Picture it: Hanover Ma, early September 2002. It just a couple of days after I saw the Rolling Stones at Gillette Stadium, and my co-worker Janelle thought it would be a good idea to set me up with her younger sister. Why? Because she too was at the Stones concert.
That was it. Really, that was the whole basis for setting us up on a date. I don’t even remember if I knew her name before then. I can’t even remember her name now. Before I knew it, the “date” was set up.
I was a little uncomfortable about the whole thing, so I figured it would be better to have some back-up with me in case things went sour. I somehow convinced Janelle that instead of a one-on-one movie date, her sister should just come with us on our traditional Tuesday $5 Movie Night. For whatever reason, the movie we decided to see that week was “Swimfan,” which probably wasn’t the wisest choice.
For the millions out there who don’t remember, 2002’s “Swimfan” was supposed to be the high school version of “Fatal Attraction,” but the movie ended up being nothing more than a big budget CW show. If that isn’t enough to entice you, here is a more detailed summary:
Ben Cronin (Jesse Bradford) seems to have it all: a loving mother, a devoted girlfriend (Shiri Appleby), and a shot at a college scholarship in California. But soon Ben finds himself embroiled in a flirtation with Madison Bell (Erika Christensen), a bewitching transfer student who seduces him into supposedly strings-free sex in the school pool. But she soon forces herself into his life, showing up at Ben’s house, befriending his girlfriend, and sending him naked pictures — none of which win his heart.
So Madison turns to other, more devious forms of courtship. Soon, Ben finds himself kicked off the swim team for supposed steroid use, suspected of murdering a rival (Clayne Crawford), and rejected by his girlfriend for his indiscretions. Eventually, he receives help in uncovering the genesis of Madison’s fixation from an unexpected source.
The Glenn Close psycho in “Swimfan” was played by Erika Christensen. Her character, Madison Bell, is the new girl in town who quickly zeroes in on Ben Cronin (Jesse Bradford). The way we know Christensen’s Madison is the villain is because she shows her fury by clenching her jaw and giving impenetrable stares at her targets.
Ben, of course, is less than perfect. In his past, he was involved with drugs, broke into student lockers to steal money and landed in a juvenile detention center. I’m guessing this back story was put in to make him a “bad boy” when the studio realized a swimming wasn’t the sexiest of sports.
Madison’s seduction of Ben takes place in the high school pool during a private swimming lesson she has requested. Although she assures him of her discretion and that it was just a one time fling, her insistence that he say ”I love you” during the encounter leaves him slightly unnerved.
And speaking of unnerved…
My friend’s sister talked to me during the entire movie. She kept asking me stuff about the Rolling Stones concert, where was I sitting, did they play my favorite song, what was my favorite song they played, etc. Before I could really answer anything, she told me her favorite moment was when the Stones sang “Honky Tonk Women” because the lyrics meant something to her because she could relate to them. Okay then.
Anyways, around the point in the movie when Erika Christensen plants steroids in Jesse Bradford’s locker, my “date” informed she too was going to the Comic Con at the Bay Side Expo center the following month. I said something like “oh cool” but she took it as “Will you go with me?”
Due to the shock of all of this, I don’t remember how “Swimfan” ended. I seem to recall the pool was involved in the finale, because just like “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place” always went back to the pizza place at first, “Swimfan” had to go back to the pool.