Golden Globe(r) winner* John Travolta leads an all-star cast in the hysterical comedy thatTime calls "smart, shrewdly crafted [and] hilarious!" Loan shark Chili Palmer (Travolta) is bored with the business. So when he arr... more »ives in LA to collect a debt from down-and-out filmmaker Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman), Chili talks tough...and then pitches Harry a script idea. Immediately, Chili is swept into the Hollywood scene: He schmoozes film star Martin Weir (Danny DeVito), romances B-movie queen Karen Flores (Rene Russo) and even gets reservations at the hottest restaurants intown. In fact, all would be smooth for this cool new producer, if it weren't for the drug smugglersand the angry mobster who won't leave him alone! *1996: Actor (Comedy)Get Shorty« less
"A loan shark from Florida, who loves movies and winds up in Hollywood on a collection job, decides to take a shot at the movie business while he's there, in "Get Shorty," directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. Dark humor and richly textured characters drive this story of Chili Palmer (John Travolta), the shylock from Miami Beach who aspires to a life beyond keeping a book for thugs, in this faithful adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel. When circumstances take him to Las Vegas to look for one Leo Devoe (David Paymer), a dry-cleaner in debt up to his eyeballs who blew town after an airline scam, Chili goes on to Hollywood to do a favor for the casino operator who tipped him off as to Leo's whereabouts. The "favor" is contacting film director Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman) who has payment overdue on a note issued to him by the casino. Zimm has made a name for himself (at least in his own mind) by directing horror movies; but he's not the sharpest tool in the shed. Ultimately, Chili gets involved with Zimm and actress Karen Flores (Rene Russo), who has starred in some of Zimm's horror flicks, as well as with two time Academy Award nominee Martin Weir (Danny DeVito), the "shorty" of the title. Chili is finally in his element, but his Miami Beach days are not yet behind him; there's still some settling up to do according to one Ray "Bones" Barboni (Dennis Farina), owner of the book kept by Chili in Florida. Travolta not only goes the distance here, but creates a definitive character in Chili; even as Sean Connery is James Bond, and Basil Rathbone is Sherlock Holmes, Travolta "is" Chili Palmer. With nuance and charisma, he does this guy from the inside out. He has the look and the mannerisms; he walks the walk and talks the talk. And nobody in the history of the cinema has used a cigarette as a prop better than he does in this movie. It's a commanding, Oscar-worthy performance, every bit as good (possibly even better) than the role of Vincent he created in "Pulp Fiction." His presence simply dominates the film, and he's up against some stiff competition, because this movie is filled with great characters. Not only Hackman, who does a terrific job as Zimm, but Russo, who sizzles, and DeVito, who adds some real flair as the "Movie Star," and Farina, whose toughness and lack of wit make him a memorable character. Also exceptional are Delroy Lindo, as Bo Catlett, a thug and wanna-be movie producer, James Gandolfini, as "Bear," a stuntman who works with Catlett, and Jon Gries as Ronnie, a "Hollywood" style tough guy who also works with Catlett. Sonnenfeld did a great job of bringing this world of "Get Shorty" to life. The story is interesting and delivered with outstanding dialogue and plenty of action, all of which Sonnenfeld keeps moving at a perfect pace and with impeccable timing. This is one thoroughly enjoyable, funny movie that absolutely begs for a sequel. In recommending it, I have to borrow one of Chili Palmer's best lines: "Look at me." Because that says it all. This is one movie you don't want to miss."
Witty, funny movie gets the "special" treatment
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 02/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It takes a loan shark leading the way to make Hollywood honest. "Get Shorty" returns in a new 2 disc "Collector's Edition" DVD just in time for the sequel "Too Cool" which will be premiering in theaters in March. Translating Elmore Leonard's novels to the screen can be a tricky business luckily both screenwriter Scott Frank and director Barry Sonnenfeld are both up to the task with an inventive dark comedic film. Chili Palmer (John Travolta) heads west to collect a debt from down-and-out B-movie producer Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman). When Harry can't pay, Chili opts to help him make a movie about, well, Chili Palmer. The catch is that Chili and Harry need a star to make their movie viable. Chili quickly finds that the film business shares a lot in common with the world of organized crime. Chili romances B-Movie queen Karen Flores (Rene Russo) an ex- of Harry's and persuades film star Martin Weir (Danny DeVito) to star in the film but not before running into a Cadillac of very funny mishaps along the way. Featuring a great performances from Dennis Farina as the clueless Ray `Bones' Barboni, Travolta, Hackman, Russo, DeVito and a pre-Sopranos James Gandolfini, "Get Shorty" positively sparkles with wit and energy.
