at the ridiculousness of it all and in his small magazine he does just that. Suddenly, a major magazine publisher wants to give him a job.

Sidney finally thinks he's made it. He'll be respected and supported for who he is. He arrives at his first day of work at Sharps Magazine wearing a bright red T-shirt with the motto Young Dumb and Full of Come. No one thinks it's funny, especially not Sharps' publisher. As the days pass, thing seem to get worse and worse for Sidney at the magazine. He always seems to be doing the wrong thing at the wrong time.

The Best: There's a hilarious scene where Sidney hires a stripper for his boss, Lawrence(Huston), to celebrate a promotion. Lawrence and the others in the conference room where the dance is occurring don't know that the female stripper is actually a Transvestite until her manhood is exposed. She continues dancing exposed on the boss's lap while he squirms. She just turns to face the door when Lawrence's wife and two young daughters enter the room. Sidney covers the stripper's manhood but not before all three have had a good look.




5. Kiss Me Goodbye, 1982, playing Rupert.

Synopsis: A widow of three years is getting married and moving on with her life. However, her dead husband isn’t .

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Sally Field, James Caan, Claire Trevor, Mildred Natwick.

Something of a Romantic Comedy, Kiss Me Goodbye is a sweet and funny glimpse at two people who would like to put the dead to rest. Kay(Fields) is a widow of three years who is moving back into the house she shared with her husband Jolly(Caan). Unfortunately, Jolly is still there, as a ghost.

Her fiancé Rupert would also like to put Jolly behind him too. His soon-to-be mother-in-law (Trevor) can't stop gushing over how wonderful Jolly was in every way. Plus, his soon-to-be wife is trying to convince him she's having conversations with Jolly's ghost.

Both try to deal with the situation as best they can. Kay by first trying to ignore Jolly and then trying to accept him in to their lives. Rupert by first trying to get Kay divorced from the dead man, then trying to force Kay to accept he isn't real, and later trying to have him exorcised from the house.

The Best: There is a wonderful scene that takes place at a country Inn. Rupert has decided that he will persuade Kay to break from her delusion (he doesn't believe there really is a ghost of Jolly) by pretending he too can see a ghost of a past love.

The couple is in a Sitting Room at the Inn where the manager is sitting by the fireplace and a newlywed couple have just entered the room. Rupert begins to proclaim that he can see his old girlfriend in a wooden chair. He is animated and loudly insists that he can see her.

The manager is stunned to silence, while the newlywed bride claims that she too can see the woman ghost. The scene erupts into fighting between the newlywed couple, and then Kay and Rupert. The manager suddenly rushes off to make some tea.

________________________________

The movies I begrudgingly left off the list:


The Fisher King. An excellent movie, but really more of a Drama.


The Muse. A super funny movie with Jeff Bridges in it, but in a minor role. Not what I would call a Jeff Bridges film.

_________________________________

Final Thoughts:
Is it weird that three of these films have omniscient narrators? I can't tell.


Written by: Jeanette Cline
May 2012

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