Monday, August 30, 2010

'Swingers' Open Thread

What did you think?


  1. Oh! I like both of those guys!

  2. Look at that Jon Favreau on the phone.

  3. Look at that phone! It looks like one of those large-print-edition remotes!

    Oh, I love being all smug and modern. ;)

  4. You are the very model of a modern major general!

  5. I've information vegetable, animal and mineral!

    And, Netflix says I should have Swingers tomorrow, so I can be money, too.

  6. You gotta double down!

    Okay, I've got it for tonight!!

  7. Done and done. Not the guy to start the ball rolling, though. It was a slice of life more alien to me than Caprica, besides from the universal relationship stuff.

    It did prompt me to start watching Eureka from the beginning, though. So there is that.

  8. It did prompt me to start watching Eureka from the beginning, though. So there is that.

    Do they play Blackjack on Eureka?

  9. I needed a palate cleanser. "Hip" mid-90s NYC transplants in Los Angeles leave an aftertaste, I have observed. I don't really mean to get down on the movie because I've seen worse. But it did nothing for me. The stuff like the male character named Sue or Su just sounds like something Favreau threw in to get studio types saying "Wow, man!" when they did a read. Same for the NYC ex-pat angle. I didn't get why Vince Vaughn's character was so vested in having the Favreau character get back on the horse. Sure they're friends, but I took it that they met in LA--not that long ago from the plot. And with the self-interest of these characters, what's the motivation? If they showed VV as more of a mooch, dependent on Favreau, there would be that. And I assure you that none of those guys would let Favreau even mention his ex after six outings, much less six months. I have nothing in common with these guys. And I'm happy for that.

  10. Well, they're friends, and it would seem that Trent is a better friend than most in terms of his commitment to try to help someone that he really couldn't help. Jon Favreau's character may be many things, but one thing he definitely was not was a 'swinger'. His world of self doubt and his obsessive thoughts about his failed relationship were so over the top that even I had a sense of moral superiority, even though I could relate to the self doubt engendered from his career struggles. One thing about men is our tendency to derive a sense of self worth through our work, so if our work is lost to us, or we are failing in it for whatever reason, it is a challenge not to see yourself as being not worthy of anyone's interest. Mikey's inability to get out of his own head is no less self-centered that Trent's constant plays for 'beautiful babies'. In the end he wasn't like Trent. He was not looking for a quick score, and was a tad offended to hear of Lorraine being referred to in that matter. But he had been able to move forward, and that was a good thing.

    What I thought was fun was the ridiculous language between Trent and ... whoever he was talking with, along with the scene of his repeatedly asking Sue whether a girl was looking his way. That was hilarious, in my view. Mike's discomfort at the gambling table after all his efforts to appear as a high roller, and his disgust at bombing out in one hand was good stuff. And who wouldn't cringe over Mike using 'the digits' as soon as he got home ... at 2:32 am!

    It was for fun.

    Okay, now the choice goes to Cathy.

  11. VEGAS< Baby!

    OK, I'm like 10 minutes in, and the platitude-dispensing answering machine already made me laugh out loud.

    And Lord preserve us from... the Lower Stakes Tables!

    Of course, I did just get back from buying a downright flattering sweater AND a lipgloss I haven't been able to find for a while, so I am somewhat predisposed to enjoy myself.

  12. Oh yeah, that answering machine with the mechanical voice of Stephen Hawking was killer. And the constant hoping and searching for a possible call from a girl 3,000 miles away... one that he had left six months earlier. Yikes! Of course he's over the top. I love it, and you know what? I do think I'm feeling it! It's on! : )

  13. Well Darrell, I can see why you don't identify with any of those guys. They haven't grown up yet, they haven't found real work that interests them, they are stuffed to the gills with over-compensating bravado, and they haven't gotten past their preoccupation with getting some action from the Beautiful Babies (well, the California boys more than the NY expats). Yeah, yeah, you crack wise about looking for the, um, Beautiful Babies, but we know you're holding out for a Lorraine.

    There's a lot about the artifice that young people employ while they're still trying to figure out who they really want to be -- from Mike's pretense at the casino, to lies about himself Trent tells the girls he meets, to the poor guy (Rob?) who can't even get cast as "Goofy," but can't tell his mother he "didn't get the pilot." Now, being a women of a certain age may not be as magical as some people think, but I wouldn't want to be twenty-something again. Well, not mentally anyway. ;)

    So, James "Hey you" Nicholas, I had a different take on Mike's friendships. It seemed to me that his buddy from New York ( I have to check his name... ROB.) is more of a real friend -- he levels with Mike about being stuck in the why-won't-she-call-me mindset, and he's honest about his own life. (I really liked the scene in Mike's apartment when Rob tells him he doesn't look at the things he has -- he only looks at the things he doesn't have.) But Trent needs Mike to be stuck. If Mike is stuck, Trent can be the good guy, encouraging him, boosting his spirits, taking him under his wing. But when Mike turns the corner after meeting Lorraine -- refreshingly unpretentious, open, something-in-common, maybe-this-could-be-real Lorraine -- Trent is down, kind of at a loss; the role he created for himself in his relationship with Mike isn't essential anymore. I felt kind of bad for him.

