Swing (I) (2003)
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It was a great movie, with great performances. Jaqueline Bissett, Jonathan Winters, Nel Carter, and Barry Bostwick were among my favorites. For an independent film, it was chock-full of veteran actors, each performing at their very best.
I love angel-themed movies, and this was clearly a movie which tugs at one's heart. It sort of reminded me of a sophisticated version of Touched By An Angel - which was a great TV show. It was a movie for all ages, since angels are of course ageless.
I was fortunate in that Jacqueline Bissett & the screen writer did a Q&A after the movie. It really has nothing to do with my impression of the movie, except to say that they were fabulously gracious people.
And speaking of fabulous, the soundtrack is incredible. A combination of old and new songs make for a great soundtrack, and help to weave the fabric of the story between the younger characters and the older characters.
Its also the story of a generational conflict between a father who wants his son to find security in the family business and his son who wants to be a musician.The young man's grandfather was a great swing musician who gave it up for a boring conventional life but the young man has an unusual muse who inspires him to have the courage be true to himself and his dream. The music is hot, the dancing exciting, and the story lovely.
The cast was pretty good. Jonathan Winters was hilarious in his supporting role. Sadly, the script was pretty bad. It's basically an ABC After School Special retelling of the Saturday Night Fever story, which doesn't really work. Saturday Night Fever worked as a story because its conflicts felt authentic and had an edge. Swing's conflicts lack the urgency and edge to involve the viewer.
Another puzzling feature of the film is that the main character is entranced by swing dancing and music. However, his own band doesn't play swing and he exhibits no interest in playing any kind of jazz. They play a lot of folk rock.
The only people that have rendered good opinions on this film have a vested interest in it. All of my friends who attended the cast/crew screening were disappointed.
The many, many cons: The leads lack the skills to carry the movie. The directing and editing are terrible. The scripting feels like it was made up on the spot by an eight year old. The cast mugs and hams and then does what it can to get from one line of the script to another.