Sporting a new high definition transfer "Get Shorty" looks simply marvelous. With a sharp looking transfer showing a minimum of digital artifacts and no analog flaws, "Get Shorty" deserves the deluxe treatment. The image has amazing depth and an image sharper than Chili's aim. The colors practically leap out from the screen brighter than Harry Zimm's blindingly white teeth from the moment the pink and blue titles pop up on the screen until the moment we hear "cut" at the end. With blacks richer and darker than Chili's stolen coat, MGM has done a superb job of translating this modern classic to DVD. The crystal clear sound comes across with more presence than B-Movie queen Karen Flores' screams.
Extras are exceptionally good in this "Special Edition". It's like having seconds of a terrific desert; while no one really needs it, it's great to have just the same. We get a number of notable extras as part of this rich meal. The second disc has three featurettes on different aspects of the film, the deleted "Graveyard Scene", outtakes, the "Get Shorty" party reel, a documentary from Bravo Channel on the making of the movie and a sneak peak at "Be Cool". "Get Shorty: Look at Me" opens the book on how Elmore Leonard came up with the plot for "Get Shorty" and developed the idea. DeVito, Travolta, Hackman, Russo, Sonnenfeld and other key cast and crew participate in this featurette on the production of the film. Full of clips from the movie to illustrate the points made throughout the featurette, it's a great summation of the greatness of this film. It's a 30 minute love fest reminding fans why they love this movie so much. The 20 minute "Get Shorty: Wise Guys and Dolls" focuses on the fun, complex characters of the movie. "The Graveyard Scene" featurette allows Sonnenfeld to comment on the single deleted scene of the movie included the hilarious, well, graveyard scene. Featuring a funny cameo with Ben Stiller, Sonnenfeld clearly regretted cutting the scene but Sonnenfeld couldn't find a place for sequence where it fit. The behind-the-scenes stuff and interviews last longer than the actual scene itself. "Going Again" features footage from outtakes and a discussion from Sonnenfeld about the technique of using long takes, pulling out the best bits and putting it together to make magic. The sneak peak for "Be Cool" promises that the sequel to "Get Shorty" promises to be as funny as the first film. Set in the music business, it may not be more than a promo piece for the film but it gives viewers enough of a taste to rope `em in.
Bravo's "Page to Screen" documentary featuring Peter Gallagher features plenty of interviews with critics, other writers and focuses as much on how Elmore Leonard comes up with the material in his books, writes them and, once again, takes us behind-the-scenes of the production of the movie. The real treat is hearing from the real Chili Palmer discussing the "reel" Chili Palmer and Leonard's character. The "Party Reel" mainly consists of bits and piece of cut footage and behind-the-scenes stuff nothing earth shattering or all that funny. In addition to the "Get Shorty" theatrical trailer and we get two promos one for "Fargo" and one for "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly". My only complaint is the MGM "promo" opener that they put on ALL of their DVDs. It's annoying and, unfortunately, there's no way to pass it by. It's a pretty minor issue but the fact that it's on all of their DVDs makes it a real pain.
A dry, witty commentary by Barry Sonnenfeld highlights this disc. The only drawback is the lack of participation of Travolta, Hackman, Russo and DeVito. I realize they have busy schedules but it would have been a real highlight and perfect addition to this DVD.
A hip, funny comedy that continues to deliver in spades, "Get Shorty" looks terrific, sounds great and has some terrific special features. This is an example of a re-release that's worth upgrading. Definitely worth owing on DVD and purchasing a second time if you love the movie. This IS the version to own.
You Just Got to Get "Get Shorty"!
Kenneth M. Gelwasser | Hollywood, Fl USA | 01/03/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Get Shorty " in my opinion is one of the most hilarious send ups of the Hollywood movie industry ever put to film.Director, Barry Sonnenfeld and writer, Elmore Leonard have put their talents together to create a satirical film, which 'takes no prisoners' in its look at the underhanded ways, that folks wheel and deal to get movies made.The film centers on a charismatic mobster (John Travolta), who while on a trip to L.A., decides to switch careers. He wants to make movies!This is not as far fetched as it seems. Apparently being a movie producer isn't that far of a jump from being a loan shark or racketeer! Along the way Chilly meets up with with a schlock movie producer, a scream queen, a L.A. hood and his henchman, another mobster from Miami and finally the 'Shorty' (a self-involved, superstar actor)of the film's title. All of them underestimate Chilly and think he is just a dumb hood, who can be conned out of some major, illegal money waiting in a locker at the L.A. airport. But Chilly seems to know all the right moves and plays everyone at their own game.Writer, Elmore Leonard wrote this fast paced, witty story after experiencing a real life, frustrating job of trying to write a script for vertically challenged actor, Dustin Hoffman... Revenge must be sweet, because it inspired a great piece of comic writing.The cast of actors in this movie is wonderful. Normally, I'm not the biggest John Travolta fan, but his take on mobster, Chilly Palmer is electrifying. Travolta plays the character with a swagger, confindence, and a smile that is sheer perfection! Gene Hackman is also hilarious as the sleaziest of sleazy Hollywood producers. This guy would sell out his own mother if it ment getting a piece of the gross!.Finally, Danny DeVito just makes this movie with his send up of every spoiled rotten, self-indulgent Hollywood actor that could ever come to mind. Kudos should also go for great, comic supporting roles from James Gandolfini and Dennis Farina.For an evening of some very funny Hollywood satire, I recommend you to get..."Get Shorty"!"
