What do you do when you can’t get over your girlfriend of six years? You head out from New York to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, then continue to drone on to your buddies about how much you miss your girl. Such is the synopsis for the 1996 smash hit, Swingers, written by Jon Favreau (who directed Iron Man and Elf) and directed by Doug Liman (who also directed The Bourne Identity). I count Swingers as one of the movies that had the greatest influence on my early work as a filmmaker. I love the witty dialog and zany characters. It’s a hilarious movie and it never, ever gets old.
As I pointed out, the movie follows the lives of Mikey and his band of too-cool-for-their-own-good, sharp tongued, got-an-opinion-about-everything friends. Particularly one Trent Walker played brilliantly by a much thinner Vince Vaughn in the role that shot his career to the moon. Mike goes through the whole movie moping about his ex-girlfriend Michelle. For six months he’s whined about her and he can’t get her out of his mind. He’s waiting desperately for her to call him. But she never does (well, not until he finally learns to forget about her. Funny thing. Ex-girlfriends always know not to call until you really forget.)
YOU’RE SO MONEY
The scene in the film that I’d like to highlight (see clip below) is right around the transition from act 2 to 3. Mikey’s good friend Rob (played by Ron Livingtson of Office Space and Band of Brothers fame) comes to Mikey’s apartment to try to get him to come out with the guys. Mike looks like crap, smells terrible, and is going through old photos of him and Michelle. Rob has an inspiring and poignant heart to heart with Mike. He tells him that his friends are right—that he is so money and he doesn’t even know it. (Trent and Mike’s other buddies keep telling Mike that throughout the film. It’s perhaps the most famous line from the movie. That and “Vegas, baby, Vegas!”) What I particularly love is when he tells Mike straight up, “That’s your problem. You don’t look at the things you have. You only look at the stuff you don’t have.”
Isn’t that what so many of us do? We gawk at other people’s work and feel bad that we’re not as good. Or we want the camera that other guy has. Or the studio space our competitor has. Or we wish we had as many Twitter followers or Facebook friends as so-and-so. It’s so easy to wish we had somebody else’s life. But, if we took inventory of the gifts and blessings we do have, life would be so much different. It’s all about perspective.
Especially during this holiday season when people are particularly in “I want” mode, take time to stop and realize how many gifts and wonderful things already bestowed upon you. The truth is…YOU are so money. And you don’t even know it? Or do you? (Note: the clip contains profanity, so keep the kiddies away).