    But overall it was just funny. I found much of the dialogue funny (but, oy! the cursing!), and the situations the guys got themselves into ridiculous but hardly tragic. (Except for that business with the gun -- what an idiot.) And you know I loved the change in Mike, deciding to move forward with his life, and the "real" girl.

    Oh, I loves me a happy ending.

  14. Hey -- did anybody else think Jon Favreau sounded like he was channeling Woody Allen?

  15. Mike seems to do well for himself just working that open mike on Mondays in the "something ha-ha" comedy factory. Money for an apartment and car. Money to head to Vegas and to drop $40-$60 2-3 times per week on nights out. And for a "comedian." Mike doesn't even seem to be the funny one in the group. He must leave it all at work.

    The platitude-spewing answering machine made me hopeful, too. I wished I would have gotten that model. I don't know if it was a happy ending--more like a hopeful ending. From what we saw, Mike has to resist his nature to muck it up.

  16. Maybe we just haven't been drinking as much as the folks at the Ha-ha club? Mike did seem to be the most financially successful of the group; who knows, maybe finally getting over the broken heart will make him funnier, too.

    I thought they did a nice job showing the vicious cycle of his attachment to the ex. He keeps fixating on her moving on, the loss and associated hit to the self-confidence undermine any interaction with a girl he meets, that failure just gets him thinking about the ex...

    Oh! Fun music, too! (Though I kind of hate the opening number -- "You're Nobody Til Somebody Loves You" -- just too close to what some of us took to heart early on, I guess.) But I especially loved the one at the end -- " I'm Beginning to See the Light." Loved It!

    And I hadn't realized that Jon Favreau was the director for the Iron Man movies, which I quite enjoyed, as well as Elf which, though a bit lame around the big resolution, is my newest holiday favorite. (I now watch Elf every year, and every year the bit about the Four Food Groups cracks me up.)

    I guess I should say up front that I am somewhat oddly attached to my Favorite Holiday Movies, so please be kind if you comment. Hey -- we should compare favorite holiday movie lists, but no critiquing. (I don't mean right away -- even I know it's too soon to do Christmas movies. BUT! Now that Hurricane Earl is way past us, it's supposed to be, like, 15 degrees cooler tomorrow than it has been lately! :)

  17. Whoa. Too much caffeine today!

  18. Money for an apartment and car? Mike's attempts at humor.. perhaps needed an East coast audience to appreciate them. Breakfast anytime, so he chooses pancakes from "The Age of Enlightenment"? Zero. Bombed. But the waitress five minutes later "Hold your horses, Voltaire" D, that was money! The comedian... isn't funny. The guy is sleeping in a bag. He's driving a Cavalier. A red Cavalier that was such a piece of junk, such a total piece of junk the 'beautiful babies" would never want to party in it. In fact, you knew Mike drove a piece of junk just by the way he walked up to you. He was screaming "Red Cavalier Piece of Junk" all the way down the hall. You can't get any play with a styleless ride like that. Geez.

    Jon Favreau definitely reminded me of Woody with all his self-doubt and obsessing. No one does self-doubt and intellectualized obsessing like Woody. And you are totally right about Rob being a good friend to Mike as well. He offered well grounded advice, and Mike definitely was a glass half-empty kind of guy. Being thankful is a big part of being happy. Rob was on the money, even though he didn't get a call back on 'Goofy'.

    As to Trent and Mike's friendship, I can see how you could go that way. I went another direction. Trent needs Mike to be stuck? Trent makes his own party wherever he goes. He had a great time with Sue, he enjoyed working a room, he loved razing those street thugs in the hockey, and he was always looking to play a role. It was fun for him, to see what he could do with something. He made people react to him, he was money and he knew it.

    With Mike he was really looking to see if he could help bring Mike's confidence back. Mike's lack of confidence was foriegn to him, and he didn't understand it except in terms of talking him up. That's what all the pep talk was about. Trent felt that if Mike could exude a little confidence, he was golden, and the world in which he was living would change. Trent thought that would be a good change, and he wanted his friend to get there.

    When Mike finally did get the gumption to say hello to Lorraine, it was with the benefit of some of the imagery from Trent and the boys. And it was totally T that had his eye on the room and was all about watching Mikey make his move .. and succeed in breaking the ice and even dancing some "Go Daddy-Oh!" You may not realize it, but that is a big thing, being willing to put yourself out there, knowing you could get slammed to the curb. No, I don't think Trent needed Mike to be a flat.

