There’s corners of Internet forums where fans still debate such harrowing subjects as “Does Blade Runner really need a sequel?” even after we got the sequel, but I don’t imagine there’s ever been much traction in the question “Does The Big Lebowski need a sequel?” But you know how it is, Hollywood is always brave enough to answer the questions few dare to answer, especially if it thinks there may be some money in it. So here we have The Jesus Rolls, John Turturro’s response to the question few fans of the Coen Brothers film ever thought to ask.
But is it actually a sequel to The Big Lebowski? Or is it instead a remake of a 1974 French movie titled Les Valseuses (aka Going Places), some obscure European road movie that I had never heard of until I saw its name in The Jesus Rolls‘ end credits. I suppose what Turturro has done, in a way, is the equivalent of someone making a film based on Phillip K Dick’s book Now Wait For Last Year replacing its lead character with Gaff from Blade Runner and suddenly transforming a totally different PKD novel into a Blade Runner sequel. Any connection between The Jesus Rolls and The Big Lebowski are pretty ephemeral, really, other than it featuring bowling baller Jesus Quintana (Turturro) in his misadventures once out of prison, but it still may be too close for comfort for some fans who will live the rest of their lives in denial that this film even exists. And those fans who have seen it will really be in denial that this film even exists.
Its a pretty poor effort. Its frankly diabolical in places, with a deeply-entrenched immature fixation with dirty jokes and sex akin to that of the worst Carry On movie. If I was to suggest that the best section of this film concerned Susan Sarandon playing ex-con Jean, who spends her first day out of jail culminating in a bizarre threesome with Jesus and his best mate Petey (Bobby Cannavale)…. Don’t get me wrong, I mean, Sarandon is still a very beautiful woman but she must have been 70 when she shot this film’s sex scene with two guys… sure, all power to her, grannies do have sex and some of them possibly even threesomes but, really, its so bizarre its like watching a car crash in slow motion. Maybe Sarandon was making some kind of statement, and fair play it must have flown over my head, but its like maybe Louise survived the car crash at the end of Thelma and Louise, spent thirty years in jail, and then came out and got banged by two jerks (shit, maybe this film is a sequel to two films at once) and then grabbed a gun and blew her own brains out. Its not a Thelma and Louise sequel I ever expected, but hey ho. Like in most scenes in this film, you don’t know whether to laugh or groan, aghast. Most if it is just so stupid, such irreverent toilet humour, like its The Big Lebowski-inspired fan fiction written by a highly hormonal thirteen-year-old. But Sarandon is by far the best thing in this film, her section the best of the film by considerable margin. The less said about idiotic hairdresser Marie (Audrey Tautou, by God!) and her lifelong quest for the female orgasm, er, the better.
Anyway, that’s all I’m going to write, its more than this film deserves. I’m just here to state that I’m brave enough to admit I was foolish enough to actually watch The Jesus Rolls. I did it so you don’t have to. Unless you are a huge fan of The Big Lebowski or Thelma and Louise and you really, really hate yourself.
Or maybe its some kind of comedic genius; who knows?