Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Swingers (1996)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Swingers (1996)

In Doug Liman's original comic drama, a very popular independent film with a very witty script (from actor Favreau in his screenwriting debut), it followed the bar lounge-hopping and pick-up efforts of four party-animal, single, dateless show business wannabes in the hip singles scene - both in LA and Vegas - who mostly wanted to get laid while giving each other advice on how to pick up women. The Jaws musical theme was used to identify the predatory, testosterone-loaded 'sharks' at a bar picking up on females (colloquially known as "babies"). Its tagline was: "cocktails first. questions later."

The bromance film, often described as a feature film version of the popular sit-com Friends, was a guys point-of-view 'romantic comedy' or 'chick flick'. Much of the low-budget film, made in only 22 days, was improvised. There were many quotable lines ("You're so money and you don't even know it!" - using money as an adjective meaning 'to be indisputably correct,' 'cool,' or an 'utterly gorgeous' happening guy). There were also in-jokes, such as: "Everybody steals from everybody, that's movies."

The Four Swingers

Trent Walker (Vince Vaughn)

Mike Peters (Jon Favreau)

Sue (Patrick Van Horn)

Rob (Ron Livingston)

The twenty-something thing males included:

  • Trent Walker (Vince Vaughn), a smooth-operating, charming, fast-talking ladies-man who often offered advice about hooking up with females to the others
  • Mike Peters (screenwriter-actor Jon Favreau), an uptight, sensitive, love-sick, self-pitying, insecure, struggling actor- stand-up comedian, recently relocated to LA from New York, still heartbroken over his broken 6 year relationship with his ex-girlfriend Michelle six months earlier
  • Sue (Patrick Van Horn), named after the Johnny Cash song "A Boy Named Sue," pugnacious and semi-violent, an ice-hockey video gamer-fanatic
  • Rob (Ron Livingston), another recent transplant from New York, a struggling actor who played Hamlet "off-Broadway" and could only find work as Goofy at Disneyland

In Las Vegas during a trip to cheer up a depressed Mike, Trent bedded down casino waitress Christy (Deena Martin) in her trailer, while Mike broke the mood by feeling sorry for himself as he discussed his previous breakup to her friend Lisa (Katherine Kendall). As they left Vegas, Mike admitted that he was attracted to Trent's "Dorothy girl" date, and Trent reassured him that he wasn't a fag: "No baby, you're money!...You're so money and you don't even know it."

In a club, Trent and Sue encouraged Mike to be more confident and exhibit his stronger side by showing off his bear claws and fangs to approach meek bunnies: ("And you got these f--king claws and these fangs, man! And you're looking at your claws and you're looking at your fangs. And you're thinking to yourself, you don't know what to do, man. 'I don't know how to kill the bunny.' With this you don't know how to kill the bunny, do you know what I mean?"); Sue added: "You're like a big bear, man."

The swaggering singles memorably discussed their most favorite moments in movies like GoodFellas (1990) and Reservoir Dogs (1992). At first, they spoke about whether Tarantino was copying or homaging Scorsese, but then the film itself paid homage to and emulated both films (Reservoir Dogs' neo-Rat Pack slow-motion "cool guy walk', and GoodFellas' Copacabana lengthy Steadicam tracking shot entry through the kitchen). Mike noted: "How can you even compare the two, man? Tarantino completely bites everything off Scorsese," while Rob concurred: "I don't know what the big deal is. I mean, everybody steals from everybody. That's movies."

The film's most remembered scene was excruciatingly funny, but also an agonizing strike-out scene. After scoring at an LA nightclub by obtaining the phone number of sexy Nikki (Brooke Langton), Mike became overly anxious about losing her and ignored the warnings of his friends to wait two days before calling her. He made repeated phone calls to her answering machine: ("This is Nikki. Leave a message"), but it cut him off before he left his phone number. He excused himself for his repeated phone calls and messages by stating: "I don't want you to think I was weird or desperate..." Finally, she answered live and retorted: "Don't ever call me again."

At a Hollywood swing-dancing club The Derby, Mike met young and single Lorraine (Heather Graham) at the bar and engaged in nervous small talk. When he awkwardly joked about her name: "Like the quiche," she sarcastically responded: "That's a really original joke." He went further and asserted: "I like quiche" - unlike most "real men." After realizing that they had similar backgrounds - and that they both loved swing dancing, things went more smoothly, and by the end of the night, Mike boldly stated: "I want to make plans to see you again," and they favorably exchanged contact information.

Although he was tempted to resume his relationship with Michelle in NY (when she called at an inappropriate time), he decided to pursue his friendship with Lorraine when he didn't call Michelle back.

(l to r): Mike, Rob, Trent, Sue

(l to r): Mike (Jon Favreau) and Trent (Vince Vaughn) in Las Vegas

In Las Vegas, the Awkward Double-Date with Two Casino Waitresses

Trent to Mike: "No baby, you're money"

Trent and Sue Encouraging Mike To Exhibit His Inner Claws and Fangs

The Reservoir Dogs Copy-Cat "Cool Walk" Sequence

Mike's Awkward Repeated Calls to Speak to New LA Acquaintance Nikki

Mike Meeting and Swing-Dancing With Lorraine (Heather Graham) in the Derby


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