The 1998 movie from Joel and Ethan Coen titled ‘The Big Lebowski’ has become a cult phenomenon since its release, spawning t-shirt lines, festivals held in the movie’s namesake, and a slew of catchphrases that still hold up almost 20 years after the film was made.
UFC featherweight Clay Guida has a special relationship with ‘The Big Lebowski’ the way some people feel after seeing a certain concert or finding a book that just speaks to them like nothing else before. Guida relates most to Jeffrey Lebowski aka The Dude, the title character in the film played by award winning actor Jeff Bridges.
While Guida’s nickname for MMA is ‘The Carpenter’, it would probably be just as easy to call him ‘The Dude’ or His Dudeness, or Duder, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing. The easiest way to explain Guida’s love of the movie would probably be in comparison to the hordes of fans called ‘Dead Heads’ that used to follow the Grateful Dead around the country like a pied piper had somehow hypnotized them.
To Guida, ‘The Big Lebowksi’ is more than just a movie — it’s a lifestyle.
"I remember the first time that I saw it," Guida told FOX Sports about the movie. "I was hanging with one of my best friends I grew up with and we were sophomores in high school and we were being very Dude at the time if you know what I mean, and I was like what the hell are we watching?
Whenever things are tough, just think of The Dude
— Clay Guida aka The Dude
"It was just funny to see Walter raise his voice even though I really didn’t know why he was yelling. To see The Jesus dressed in his purple leotard whatever the hell, Flea from The Red Hot Chili Peppers was in there, I was like what is this? I didn’t understand beside the occasional acid flashback, I didn’t know what I was watching but we watched it all the time and more and more you catch onto the jokes and the subtleties, and it’s not supposed to make any sense."
Like many fans of a cult hit like ‘The Big Lebowski’, Guida can quote the movie verbatim, but his love of the film goes far beyond that. He’s read books and researched the history of the movie to better understand the inspiration that led to characters like The Dude, Walter and the rug that really tied the room together.
"The literature I read on The Big Lebowski and to know it’s partially a true story makes it that much more special," Guida said. "It’s hysterical. Jeff Bridges, at the end of the day all the awards he’s won and all the amazing things he’s done on the big screen, he always goes back to The Dude. It’s like a life lesson.
"Whenever things are tough, just think of The Dude."
If you visit Guida’s Twitter page, it says right in the description that he’s a Big Lebowski addict, and his Facebook page is adorned with a picture of the Illinois native decked out in his best gear to look just like The Dude. And if you’re lucky enough to have Guida’s cell and you reach his voicemail message, just like in the movie it will tell you ‘the Dude is not in’.
Guida’s love of ‘The Big Lebowski’ isn’t something that inspired him briefly for a couple of years, and then he moved onto the next phase of his life. No, Guida still loves the movie just as much today as he ever did, and at this point it’s probably a safe bet that he’s seen the film more times that you could ever imagine.
"Oh boy it’s in the three digits, at least 250 times," Guida revealed. "I just watched it again last week."