Watching this, from start to finish, for the time in at least ten years, I thought, Do I like this movie because it’s good or because I saw it for the first time at the exact right moment in my life and have carried those good feelings forward?

In the fall of 1996 I was at Oklahoma State, in a much different environment, with a completely different set of friends, and the film brought that point in my life to the screen. I was the Jon Favreau character, struggling with my place in life, trying to find myself, heartbroken while having troubles with the ladies. I literally had a friend who was the Vince Vaughn character, outgoing, center of attention, looking for the next party. (And quick aside about how thin VV was in this film. These days he’s a friggin tank.) The group I hung out with would go from bar to bar, having several drinks, trying to score. Lines from the movie (You’re so money and you don’t even know it, so many beautiful babies, a gin and tonic sounds mighty mighty good to me) became part of our daily dialogue. This film became a huge reference point for our group.

Trying to be objective for a second, the script is peppered with memorable lines and poignant looks at life and, I’m going to use a word I don’t use very often, tender. I could tell this was taken from real life—heartbreak, chasing a dream, nights spent looking for an experience or someone. The film is wonderfully paced, broken into three acts as Favreau’s character deals with the issues in his life. The rest of the cast complement his performance and some (Vaughn, Livingston, Graham, who was gorgeous) would go on to do bigger and better things. The music is fantastic as well with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy making an appearance at the end. Parts of the movie are dated (swing culture, the K car, answering machines) but has several timeless elements as well—the classic convertible on the Vegas strip, the Tarantino/Scorsese debate, and the relationships between friends.

Honestly I forgot how good and funny and insightful the movie was, and it’s in my top 20 right now. Again not sure if it’s due to quality or the stuff I bring to the table but I could watch this over and over again (and 20 years ago did).

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