SWINGERS (1996)

by williamldennis

Fun hang out movie. Bros being bros in LA. A humorous and honest take on the post-breakup recovery.

We follow post-breakup Mike as we explore the central idea of the one that got away hurts until is doesn’t. Sometimes it takes time, sometimes it takes a new person, often it’s a combination of both.

Vince Vaughn carries this thing with his ladies-man-can’t-lose and his constant use of “baby” and “you’re so money.”

There are also a couple meta-film references – the guys are sitting around a table talking about slo-mo shots in movies and the tracking shot in GOODFELLAS through the kitchen – both reenacted with subtle but humorous renditions that feel intentionally low budget.

The cinematography is pretty rough around the edges, feeling more functional than aesthetic – underscored by a couple shots out of focus and a handful weirdly lit.

A few memorable-if-not-classic moments – like Mike leaving 6 consecutive phone calls the night he gets a girl’s number. When strung together the movie maintains good pace and is an enjoyable and vicarious ride through average LA nightlife.

A fun relatable indie that puts its heart out there without being too sappy. Definitely works as a vehicle for what was at the time the next wave of Hollywood talent.

What works: charisma of the leads, their banter and lingo, pacing, relate-ability of the core conflict (break up recovery)

What doesn’t work: cinematography (some shots out of focus, others sloppy). while charming personas, we don’t get a lot of backstory for any of the characters – they exist in a here and now sort of vacuum.

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Love the canted car – provides some visual interest while the sign in the background provides some specific story context.

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Liked how the cars were passing in the background parallel to the driver-side door.

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Story is king – especially when the focus is on the ear and not the eyes.

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