January 10, 2013
Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn
Swingers is such a fun little movie. It is one of
those movies that came out of nowhere, everyone who saw it at
the time loved it, it quickly developed a reputation as being one of
the best and most memorable movies of its generation, and then for
whatever reason it just sort of vanished. I can't tell you
how many people I have talked to over the past few years who have never
even heard of it.
I'm serious. I have a friend who, well, I would like to call
a pretentious douchy film guy. He won't watch any movie that
was a mainstream hit or that made a lot of money. He takes
film studies classes in college and he will only watch independent
films or movies that are slow, boring, artsy, and douchy. As
you can guess, he and I don't share a lot of favorite movies.
In fact, it is really best if we don't talk about movies at
all. He would rather shoot himself in the head than watch
something like The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.
Well my friend is a few years younger than me, and he was asking me if
I knew of any good independent films from the 90's that I could
recommend. And I immediately named one of the best ones I
could think of: Swingers. I told him that Swingers
was considered a rival to Pulp Fiction or Reservoir Dogs in its day,
and it probably still has a huge legion of fans out there.
And that I felt stupid even mentioning it to him since he is
Mister Independent Film and because I'm sure he must already know
Swingers and be able to quote it inside and out.
And I was shocked that my friend, Mister Film Studies, Mister I Love
All Independent Movies Everywhere, had never even heard of Swingers.
Seriously. Had never even heard of it. I
might as well have been talking about a movie from 1904.
The minute I realized that Swingers has essentially been lost to an
entire generation of movie fans, I knew that I had to write about it.
Swingers is the story of a guy named Mikey (Jon Favreau), who is a
struggling comedian in Hollywood. And, well, let's just say
that his life isn't going very well. He can't get a job.
He doesn't have any money. He lives in the tiniest
little shithole L.A. apartment. He has no self confidence
whatsoever. And then to make matters worse, his girlfriend
just dumped him.
And really, that is the whole movie.
Mikey is bummed. Mikey is down in the dumps. And
the entire rest of the movie is Mikey's friends trying to get him back
on his feet again and get his self confidence back.
And the only way to do that is to take him out on the town and try to
hook up with some beautiful babies.
Mikey (left) and his buddies
Even though it sounds predictable and mundane, Swingers is one of those
movies that is just about as perfect as I think a movie can get.
The writing, the acting, the characters, the dialogue, it is
just perfect. I just watched it recently and I was surprised
at how well it holds up. It doesn't seem old or annoying or
cliched or dated at all. If Swingers came out today, I have
no doubt it would be a monster hit. People would be
quoting it and obsessing about it and rewatching it for months.
Which, hey, is exactly what happened when it first came out
in 1996. That is why I am so surprised that it has sort of
been glossed over by the passage of time.
This is one of those movies that is so unique, and is so memorable, and
has so much unforgettable dialogue and great writing, that when you
finish watching it you just start speaking in "Swingers" language.
You find yourself speaking like the characters in the movie.
And I can think of very few movies that can immerse you in
the world and the language of the characters that deeply.
Fargo is the only other movie of its era that I think comes
anywhere near it. In fact (because of the writing and the
dialogue) I would put Swingers right up next to Fargo as two of the
best movies of the 90's.
Even mundane scenes like guys sitting around playing video games are
hilarious and memorable
Swingers was written by Jon Favreau (in his writing debut), and what is
amazing when you read up about it is that he wrote the entire
screenplay in only two weeks. Two weeks! Seriously,
watch this movie, listen to how realistic and true the writing and the
dialogue is, and keep in mind that this was a first time effort that
was written in 14 days. That is just absolutely amazing.
It is no wonder that it was so beloved and so acclaimed for
its time. It is no wonder that Jon Favreau is still a writer
and director even today. I mean, watch the scene in Swingers
where the characters sit around and bag on the fact that Martin
Scorcese and Quentin Tarantino are thieves and they just steal shots
from other movies. And then watch how, five minutes later,
Swingers does the exact same thing by completely ripping off shots from
Goodfellas and Reservoir Dogs (which of course were made by Scorcese
and Tarantino). That is a
Swingers famously ripping off Reservoir Dogs
Not only was this Jon Favreau's writing debut, it also marked the movie
debut (at least the starring debut) of Vince Vaughn. Vaughn
shows up out of nowhere as
"Double Down" Trent, Mikey's best friend, and he completely steals the
entire movie. It is absolutely one of the best movie debuts I
can ever think of for an actor. Vaughn shows up and
he is just fucking money, he owns every single minute he is
ever on screen.
