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“Swimfan” Best Movie?

Swimfan
Year: 2002
Genre: Thriller
Director: John Polson
Stars: Jesse Bradford, Erika Christensen, Shiri Appleby

A high school senior with a promising swimming career has a one-night stand with consequences.

Recently I have been testing the chat for our Monday Live Nude Geeks stream using the completely random name of “SwimfanBestMovie” without having seen the movie Swimfan before.  Well I happened to get bored the other evening and gave this movie a show with the thought of “How could someone think that Swimfan is the ‘best movie’?  The truth I quickly learned is that Swimfan totally sucks – but I am going to see if it’s possible for someone to make a claim that they feel SwimfanBestMovie.

Best Eye Candy

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Swimfan tells the story of a high school senior, Ben Cronin (Jesse Bradford) with a promising swim career.   He better hope that he’s got hope for college from swimming because it seems that his academic future is shit.  This is clearly a man in his 20s on a swimteam of other 20-year olds pretending to be high school students.  Now there’s nothing wrong with young adults playing teenagers – that’s common practice in Hollywood.  Though they are MUCH older looking teenagers in this film than others which kind of eases the intense lust a bit more knowing that these actors are actually older than I am.

They are certainly very GOOD looking young men who spend most of the movie in Speedos, water glistening on their washboard abs.  Oh there are girls in this movie too (well, women who have matured well beyond their high school years and playing pretend at adolescence) but they must be suffocating under the tons of clothing they’re forced to wear.  The most of a women who get to see in this PG-13 thriller is a bare shoulder blade with a bra strap.  It is clearly the beauty of the masculine form on full display throughout this movie.  It’s like a DeCoteau horror film and I can certainly appreciate that.   It’s a beefcake film, not unlike DeCoteau’s 1313 flicks, that just happens to be in the mainstream.  To further evidence that point, here is a shot of Dan Hedaya talking to one of these fine, fine specimens.

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The Best Source Material

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Swimfan is a shameless ripoff of Fatal Attraction using high school kids instead of middle-aged adults.  Ben has everything going for him, a future, a great job at a hospital, and a wonderful girlfriend.   There’s a new girl at school, a desirable blonde named Madison Belle (Erika Christensen) who, momentarily at least, catches Ben’s interest.  They have a one-night stand which is really more like a one-evening stand because avoiding the complications of a night shoot involves a scenario where teens have sex in a car parked along a highway in the afternoon.  Ben feels guilty about cheating on his girlfriend and wants to just forget Madison and forget what happened.  Madison, however, goes completely crazy and sets out to destroy Ben’s life because she loves him.

This is nowhere near as good as Fatal Attraction for a variety of reasons.  Jesse Bradford and Erika Christensen are nowhere near the talent that Michael Douglas and Glenn Close brought to the same story.  Also, with adults the stakes are greater than with teens.  Michael Douglas had a family to worry about, a family it was his responsibility to support should this crazy woman destroy his career and his life.  What’s this high school kid got?  A promising vote of confidence from some college scouts?  Michael Douglas’ character had children and the emotional reaction to watching a child killed because some woman can’t let casual sex be casual is much more tragic than watching a high school kid’s bland, cardboard friends die.  Watching Fatal Attraction I was in suspense, worried that these characters might die or their lives would be ruined.  Watching Swimfan I just rolled my eyes and said “get over it” most of the time.

But, hey, if you’re going to rip something off, might as well make sure you’re ripping off soemthing Fatal Attraction instead of that Wesley Snipes/De Niro movie The Fan, right?

The Best Convenience

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Swimfan takes place in Rhode Island.  There is a line where a girl, despondent that she can’t attend Stanford like the lucky swim kids, has to settle for the state university in Rhode Island.  And cars in Rhode Island all have New Jersey license plates because… I don’t know why I’m bringing this up.

The only way someone can accept that anything in this story is plausible is if you can believe that everyone in this world is exactly as ignorant as they seem.  The first 30 minutes of the movie is Ben being given the creepiest pair of “fuck eyes” by this Madison girl and he never once things this girl might have some problems and decides to have a fling with her anyway.  When she starts invading his life she’s none too stealth about it but I suppose that’s okay when everyone is blind.  At his hospital job, Ben gives the same old man the same medication every day – and when Madison switches that out with some sort of death drug, nobody notices.  When Madison beat’s Ben’s friend to death and tosses his body in the pool, Ben doesn’t notice until he’s gone a few laps around.

swimfan-4-1Swimfan must have been one simple script to write when one doesn’t have to take into account things like logic or common sense.  Why does this girl go crazy?  She just does, okay… FUCK backstory!  The most infuriating thing is the ending where, SPOILER ALERT (like you fucking care) she dies!  How?  She drowns in the middle of a swimming pool – a TRACK swimming pool with a depth of only 5 feet – because… well I guess she can’t swim.  We’re never TOLD she can’t swim and she never actually says “I can’t swim,”  she just flails about in the pool and that’s that.  In fact we don’t even see her drown.  We just see her splashing about (in slow motion of all things) and we fade to another scene.

Other than the eye candy and the joy in pointing and laughing at a really stupid movie, I can’t see how Swimfan could be the “best” of anything.  Most of the movie is just boring instead of laughable and the eye candy, well in the age of internet porn I can get that anywhere.  Apparently ChillerTV included this film in a list of “13 Most Horrifying Hookups” which means that someone, somewhere at least felt Swimfan was memorable.  My negative opinion of this film aside, it still seems logical that at least one person in the world would be proud to use a screen name like “SwimfanBestMovie”

About The Author
Matthew Coats
Matthew Coats
Formerly known under the pseudonym of Alex Jowski. Site owner, movie aficionado, and film school grad. Matthew Coats presents reviews, some written, some as vlogs, and some as weekly shows, for a variety of different movies and television shows. After years of struggling to get his own projects off the ground amidst the normal routine of living, Matthew Coats decided to create a site in order to share and promote movie reviews, video games and much much more from talented and original people all across the internet.
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