The Swingers have Made It.

Here is my Jess (the talented @goonersgirl008 ) talking about her love for the films Swingers and Made, two films I didn’t particularly love. But that’s ok, I got love for her cause she’s my mother*****r.

 …

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            If you are familiar with American cinema today, chances are that you know who Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau are. Vaughn has made a career for himself playing fast-talking, fast thinking, wild characters in films like “Old School”, “Wedding Crashers”, “Dodgeball” and other raucous Frat Pack comedies. Favreau is also recognizable as an ensemble cast member in many of Vaughn’s films, as well as “I Love You, Man” and the “Iron Man” franchise. He’s also a noted director of “Elf”, “Iron Man, “Iron Man 2” and “Cowboys & Aliens”.

            Both of these guys have legitimized themselves in Hollywood with varying amounts of success. The two of them met on the set of “Rudy” way back in 1993, and became friends and continued to collaborate for the next 20 years. In 1996, Favreau wrote a film called “Swingers” about a group of actors trying to make it big in Hollywood, while dealing with friendships and attempting to get as many “bunnies” as possible.

            This film is kinda special to me, and I love it for being simplistic, but funny and endearing all at the same time. Favreau’s character is an East Coast transplant who came to Los Angeles to make it big as a comedian, and had limited success in his 6 months there. He’s also dealing with the breakup of his long-time relationship with Michelle, who he’s not gotten over one bit at the start. Vaughn is his friend Trent, who’s taken on a mentor role in the art of “swinging” and picking up ladies. Trent is funny and sarcastic, and unconcerned about the feelings of the women he purses; he’s larger than life and wants to make sure that his pal, Mike, realizes his potential. Together they travel to Las Vegas, and run around the Los Angeles swinger scene looking to make names for themselves and meeting as many beautiful ladies as possible.

            One of the most cringeworthy scenes in the movie shows Mike FINALLY landing a girl’s phone number, but not adhering to the rules of calling (2/3 days is the industry standard) and leaving a series of sad, rambling messages on her machine. After the 4th or 5th message, she picks up and says “Mike, never call me again” and you feel the sting of rejection and pity him for messing up the first chance he took since his split.

            However, by the end of the film, he’s done wallowing and heads out with Trent to a club where he meets Lorraine, played by Heather Graham, a girl who’s just moved to LA from Wisconsin and is a kindred spirit for him. The two connect immediately and you feel so proud of Mike for finally putting himself out there with someone not interested in the “games” of the scene. The film ends with Mike and Trent eating at the Hollywood Hills Coffee Shop, and Trent attempts to make eyes with a woman in another booth, only to find his instincts have failed him. The film is simply “money”.

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            In 2001, Favreau wrote, directed, and starred in “Made” which re-teamed him with Vaughn and Famke Janssen (who he worked with in “Love and Sex”). This role as Bobby had him as an amateur boxer trying to break into the mafia world to support his stripper girlfriend, Jessica (Janssen), and her daughter, with his pal, Ricky (Vaughn) riding shotgun. Ricky is the epitomy of a loose cannon and causes immediate friction with their connection on the East Coast, Ruiz (played by none other than Sean “Puffy/P.Diddy/Diddy” Combs.

            “Made” is far darker than “Swingers”, much like the swinger to mafia scene would imply. The legendary Peter Falk has a small role as Bobby’s boss, Max, who sends the boys to NYC to broker a money laundering deal with Ruiz, but the trip doesn’t go to plan as Bobby and Ricky constantly bicker while being driven around by Jimmy (Vincent “Big Pussy” Pastore).

Bobby is much like Mike, playing it cautious, while Ricky is much like Trent, always looking to make it a good time. They get into a bad situation with some of Ruiz’s other contacts with Ricky trying to hold them up with a starter pistol, only to have the day saved by Jimmy, who’s got more going on than meets the eye.

By the end of the film, Bobby is done with the whole mob situation, and comes home to find Jessica in bed with a client, and she decides that she doesn’t want to change her life. She asks Bobby to take her daughter, and the film ends with Ricky and Bobby raising the little girl and continuing to bicker and argue at Chuck’E’Cheese.

These films are like little gems that not everyone knows about. “Made” in particular didn’t get a wide release, certainly not internationally, but it’s still worth a view. “Swingers” is 18 years old, and you have to laugh when you look at how far Favreau and Vaughn have come since then, from indie recognition to blockbuster successes. That said, not all that they have touched is gold, anyone who’s seen “Couple’s Retreat” can attest to that, but “Swingers” and later “Made” certainly had a quality that’s not often seen anymore.

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