In fact, when I watch Swingers now, it almost makes me sad to see how
amazing Vince Vaughn was in his debut, and then how much he has pretty
much sleepwalked through every role he has had ever since.
You watch most of Vince Vaughn's stuff now, and then you go
back and watch him in Swingers, and you can barely even tell it was the
same guy. He is really that good in it. In fact,
when I watch Swingers now, I understand why they cast Vince Vaughn as
Norman Bates in the remake of Psycho. He really did have that
kind of promise back then.
The star of the show. Double Down Trent was the original
In short, if you want a hilarious, quotable, memorable, nearly flawless
little movie, Swingers is about as good as you are going to get.
The acting and writing and the dialogue are just incredible.
In fact I don't think I have ever met a person in my life who
has seen Swingers and who didn't like it. Even though you
will read reviews of how "it's a guy movie" and "only guys will like
it", I can tell you for a fact that my wife loves it. In fact
she probably loves it even more than I do. She loves the fact
that these guys think they are such cool badasses but all they are is
dorks who can't get a girl. She loves the entire dichotomy
between guys who think they are cool and guys who really aren't cool.
And that, my friends, is the magic of Swingers in a nutshell.
By the way, I just asked my wife Diana, and here is her review of
Swingers in ten words: "Poor Mikey, you just want to give him
Mikey striking out with yet another woman
By the way, before I sign off, I have to add one last thing.
There is one scene in Swingers (the infamous answering
machine scene) that is just about as painful and awkward a scene as I
have ever seen in a movie. There is no way you can watch it
and not find yourself squirming in your seat. It
is that painful. Trust me, it is the ONE scene that
everyone remembers from Swingers and the one scene that you will
remember for weeks afterward. There may never be
another scene in movie history that straddles the line between
funny and awkward as well as the scene where Mikey screws up the
answering machine game with Nikki in Swingers. Trust me, you
will know it when you see it.
And then you will email me and thank me for recommending this movie to
Obligatory Swingers reference
favorite IMDB user reviews about Swingers
A Must-See for All
20-Something Males - 5 January 2004
me preface this review by saying that this is my favorite film of all
time. I'm not saying it was the best, most artistic, original, or most
innovative...but it is my favorite. It's a movie about a 20-something
man getting over a nasty break-up, living in Los Angeles. Pretty simple
stuff, but the honesty in the film is amazing. This film boasts the
most realistic, and interesting depictions of male friendship I've ever
seen. Some might simply pawn this movie off as a buddy flick, but it
goes so much deeper than that. Mikey (Favreau) deals with insecurity,
rejection, depression, an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy. Something
almost everyone can relate to. And, as an audience member, you live and
die with the poor guy. The supporting cast is very strong, popping in
and out as the assortment of friends populating Mikey's social life.
Each is trying, in his own way, to get their buddy out of his
post-break up funk, which meet with varying degrees of success.
Swingers is chock full of laugh-out-loud moments, and oft-quoted lines
("Our baby's all grows up!") that could very easily lead to repeated
viewings of this masterpiece.
Everything I love about
independent film - 15 January 2009
Swingers is one of my favorites of all-time, and the first movie I
actually purchased on DVD, and I hold it dear to this day.
"Sex and the City" has done for women as far as expressing the
underlying feminine reality of modern day city gals, "Swingers" does
the same for men and maybe even exceeds these myths.
provides a certain truth about what it is that guys do when being guys
and what it is that guys think about for that matter when not drooling
over a half-naked female in a halter top and leather pants ensemble at
some trendy hot-spot on Melrose.
