Get Shorty Reviews
When projected gradually he saw that he had no bad side but from the moment in which John Travolta punches him in the nose Dennis Farina to "borrow" his jacket I knew I picked the right one and that it was a comedy of black cinema and film within a film, with adult themes of whom did not understand much but anyway I liked despite being somewhat loose, as it moved the film had good scenes, good story, great music , good successfully performed and even good characters as the mobster Ray "Bones" Barboni (Dennis Farina) that made us laugh even a scumbag, the antihero debt collector and movie lover Chili Palmer (John Travolta), mediocre producer Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman) who tries to carry out a commercial project than from Serie B, actress Karen Flores (Rene Russo) arta of being typecast in roles of screaming damsel in distress, movie star Martin wear (Danny DeVito) a sort of Dustin Hoffman giving class to the film despite their short appearances, the bully botched Bo Catlett (Delroy Lindo), the stuntman Bear (James Gandolfini) sick of working for a garbage like Bo and the defaulter Leo Devoe (David Paymer) that caualmente pretended to have died in a plane crash to avoid paying a debt to "Bones", they are all great in one of the best comedies ever filmed and out of the room was satisfied with the choice.
None of this is a surprise, though, as the film is an adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel of the name same. Leonard, a Hollywood go-to for crime stories containing deep-seated caginess and wit, is a writer able to make even the lowest of a low life speak with a certain sort of fetching cool. He's a Raymond Chandler for the modern world. It has a lot in common with Quentin Tarantino's perpetually underrated "Jackie Brown" (also a Leonard modification), with its slick ways of complicated criminality, black humor, and appetizing character parts. And there's nothing better, to my tastes, anyway, than a movie where dialogue is everything; it's a rarity to really care about, and revel in, what characters have to say, to care more about the next confrontation, the next exchange, than a plot point bent to push everything forward.
But in addition to its verbal bedazzlements, "Get Shorty" is also flawlessly cast, Leonard's trademark swankiness translating so magnificently because its actors are adept when it comes to delivering lines of his prowess (the novel was adapted by screenwriter Scott Frank, who keeps much of the source's habitude intact). It stars a "Pulp Fiction" fresh John Travolta as Chili Palmer, an enviably confident loan shark whose sinful exploits (traveling everywhere from Miami to Brooklyn to Los Angeles to Las Vegas) eventually lead to Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman), a successful B-movie producer who owes a massive gambling debt. As Palmer's life mostly consists of threatening people in over their heads financially, he, at first, tries to pull the usual routine with Zimm; but Palmer is a big movie fan and a sucker for the glamour of Hollywood. Against the odds, he strikes up a friendship with the man he's supposed to be scaring money out of, going so far as pitching a movie idea to him.
The film then stays put in Los Angeles, where Palmer very much becomes a part of Zimm's life, and where his pitch might actually become a reality. We're soon introduced to Zimm's girlfriend (Rene Russo), a B-movie scream queen with enough self-possession to make her more than just a big boss man's hot thing, Bear (James Gandolfini), a low-key softy of a stuntman, and Martin Weir (Danny DeVito), a two-time Academy Award nominee who Zimm and company are trying to convince to star in their potential project. But, at the end of the day, Palmer is still a mobster, and transitioning his shady talents to moviemaking may not arrive as smoothly as he'd like.
Put everything together and "Get Shorty" is a smash of a blockbuster, unusually piquantly written and expertly performed. Released during a time where most comedy thrillers set out to be "Pulp Fiction," incessantly complicated but also idiosyncratically cool, it continues its tradition of intriguing characters and terrifically funny sequences but stays individualistic. It is sturdy, wonderfully animated mainstream filmmaking, the kind of film we hardly want to end because it is so much a sizzling roller coaster of an experience. Sonnenfeld is the perfect director this sort of material, dipping every scene in understated irony and visual attentiveness, and Travolta is phenomenally aplomb - this role was made for him. And I love the supporting performances, particularly from Russo (sexy but smart), Hackman (lovably slimy), Dennis Farina (hilariously unpredictable), and the uncredited Bette Midler (tunefully brassy).
Everything in "Get Shorty" is dextrous and competent - it's popcorn entertainment that knows what it's doing, felicitously intelligent but also shamelessly amusing. It's a black comedy of the highest standard, and is certainly among the best (and there are many) Elmore Leonard adaptations. Seeing (and hearing) is believing, and you might even be inclined to view it alongside other Leonard conversions ("Jackie Brown," "Out of Sight") if you find yourself seduced by his way of devising parallel universes able to make crime a topic of appeal.