It’s still money, baby.
The U.S. Comedy Arts Festival announced Monday that its centerpiece showcase next month will be a 10th-anniversary celebration of the 1996 film “Swingers,” which made “money” the coinage of cool. The festival, set to run March 8th-12th in Aspen, Colo., will reunite the film’s cast — Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau (who also wrote the movie) and Ron Livingston.
Favreau, who in “Swingers” plays a New Yorker transplanted to Los Angeles as he painfully tries to get over a broken relationship, feels it was the story’s exploration of universal themes for young adults that struck a big chord.
“It had a lot of sort of heat associated with how timely it was to what was going on in pop culture,” he said Monday in a phone conversation. “It was a very personal story ... and I wrote it at a moment when I was really wrestling with those dilemmas and the whole idea of friendship and what the future might hold overcoming the depression and in overcoming a relationship or being alone in a new town.”
The film was ahead of its time, Favreau said, setting the stage for the type of comedy found in more recent box office hits “Old School” and “Wedding Crashers.”
“Now it seems all so familiar, but at the time it was cutting edge and we were grouped with all that independent film stuff,” Favreau said. But, he continued, “Vince and I and [director] Doug Liman too, and Ron, we’ve hit the mainstream as we’re closing in on 40 years old and now we’re the system.”
Besides honoring “Swingers,” the 12th annual festival, sponsored by HBO, will offer 23 feature films, including Robert Altman’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” “Dave Chappelle’s Block Party” and Damon Wayans’ “Behind the Smile,” 23 shorts and live comedy.
The festival announced earlier this year that actress Goldie Hawn and director James Burrows would be honored during the event.
Last year’s festival reunited Cheech Marin and former film partner Tommy Chong, who appeared together for the first time in 20 years. The 2005 event also saw “Doonesbury” cartoonist Garry Trudeau receive the festival’s Freedom of Speech Award while prone on a stretcher after he broke his collarbone while skiing.