The script is top notch, all
of the comedy plays, and as far as acting is concerned; all of the
characters in the movie are late 20 something guys looking to become
future actors in Hollywood (ironic, eh?), and they are outstanding.
flick is well written, well acted, well done and clever as can be, but
best of all, it is absolutely horrible shot. Probably one of the worst
shot films in the history of the medium. And thats it's most charming
attribute. 70% of it is out of focus, and the other 30% is mis- framed,
yet the editing is so genius, and the characters are so entertaining,
that the storytelling overrides all of the formal inadequacies.
that's what independent film is all about; find a great story, try to
tell it in a unique and interesting manner, f*ck it up a bunch along
the way, and if it's truly good enough, let it stand on it's own two
I applaud this movie's existence.
As enjoyable as any film
in recent memory. - 24 November 1999
think a few of the readers who have commented on this film seem to be
missing the point. While it can be said that this movie has no plot to
speak of and no central point to it, my response is: so what? Not every
movie is made to teach you how to live your life. Some of us can watch
a movie simply for the pure enjoyment of listening to characters
interact. Swingers does a better job of achieving this than the
majority of movies ever made. Anybody can make Godzilla or Independence
Day, but it takes a truly special movie to become a "cult hit" with
nothing more at it's disposal than no-name actors (at the time) and
catchy dialogue. This movie was the springboard for virtually every
actor in it, with each going on to more well known parts.
enough preaching, pure and simple this movie is great. Vince Vaughn's
character is one of the most likable characters you'll see in a movie.
Even if you have nothing in common with someone like him, you can't
help but like him. He's hilarious, smooth, and a loyal friend, and he
has some of the most quotable lines in the movie. Everyone else on this
site has quoted it time and again, so no need for me to, but let's just
say it's funny stuff. John Favreau's character, Mikey, makes you laugh
while at the same time wanting to slap him for being so stupid. There's
so many funny scenes in this movie, I can't even begin to describe
them. But the best by far always involve Vaughn, and the part where
he's in the trailer describing his experience auditioning for a pilot
is classic. You know he's feeding the girls a line the whole time, but
it's so convincing and everyone is so in awe of him, it's hysterical.
And when Mikey tries to act cool in front of the waitresses they meet,
and fails to do so, only to see Trent tell them he's a producer and
watch them swoon, I can't see how people don't find that funny.
if you haven't seen this movie yet, do yourself a favor and go rent it.
The buildup offered on this site is only a fraction of what you'll
actually get out of watching it. 10+/10
Should be in the top 100
- 30 September 2006
can not fathom why this movie is not in any of the Top Movies list. At
the very least this stands as the greatest "guy" movie I've ever seen.
Hollywood loves to churn out those "hey, we're regular guys just like
you!" movies, but they rarely work. The jokes are contrived, the
chemistry is forced, the characters remind me of no one that I know in
my life, and the dialogue is written by middle-aged men. People in
their 20's are supposed to relate to that?? This movie worked because
these guys really WERE friends and, essentially, filmed their lives.
Would Jerry Bruckheimer have thought to include the immortal "NHL 95"
scene? Of course not. Could any writer that was not in their 20's give
us so many quotable lines? I was 20 when this film was released and it
instantly went into my HOF. Not to sound corny, but there are very few
films that I feel connected to. "Swingers" is one. Aside from the
laughs, this film is extremely intelligent at times. Rob's advice to
Mikey remains one of the most poignant monologues I have seen in any
film. Luckily for us, Favreau was smart enough to deliver a movie that
can cut to the core of a problem that every guy will experience at some
point in his life without trying to get too preachy or sentimental. I
hope to see "Swingers" break into that top movies list soon.
It's so F**KIN' MONEY! I
don't even think it knows it... - 11 November 1998
this movie came out in theatres, I was there opening night. When it
showed up at my video store, I rented it that Friday. I continued to
rent it at least once a month for every month thereafter, and when my
Blockbuster-employed friend informed me that it would soon be available
at a take-home price, well, you're damn straight that I bugged him
until the damn thing went on sale. This is quite simply my favorite
movie ever. Better than ANYTHING, swear to God. Not only is it just a
really, REALLY money movie with many, MANY cool scenes, but I can also
rattle on to my friends and even conduct entire conversations with my
friends with dialogue directly from this movie and they have NO clue
what language I'm speaking. Especially creepy are the video game hockey
scenes...it's like looking into a mirror of swing. Really though,
Liman, Favreau, Vaughn, everyone outdid themselves on this one with
dry, convincing performances, incredible writing and just a really hip
ambiance. See this movie or consider yourself business class.
