“You’re so money and you don’t even know it.”
Swingersis an indie classic, a little movie that could, especially after video rentals and word of mouth. The 1996 movie follows Mike(played a then-svelte Jon Favreau), a New Yorker struggling to make it as a comedian in La-La Land but more importantly, struggling to get over his longtime ex-girlfriend. In a world of “the top 1% of every other city” in terms of good looks and money, Mike is too smart and too sensitive to get as many “babies” as his “money” best friend Trent(played with lunatic arrogance by Vince Vaughn). Nevertheless, along with good friend Rob, a Yale grad who played Hamlet off-Broadway but now must decide whether he wants to be Goofy for Disney, wild boy Sue, and hepcat Charles, this Rat Pack of bachelors hits up every cool party, bar, and old school diner in LA to discuss movies and women. Like Sex and The City, it combines humor, pop culture savvy, and genuine heart as it explores the complexities of living single in a superficial world.
Mike is the sort of guy I ignored in my 20s, the “good friend” who easily discusses “puppy dogs and ice cream.” He is funny in a cerebral way, making intellectual allusions to waitresses. He is a gentleman who wonders about Trent’s shark attack approach to women. Most of the time, he is vulnerable in his woundedness, whether he’s leaving seven messages after 2 in the morning to a girl he just met or sitting in his apartment looking through old pictures of his ex. Mike is handsome but he’s lost in his own misery. As Trent and Sue tell him repeatedly, he has not realized he is “money.” I told my brother that Mike is the man those of us in our 30s yearn to meet sometime soon.
As I watched the film for the first time in its entirety, I realized how it shows men as thoughtful, if impulsive, about relationships and tender with their friends. I was watching with my younger brother and I couldn’t help but connect the warmth of the boys in the film to the bros my brother has. Swingers also reminded me that women aren’t the only ones commiserating over cocktails. And,on a personal note, my brother turned to me at one point, looked me right in the eyes, and declared, “You’re so money and you don’t even know it.”
I’ll drink to that.