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Swingers (Miramax Collector's Series)
- Swingers (Miramax Collector's Series)
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Swingers (Miramax Collector's S
For anyone who wants to catch a glimpse of the Los Angeles "lounge" scene that was in vogue during the early and mid-1990s, here's the movie that virtually defined that brief but colorful nightlife milieu. As an added bonus, it just happens to be a very funny, observant story about love, loss, and male bonding among a group of friends who struggle to find decent jobs by day, and lurk through Hollywood's hottest nightclubs by night. A sort of latter-day Rat Pack, they include Mike (writer-actor Jon Favreau) and his closest buddy, Trent (Vince Vaughn), who are waiting for the big show-biz break that seems to be eluding them. Mike's twisted up about the girlfriend he left back East to pursue his going-nowhere standup comedy career, and Trent uses the word "money" as an adjective ("Man, we look totally money tonight") with such frequency that you may find yourself slipping into lounge-lizard mode after watching the movie. One of the most noteworthy indie-film success stories of the '90s, this time-capsule comedy seized its moment in the spotlight, launched several promising careers, and continues to maintain its lasting appeal. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Regardless, from a comedic standpoint this film achieves what it set out to do. I wish that the script had detailed the lives of the other characters a little more intensely. We find the idiosyncrasies of John Favreau?s and Vince Vaughn's character, but the other's seem rather stale, not to mention the fact that they could have proved to have very interesting back stories. Otherwise, though, this film is very, very fun--sometimes digressing into some extreme examples of humor that don't perfectly flow with the remainder of the film (the answering machine), but it never depletes from the experience. Most of the time, the film stays true to the slacker, party boys of LA, and all the sloth, Sega Ice Hockey, and TV pilot auditions in between the parties.
One aspect that cannot be praised highly enough, however, is that this film does not fall pray to the bane of most slacker comedies: a sappy, melodramatic climax. Swingers shuns this, and for that I praise it. When John Favreau's character does finally come around, and the audience witnesses his development and the catalysts that spur it, there is never a feeling of hokey, sentimentalism--and that, perhaps, is why this film has achieved such cult status. It can be enjoyed by all demographics, without concern for gender, age, or interest.
And so with this honest, cringe-free, and hilarious interpretation of the party boys of LA, one can't help but fall in love with almost everything this film has to offer. There are a lot of turns, interesting situations, and peculiar incidents that maintain the light-hearted side of the film, but there is also enough attention to the labor of love, without going over the top with theatrical rhetoric on the subject. The film may not stand as your favorite in life, but most out there will probably find a lot to enjoy in this little film--and a lot to relate to.
Writer/Star Jon Favreau (Mikey) has created an entertaining and -- dare I say it? -- educational look at one man coping with a recent breakup, and how to best get back up on the dating horse. His script gets most of its recognition for the creation of memorable catchphrases (I still hear people calling each other "money" or "beautiful babies"), and that's all well and good. But it also contains tremendous insights into how we as men and women meet and get to know each other. There are some wonderful scenes here of heartache and joy.
The cast is, for the most part, amateurish. Obviously, this is a function of the film's meager budget. Everyone gives a gung-ho effort, but most fail to hit their marks dead on. Favreau himself comes off as little more than an actor playing an actor. Even his walk feels forced at times. Thankfully, it doesn't hinder his likability, or the rest of the cast's. The one standout, of course, is Vince Vaughn as "best friend" Trent. Vince has charisma to spare here, taking his role as the smooth-talking Don Juan to the outer limits. He embodies Trent completely. It's one of those parts where whenever he's not in the scene, you find yourself wondering: "I wonder when Trent's coming back!" I'm sitting here thinking of all his great scenes, and frankly, they're too numerous to mention.
Director Liman does a good job with what he's been given. I suppose he had no choice but to shoot the film as a self-conscious, "hey we're making a movie over here" kind of documentary. At times he resorts to gimmickry to catch the audience's attention (like the cognizant answering machine giving Mikey dating tips, or a blatant slo-mo Tarantino rip-off that follows a scene where the characters talk about Tarantino's tendency to employ blatant Scorsese rip-offs), but for the most part he's quite laid back, letting the camera catch the conversations quite naturally. The music, however, is in your face, and justly so. And don't go in thinking that's it's all going to be '50's swing. There's a particularly effective scene where Trent does some nifty seduction work while Heart's 'Magic Man' plays in the background.
But by far the most memorable scene in the movie is Heather Graham's. Her dance number with Favreau is very visceral, and beautiful. There's a moment in there when the song ends, and she is in the middle of a dip, looking up at Mikey with those big eyes, and she's just divine. I dare you not to fall in love with her.
So if you're skeptical of the whole swingers scene, not into the Frank Sinatra mystique, and have never had a Glenlivet, a Glenfiddich, or a Glengarry, don't worry. There's still much about "Swingers" that you'll find enjoyable.
Though SWINGERS revolves around a modern struggling Rat Pack that spend their evenings as lounge lizards, this is a movie that has not gone out of style. The Swingers spend their days looking for work in the entertainment business intraspersed with games of golf and late night drives to Las Vegas. The plot is rather simple. Jon Favreau plays Mike, a guy moved out west to further his career as a comic. However, his girlfriend broke up with him shortly after he left and he still hasn't moved on six months later. The film follows Mike as his buddies help him get back in the game and find a new baby.
SWINGERS is a great guy movie. It's a film about guys, written by guys, for guys. However, girls seem to enjoy the movie as well, but don't seem to understand it very much. The movie has some great acting (after all most of the cast was basically just playing themselves), a awesome soundtrack, and some of the most memorable movie lines in recent history (this film ranks up with THE PRINCESS BRIDE and TOMMY BOY in quotability). The only negative about the film is the foul language which at times cheapens some of the witty dialogue. Still, the movie is great fun.
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