Remembering Those Movie Guys Vol. 2. Marty from “The Big Lebowski”
We’re back again with another edition of Remembering Those Movie Guys. The blog series where we sit back and reminisce about those characters in movies that you totally remember but also remember nothing about.
So who are we profiling this week? The sweet. The meek. The introverted creative.Check collecting tiny dancer himself. Marty, The Dude’s landlord from “The Big Lebowski.”
Now, what do we know about Marty? Not all that much, and that’s the difficult bit here because we can only analyze and speculate on small little details the Coen Brothers generously offer to us about his character. Because Marty only appears in a whopping TWO scenes in the entire film. And even though that’s more times than he’s ever made his father proud, it doesn’t give us much to know.
But here is what we do know. So let’s break it down.
Marty is a landlord. Or at least something like that. All we know is that he goes around reminding people when their rent is due. So when looking at the corporate pyramid, that responsibility could belong to anyone. He could be the actual property owner. He could be just some leasing manager. Or he could just be the deranged son of someone that works there. We just don’t know. All we do know is he’s trusted with checks and knows how a calendar works.
But what can we learn from his appearance? He’s bald. Or balding. He’s probably middle aged. We don’t know that though. He could very well look older than he actually is. Marty may live rough and party hard. It’s unlikely, but we can’t rule it out. Afterall, Marty is not married. Or at least he’s not wearing a ring. He’s playing the field.There are presumably a lot of single ladies on the premises. So Marty must be un-tethered.
I only half joke about Marty being a huge poon slayer though. Because the man does have guts and balls. Because beneath that shy demeanor that seems embarrassed and too timid to get the rent that is owed to him, is a self starter. A beast with a fire in his belly to pursue his dream. The dream of dancing.
That’s right. The most memorable part of Marty’s character is that he’s the writer, producer, and star of his own avant garde dance show. And baby, this takes guts, and attitude, and ambition. And determination.
Because Marty is living in LA. The city of dreamers. The place where artists come to try to be stars. We like to think that a young Marty sat at home one day in Anytown USA. Always dreaming of being a dancer, but always being too scared to tell his demanding father his true passion. Sat there alone. Dreaming. Watching Michael Jackson’s Thriller come on the TV and decided that that’s what he wanted to do with his life.
So Marty told his dad, “I’m moving to LA to become….to pursue my dream to become (tears coming down his cheeks) a DACNER.” Guts, courage, real man stuff to say what you want in the literal face of disappointment. But he did it anyway and he kept at it.
Because this man has sat and toiled. Writing his own choreography at night. Designing his own costumes. Going door to door passively begging people to come see him perform. You gotta respect the dedication to his art, even if he sucks at it.
Because despite his lack of talent on the dance floor. And his dismal attempts to be creative and edgy, the man WANTS to get better. He’s not cocky. He’s not snobby about his art. He leaves his pride at the door and asks The Dude to give him notes on the show. Constantly trying to improve. Constantly wanting objective feedback. Constantly wanting to reach his goal of being a backup dancer for Paula Abdul. This is 1991 by the way.
So what’s there to know about Marty? There’s probably still a lot to unpack. But we want to remember him not as the goofy landlord. But as the man. THE MAN who pursues his passion and ambitions no matter what. And keeps fighting. Because we hope at that at his dance show. There was a chair reserved in the front row. A chair with a placard on it that read “Reserved for (hopefully) Proud Father” and that seat was filled. Filled by a man, who even as he witnessed his son aimlessly hop around in a skin tight leotard, that saw his son no longer as an embarrassment but as a FIGHTER.
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