- A few burgers, some beers, some laughs. Our troubles are over, Dude.
Shortly thereafter, partially because of the pot and beer, the Dude crashes his car. As he struggles to get out of the damaged vehicle, he is surprised to find a crumpled-up piece of homework wedged in the seat. It is a clue to who stole his vehicle, and presumably made off with the million dollars! In a traditional film, this would be a turning point. But in The Big Lebowski, it’s just another hilarious wrong turn.
With greater investigative resources at his disposal, Walter dons a business suit and takes up the case—that is, figuring out whose homework it is, and where he lives. Pleased that they are on the verge of getting the money back, Walter says their “troubles are over” in anticipation of the merriment they will soon enjoy after they’re finished suffering through Marty’s dance quintet, his cycle, or as Walter puts it, his “what-have-you.”
It doesn’t come to pass, of course. The Coens don’t allow the Dude more than a brief moment of satisfaction or hope before pulling the rug out from under him again and again. And yet the “burgers, beers, and laughs” line points to the very meat and potatoes of the movie: There never were any fucking troubles, Dude! They threw out a ringer for a ringer. In other words, all the troubles in the film were of the characters’ own making. And any real pleasure to be found in life could have been obtained cheaply from burgers, beers, and laughs. And this, before the vaunted million dollars ever entered their lives. Let’s not forget, let’s NOT forget…to not forget this.
Just because we’re ennuied doesn’t make us saps.