A good movie can change your day through a brief reprieve from reality and giving you perspective by seeing your own personal situation at a new angle. I don’t recommend avoiding reality altogether for longer stretches of time, but 2 plus hours mesmerized with the silver screen is the perfect amount to break free for a bit.
Love is, without a doubt, the most common topic in cinematic history. It’s the one binding element that anyone in the world can relate to and Hollywood clearly embraces this notion given its prevalence in film. While I can deal with the occasional romantic comedy(Fools Rush In!), our focus here is on the most Brotastic flicks about breakups. Swingers is one that tops my list…
Chances are, if you’re in your late 20’s to early 40’s, you’ve seen this cult classic multiple times and can reel off a minimum of 3 beautiful baby quotes. The dialog is impeccable, soundtrack precisely selected with a brilliant mix of rat pack to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and jokes are subtle yet superb.
Buried beneath the array of Trent's(Vince Vaughn) perfectly delivered one-liners and diatribes lies the redemption tale of Mikey(John Favreau), a recently broken up bro who moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in comedy, and his gf breaks up with him and moves on to some “lawn jockey” as Trent so eloquently refers to his replacement’s job driving a carriage in Central Park.
The film employs a unique juxtaposition and transformation of Trent and Mikey’s characters as the plot progresses. Mikey starts out down in the dumps, flipping through a box of pictures of his ex in the dark, damp LA apartment. His friends all try to pick him up and get him back out there, but poor Mikey keeps tripping over his broken, unconfident self.
This culminates in one of the most cringe-worthy, awkward scenes in cinematic history where he leaves a string of terrible messages on a girl’s answering machine(that’s like a box with voicemail for you younger millenials). At that point, Mikey has bottomed out. All the while, Trent is the coolest cat in the universe, the life of the party, and a slayer of vapid Hollywood chicas. They couldn’t be at more opposite ends of the spectrum.
But then, Mikey picks himself off the ground and gets back out there only to find the beauty that is Lorraine (Heather Graham), at the bar. Rather than concocting contrived pick up lines or following “industry standard” laws of when to call a number you just got, Mikey plays it cool, acts like himself creating a genuine, electric connection.
It’s as if he just didn’t care. He was himself and he didn’t mind what perception she had of him. He comments on his shitty car, lack of a thriving career, and lays out some self-deprecating humor. And she ate it up…digits collected! Side note: this is an excellent approach when chatting up girls at the bar.
"He who gives the least amount of fucks has the most success" - Some Wise Bro. I have the best success getting numbers personally when I actually try to go out and just don't give a shit what anyone thinks. You can even try to go out and get rejected and you'll be amazed by how many girls engage you in conversation. Give it a try!
Back to Swingers...The flick ends at a coffee shop after Mikey hangs up on his ex to take an incoming call from Lorraine to set their next date. Mikey's carrying himself in a new way, exuding confidence as he gazes out of the window while sipping on a cup of coffee.
Trent then makes an ass of himself making little baby games with what he thinks is a former lover he can’t remember. Upon realizing she was motioning to her newborn, he instantly recoils into a cowardly position sunken into the bottom of the deli booth bench.
At the end of the narrative, Mikey emerges as the confident, protagonist ready to take on the world with newly found love. Meanwhile Trent, the super slaying, one-night stand having, hilarious yet kind of douchey best friend has been taken down a peg or two. Who’s the big winner? Mikey…Mikey wins!
So what messages can we take away from this brotastic flick?
Lean on your friends – Say what you want about Trent’s antics, Mikey has a rock solid group of bros that pick him up when he’s down. Your boys are there for you when you need them most.
Be yourself – The most genuine connection in the movie is shared by Mikey and Lorraine. At the foundation, was Mikey just being his natural self. Girl’s can tell if you're not authentic and they genuinely embrace someone that is cool and confident in their own skin
The nice guy can win – Mikey’s the prototypical “nice guy.” Juxtaposed next to the number ripping Trent, he’s even more so relatively. But who is it that wins? Mikey…that’s who.
So whether you're coming off of a break up or just need a quick hour and a half uplifting pick me up, give Swingers a fresh viewing. The underlying message is great, plentiful laughs are to be had, and the dialog is packed with entertaining banter. Mikey, Trent and team put together a flick that's action packed with rewatchability. An excellent fit for any bro's collection.