    The final scene where Trent thought he had a vibe going with some goofy lady, and it turns out she is cooing to her baby I think was to say Trent's whole scene was superficial and silly, and that the relationship that Mike was actually building with Lorraine was more substantial and valuable. But of course Mikey appears to be far too dependent on being in a relationship, so we would have to see how that would go. But as Darrell said, things looked hopeful.

    Anyway, thanks all for watching it with me.

    Okay young lady, what is your pleasure?

  19. What do they pay for hosting open mike at The Ha-Ha Hut? $100? $200? What does a crap apartment cost in LA in 1996? A fairly new car?(POS or not) License and insurance? Rob wasn't the only one getting checks from Mom and Pop.

    Mike broke up when he moved to LA--according to the background talk. Since his ex was probably seeing that guy, he was in mourning since then. Trent only saw that side of Mike from the beginning of their friendship. Maybe Trent thought the he had the "system" and could teach it to Mike in no time. Cathy is right. Trent's role has also been the Sensei to Mike's feckless "grasshopper." Right now he is out of a job.

    The movie was full of inside industry jokes--sort of like a video resume for Favreau. The reference to Scorsese and the craziness of filming in Las Vegas (after we had already seen the Vegas bits. The "what's wrong with borrowing?" stuff, followed by slo-mo walking shots, synchorized action, walking into the back door of the club. Cute stuff for those in the biz.

    I guess I'm not into Gen-Y cool.

    And my attention span has degenerated to the point where movies are pushing it. Must be too many 40-minute TV shows.

  20. Yeah, okay. Happily out of a job.

    Well, what do you think, Cathy?

  21. Anybody up for Midnight Run?

    Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin, road trip, bounty hunters, mobsters... What could go wrong?

  22. Oh my, I love Charles Grodin! And I've only seen bits of that movie. Looks like a winner to me!

  23. Trent's role has always been the Sensei to Mike's feckless "grasshopper."

    That's what happens when you comment on breaks from a Eureka marathon. It's really good, btw. It hit the ground running from year 1.

  24. Cathy, you say "but, oy! the cursing!" to Swingers, but then you pick Midnight Run? Be forewarned.

    I liked the music, too, in Swingers. Yet I have no doubt that those guys wouldn't really.
    Just trying to cash in on the cool from the Rat Pack era.

  25. "but, oy! the cursing!"

    Hmm. I must have seen Midnight Run before I was anybody's aunt!

  26. I left the movie to play again last night and re-watched some bits here and there -- I think we're ALL right (how often does THAT happen) about Trent -- he's certainly got his nose out of joint initially about Mike's new-found calm regarding Lorraine when they're waiting for breakfast -- but in their last scene he is trying to take an interest in where Mike's going re calling back/not calling back the ex (in spite of being incapable of staying focused 'cause there's a wild woman making baby-faces at him...), so he is trying to adapt to the changes in the friendship. So, that's hopeful, too.

  27. Btw, that scene with Sue pulling a gun was a "homage" to Boyz N The Hood. Padding the resume.

  28. "The fish are farther out.

    Just a little...farther."

  29. What that, Fish N Da Hood lure?

  30. Ooops! I'm sure I must have meant lore.

  31. I really liked this movie. I thought the dialogue was very good. Also the situational humor, like the guys mentioning to Mikey that it had been two days and that he could call that girl now if he wanted to, and the look of quiet displeasure on his face as we all recall the disaster phone call he already committed. Also the payoff at the end - the interaction with Lorraine - the utter failure of his attempts at comedy just as earlier in the movie, but this time it does not move him off. He hangs in, and ultimately it is she who drives things forward by asking him to dance, and then does not let him slide off when the tunes picked up and all the Zoot suite types were starting to cut it up. And what do you know, Mikey can dance. And what's more he could appreciate that she was good as well. Mutual respect. Then the final walk out to the car, the exchange of numbers and she asks him the typical LA question "Where's your car?" And the straightforward "That piece of shit over there" followed by her "It suites you" to his close the deal "Get the hell outta here" with a smile. That was perfect.

    The final comments between Mikey and Trent where Mike says he had told Michelle he would call her back, but didn't because it just didn't occur to him...that I didn't care for. I suppose it was meant to show that Mikey had moved on from this old girlfriend, but to me it just said that she was out of mind now. She still was someone that he had dated for six years and she deserved a call back as he had promised. To borrow a phrase from Mikey, not calling "Looked like a dick move to me". That and all the foul language were the negatives in my book. I didn't catch all the movie references they were making, but I noticed they were making comedic efforts on a number of different levels, and I could appreciate the complexity of pulling that off, and pulling it off well.

    "God bless those guys."