Directed by Doug Liman. US. 1996. R. 96 minutes. Miramax. 35mm.
Fri., March 24, 2017
You’re money, baby! Very few films can lay claim to defining an entire subculture, however fleeting its shelf-life in the national consciousness. 1996’s Swingers, written by and starring then unknowns Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn, was steeped heavily in their own lives as struggling actors surfing the underground neo-swing-dancing and cocktail-nation sub-cultures. Crashing into the zeitgeist with high flying dance moves, slick retro slang, hot vintage clothing, and a hep martini sensibility, Swingers both ushered in and branded a cultural phenomenon which burned hot and fast at the end of the 90’s.
The film follows Mike (Favreau), a struggling actor living in L.A., who is unable to get over the girl he left behind in NYC. His rat pack-esque entourage, led by super charismatic ladies man Trent (Vauhgn), attempts to bring Mike out of his relationship funk via a series of alcoholic misadventures across the noir-cool speakeasy scene hidden in mid-90’s L.A., culminating with a trip to swing dance landmark The Derby, and featuring the band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
The dialogue is memorably quippy, the soundtrack is cool as a cucumber, and this is one cult classic to tick off the big screen bucket list. Break out the bowling shirt, put your hair up in victory rolls, and make the scene for Swingers at the Colonial. (Chuck Francisco)