Get Shorty is a clever take on the classic gangster film
Dave Hawes (email@example.com) | BBurg, VA | 10/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Director Barry Sonnenfeld's Get Shorty, based on the book of the same name by Elmore Leonard, is a witty comedy that does all from poking fun at the modern Hollywood movie system to paying tribute to the classic gangster movie and its roots in film noir. Get Shorty follows the life of Chili Palmer, a gangster who lives in Miami Beach, Florida, who is sent on assignment to collect money from a dry cleaner's wife after he has died in a plane crash with money that belongs to Chili's bosses. After learning the dry cleaner is not actually dead, Chili follows his trail to Las Vegas where he learns that the dry cleaner is now in Los Angeles, and also agrees to help collect money from a movie producer that owes the casino money. These events move along at such a quick pace that they barely fill the first half hour of the movie. The remainder of the film is spent with Chili's interactions with Harry Zimm, the movie producer, and his attempts to work with Zimm on a movie and learn more about the movie business in general. Amusingly enough, the movie Chili proposes to Zimm is the same story he is trying to figure out, namely where the dry cleaner went with the money. This self-conscious attitude of the movie, in the same manner of Robert Altman's The Player, shows us an amusing satire of Hollywood. Through the course of the movie, parallels are drawn that depict the Hollywood work ethic as being similar to the type of mob work Chili is involved with. These amusing comparisons play themselves throughout the film, with classically stereotyped roles by an outstanding cast that range from the slimy director/producer to the Colombian druglord. In fact, it is the characters and the dialogue between these characters that make the movie outstanding. There is Chili Palmer (John Travolta), arguably one of the last true gangsters in the old tradition, whose speech and actions are undeniably cool and cutting. As a contrast to Chili, there is his boss, Ray Bones (Dennis Farina), who is a curt, abrasive character that is always looking for a way to one-up whoever he is dealing with. He is the type of person that wields more power than he actually possesses, creating several memorable scenes between his laughable character and Chili's perpetual coolness. Then there is the slimy director, Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman), a second rate director of B horror movies, whose interactions with Chili show us a less professional view of Hollywood. There is also the pompous, egocentric actor Martin Weir (Danny Devito), who makes us laugh at the lifestyle of the Hollywood star. All of the characters in Get Shorty show us an amusing side of Hollywood that is simultaneously paying homage to and poking fun at movies. Much of the film is shot in the style of film noir, stressing the gangster attitude that is conveyed throughout. But this convention is even stretched and toyed with in the movie. Chili's character is shot mostly in this style and his clothing is predominantly black, but this is parodied with Ray Bones, who wears light pink although he is himself a gangster. The sunny pastels of Florida and California contrast with this style as well, making us realize this isn't the typical gangster film. That being said, Get Shorty is a clever take on the classic gangster film with an outstanding cast and memorable witty dialogue."
A very fun movie!
Jason Colucci | Granada Hills, CA USA | 11/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the cleverest comedies out there. John Travolta plays a bookie (Chili Palmer) in Miami Beach, FL. He is one of these respected hard nose, no BS type of people that just demands respect wherever he goes. But for a change of pace and a change of heart, not to mention money that is owned to him, he flies out to California. He is searching for a man who took a very large some of money, but in the mean time is caught up in the Hollywood movie making industry. He meets up and makes friends with Gene Hackman, a B movie director always looking for the next big break. Rene Russo plays a B movie washed up actress who is helping Travolta get into the movie industry. Mean while, old friends and enemies follow Travolta to the sunshine state to find out what he is up to and possibly move in on the action. This movie also has Danny DeVito, Dennis Farina, cameo by Penny Marshall, Delroy Lindo, James Gandolfini, and more twists and turns that you can imagine. If you are looking for a really fun comedy with lots of stars then this is the movie to get!"