Funny Funny. - 22
aspect of the movie hits the mark. This movie doesn't strive to be
cool. The joke is the way the characters in the movie consider
themselves to be men about town. They're just guys with no idea trying
to score but always believing that as a group they're something akin to
the rat pack. Witness the entrance to the party where the boys stand in
the entrance way and the crowd turns and looks at them briefly before
going back to ignoring them.
A True Hidden Gem - 15
is perhaps the most honest, humorous and insightful movie ever made
about 20-something men and relationships. In spite of a low profile
during it's cinematic run, Swingers has reached the status of cult
classic, and deservedly so. The story centers on a fledgling actor -
portrayed flawlessly by John Favreau - who is still trying to cope with
the pain of a not-so-recent breakup. Vince Vaughn is outstanding as the
best friend determined to build his confidence and get him back in the
game. But perhaps the most enduring part of this movie are the phrases
that will forever be in the lexicon of all who have had the pleasure of
watching this wonderfully scripted film ("You're so money baby, and you
don't even know it!). Even the soundtrack was superior - so much so
that it warranted a second album of music from and inspired by the
movie. Favreau, who also wrote and produced, has firmly established
himself as a capable film maker.
favorite quotes from Swingers:
So many to pick from. This is probably the most quotable
movie I have written about so far on my countdown.
[Trent talks a girl into meeting them later and bringing a friend]
was so fucking money. That was like the Jedi mind-shit.
[Giving Mikey advice on how to meet women]
know what you are? You're like a big bear with claws and with fangs...
fucking teeth, man.
Yeah... big fuckin' teeth on ya. And she's just like this little bunny,
who's just kinda cowering in the corner.
man just kinda... you know, you got these claws and you're staring at
these claws and your thinking to yourself, and with these claws you're
thinking, "How am I supposed to kill this bunny, how am I supposed to
kill this bunny?"
you're poking at it, you're poking at it...
you're not hurting it. You're just kinda gently batting the bunny
around, you know what I mean? And the bunny's scared Mike, the bunny's
scared of you, shivering.
Sue: And you
got these fucking claws and these fangs...
you got these fucking claws and these fangs, man! And you're looking at
your claws and you're looking at your fangs. And you're thinking to
yourself, you don't know what to do, man. "I don't know how to kill the
bunny." With *this* you don't know how to kill the bunny, do you know
what I mean?
like a big bear, man.
you're not just like fucking with me?
I'm not fucking with you.
don't want you to be the guy in the PG-13 movie everyone's *really*
hoping makes it happen. I want you to be like the guy in the rated R
movie, you know, the guy you're not sure whether or not you like yet.
You're not sure where he's coming from. Okay? You're a bad man. You're
a bad man, Mikey. You're a bad man, bad man.
[The guys discuss how long you wait before you call a girl on the phone]
how long do I wait to call?
Tomorrow, then a day.
I guess you could call it that, two days.
Definitely, two days is like industry standard.
know I used to wait two days to call anybody, but now it's like
everyone in town waits two days. So I think three days is kind of
money. What do you think?
but two's enough not to look anxious.
two's enough not to look anxious. But I think three days is kind of
money. You know because you...
but you know what, mabey I'll wait 3 weeks. How's that? And tell her I
was cleaning out my wallet and I just happened to run into her number.
Then ask her where you met her.
I'll ask her where I met her. I don't remember. What does she look
like? And then I'll asked if we fucked. Is that... would that be... T,
would that be the money?
know what. Ha ha ha Mike, laugh all you want but if you call too soon
you might scare off a nice baby who's ready to party.
how long are you guys gonna wait to call your babies?
favorite scene in Swingers:
The answering machine scene. The answering machine scene.
Good lord in heaven almighty, the answering machine scene.
at the IMDB
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