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Swingers Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
  • Rating: R
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Lionsgate/Miramax
  • Blu-ray Release Date: August 23, 2011
  • List Price: $14.99

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BestBuy.com:
Swingers - Widescreen Subtitle AC3 Dolby Dts

Purchase Swingers on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

Director Doug Liman’s (The Bourne Identity) second feature and first comedy was this 1996 indie film featuring a screenplay from Jon Favreau (G-Force; Director, Iron Man 2). A hip and witty comedy that gives a spot on look into the often futile dating scene of twenty-somethings in 90s L.A. teetering on the outskirts of success in the acting business, this indie film was a surprise hit and has been a growing cult favorite since first hitting DVD.

Following Mike (Favreau), a native of New York and recent migrant to L.A. who’s just ended a six-year relationship and struggling to come to grips with it, Swingers realistically captures the ennui, angst, and frustrations of his small group of friends as they try to get Mike out of his dating funk and wallowing self-pity and try to keep one step ahead of themselves becoming the Hollywood cliché of the delusional “actors” working  dead end jobs.

We begin the story with Mikey conversing and commiserating with fellow transplanted New Yorker Rob (Ron Livingston; Dinner for Schmucks), before we move on to Mikey being called up and convinced to a night out on the town with close friend Trent, a fast-talking, slick dressing retro-hipster (Vince Vaughn; Couple’s Retreat; Four Christmases). The two take a drive out to “Vegas, baby!” where “daddy” can pick up some “beautiful babies.” But Mikey’s inability to get over whining about his ex ruins the night. From there on, it’s a virtual barhop through smokey speakeasies sipping martinis and Dewar’s on the rocks with the rest of the boys, including a guy named Sue (Patrick Van Horn) and Charles (Alex Désert, High Fidelity; TV’s Becker) as the boys try to perk up Mikey’s spirits while their own self-aggrandizing attitudes, notes of wisdom, and endless efforts at picking up beautiful honey babies do more to crush Mikey’s  ego and lend a bit of self-caricature to their evenings than anything else.

Vince Vaughn’s performance is a stand-out that put him on the Hollywood map in this film full of memorable one-liners and hilarious scenes. My favorite has always been of Mike calling a girl he met on a night out too soon and getting her answering machine. Any single guy can relate to this classic dating faux pas.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Swingers has never looked great. Remember, this is an indie film that had a budget of ~$200,000. That it is as successful as it is is an amazing feat. Nonetheless, its production value does tend to leave it at times somewhat wanting as far as imagery and finer detail are concerned. There’s a coarseness to the grain structure and a somewhat soft appearance overall. Still, it looks very film-like and free from electronic noise of any kind, and I don’t notice any evidence of edge enhancement to “sharpen” it at all.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

They have the original 2-channel mix and a new 5.1 mix, both in lossless DTS-HD Master Audio, so both traditionalists and those looking for something to make use of their surround systems should be pleased. Both mixes are are quite good. The 2-channel mix offers a surprising amount of depth and weightiness to its soundtrack during musical passages with clean and clear dialogue. As much as I like tradition, I must say that the 5.1 adds a lot more spaciousness and ambience and also anchors the dialogue more firmly to the center, which I also like. It also expands the stereo field a bit.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/3]

The supplements offer nothing new for the Blu-ray release, being all carryovers from the original DVD release of Swingers, which is a shame.

Here’s what you get:

  • Audio Commentary with Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn
  • Audio Commentary with Director Doug Liman and Editor Stephen Mirrione
  • “Making it in Hollywood” Original Documentary (1.78:1; 480i/60):
    • Art Imitates Life: Writing the Story
    • Life Creates Art: Getting Swingers Made
    • Life Imitates Art: Swingers Culture
    • Art Creates Life: Life After Swingers

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

One of a string of films starting with 1989’s Drugstore Cowboy that informed my film education from my late-teens on, helping free me forever from the notion that film was just disposable entertainment and allowing me to see how films were truly a great art form, Swingers will always be at the top of the list for me when it comes to great comedies. It captured an era; riding the cusp of the 90s swing music revival and interpreting on the screen the humanity of twenty-somethings trying to find a connection and a pace in the world, Swingers is anchored in an era, but timeless at the same time.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product align=”right”]B0055OTJOE[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Swingers - Widescreen Subtitle AC3 Dolby Dts

Purchase Swingers on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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