INTRODUCTION TO FILM CLIP (The Big Lebowski)
The two characters in this scene are Walter, who is driving the car, and the
Dude, in the passenger seat. They are meant to be on the way to dropping off
some money for some kidnappers who in exchange will return someone they
have kidnapped. Walter however, has brought a bag of his dirty laundry which he
intends to give the kidnappers so he can keep the money and the kidnapped girl.
The Dude is not impressed with this idea…
A HIGHWAY SIGN: SIMI VALLEY ROAD
It flashes by in the headlights of the roaring car.
That was the sign.
Walter wrestles the car onto the twolane road.
Yeah. So as long as we get her back,
nobody's in a position to complain.
And we keep the baksheesh.
Terrific, Walter. But you haven't
told me how we get her back. Where
That's the simple part, Dude. When
we make the handoff, I grab the guy
and beat it out of him.
He looks at the Dude.
Yeah. That's a great plan, Walter.
That's fucking ingenious, if I
understand it correctly. That's a
Swiss fucking watch.
Thaaat's right, Dude. The beauty of
this is its simplicity. If the plan
gets too complex something always
goes wrong. If there's one thing I
learned in Nam
The phone chirps.
You are approaching a vooden britch.
When you cross it you srow ze bag
from ze left vindow of ze moving
kar. Do not slow down. Vee vatch
Click. Dial tone.
What'd he say? Where's the hand
There is no fucking handoff, Walter!
At a wooden bridge we throw the money
out of the car!
We throw the money out of the moving
Walter stares dumbly for a beat.
We can't do that, Dude. That fucks
up our plan.
Explanation of Scene
The main thing we see here is how Walter’s supposedly simple plan can’t
function under any given set of circumstances apart from the one he envisaged.
In the field, when you’re collecting data, lots of unexpected things will happen,
and you need the methodological flexibility to deal with this. A great deal of that
flexibility derives from understanding very explicitly why and how you chose your
methods. Understanding that there was an assumptionbased choice opens up
the possibility to make other, more appropriate choices, once you’re doing your
research. In the scene, Walter claims his choice of method (beating the
information out of the guy) is because it’s simple, but we learn very quickly that
this ‘simplicity’ is something he ‘learnt in ‘Nam’. If you watch the rest of the film
you learn that ‘Nam’ plays a huge role in Walter’s life, in mostly unacknowledged
and quite sad ways. It is this lack of acknowledgement of his own implication in
this exmilitary, warzone standpoint which results in Walter getting himself into
several jams throughout the film.