Get Shorty (1995) Poster


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Like an ol' familiar song, done with some twists. Nice casting
Quinoa19845 July 2004
Barry Sonnenfeld was and maybe wasn't the right choice to make Get Shorty. He's a great visualist, and his films (Adams Family, Men in Black) are also very funny, but it's hard to say whether or not another director might've taken Elmore Leonard's sly comic novel more seriously or with less depth. As it is, however, Get Shorty is a cool little treat that doesn't over-stay its welcome, and provides its cast a plethora of witty dialog. John Travolta brings on some sharp attitude, knowing the angles and wanting, as his character Chili Palmer, to get into Hollywood and out of loan sharking. Gene Hackman's funny as a fledgling producer with his first, true big hit in his lap. And supporting parts from Delroy Lindo, Renne Russo, Danny De Vito (as 'Hollywood' as you'll ever see him), and James Gandolfini, are all very worthy. It's a worthwhile watch, with a dead-on score from John Lurie. But I would reccomend Out of Sight or Jackie Brown to Leonard fans looking for a great adaptation. It's a very good Hollywood picture (reflective of what it's about), though it's not a masterpiece. A-
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"Get Shorty" stands honorably tall.
lee_eisenberg3 July 2005
John Travolta followed up his "Pulp Fiction" comeback with "Get Shorty", in which he plays Miami hit-man Chili Palmer. Moving to Hollywood to collect a debt, he finds that show biz isn't much different from the mafia, and he decides to get involved. But of course, once there's anything mafia-related involved, things start to get ugly. Not that they weren't already seedy.

This movie has its strengths mainly in the script, but also in the strong performances from Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo and Danny DeVito. I guess that any time that someone gets a chance to show Hollywood's unseemly side, they take it. Of course, there's plenty of reasons to do so. The sequel, "Be Cool", wasn't quite as good, but still worth seeing.
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Smart, funny, devastating satire of the Hollywood scene
Phoenix-3626 January 1999
This film is based on the Elmore Leonard book of the same name. This is a hilarious satire of Hollywood. Chili Palmer (John Travolta) is a loan shark from Miami tracking down a deadbeat who has run off. Palmer's travels take him to Hollywood, where he meets Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman). Zimm is a producer of major motion pictures (read B horror flicks). His lover is Karen (Rene Russo). His meetings give Palmer the "movie bug."

Already a huge movie fan, Palmer decides to produce "Mr. Lovejoy" a script that Zimm proclaims will be hs "Driving Miss Daisy." The plot centers around efforts to raise the necessary money and land Martin Weir (Danny DeVito) in the lead role. Fortunately Weir is Karen's es-husband. And Palmer has access to $300,000 generated from Las Vegas winnings of the missing deadbeat, Leo. As a further complication there is a drug dealer (Delroy Lindo) who has invested in one of Zimm's pictures. But he has gotten in trouble with his supplier for $500,000 and a missing nephew.

DeVito does a wonderful job playing the self-involved, pretentious Weir. There are wonderful comments about screen writers. Spelling is optional, not necessary. The role of a screenwriter is just to put the commas in where they belong. Travolta is delightful as a "nice guy" wiseguy. In fact, the entire cast is just great.

The plot lines never overwhelm the film, and they fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. (Note: Thanks to Pulp Fiction, studios are willing now to use non-linear plot lines on occasion.). The ending is terrific (watch for the cameo by Harvey Keitel). I saw this in the theatre and have seen it several times on video. This one is definitely a keeper.
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Mafiosi love movies too!
jotix10024 March 2004
Elmore Leonard's books must be loved by film screen adapters. His characters translate very well from the written page to the moving picture. "Get Shorty" is one of Mr. Leonard's best stories and it gets a very good treatment in the hands of Barry Sonnenfeld, its director, with the help of Scott Frank, who adapted it for the screen.

The casting of the movie was it's greatest asset. John Travolta is so cool as Chilli, the mafioso who loves movies! In his scenes with Gene Hackman, he demonstrates what a good actor he is. On the surface, he appears to do nothing; he works with an economy that is very hard to imitate. Granted, after Mr. Travolta's amazing appearance in Pulp Fiction, this was a confirmation and validation of his talent.

It was surprising, since I didn't remember his appearance on the movie, to watch actor James Gandolfini, prior to his recent fame. He plays a stuntman turned wise guy. Mr. Gandolfini must have gone through a great dental cosmetic transformation, unless he was made up to look very ugly, as Bear, in the film. I have greatly admired his work before his TV series, as a fine character actor, which he demonstrates here the potential he had and was not discovered until much later.

Delroy Lindo is also excellent as one of the bad guys in the film. This actor, who is as great in films as in the theater, deserves much better. He is a man that always gives an honest performance. Not being a Danny DeVito fan, I must confess that he was very restrained here. He can do very good work with the right director behind him, as he shows playing the egotistical actor, Martin Weir.

Also excellent, Dennis Farina. It's unfortunate he doesn't get better choices because he is always very effective in whatever he plays. In this film, he is hysterical as Ray "Bones" Barboni. Rene Russo, as the bit player with a heart of gold, is good.

What can be said of Gene Hackman that hasn't already been said? His Harry Zimm is so accurate that we believe he is this sleazy Hollywood producer. Mr. Hackman is a consummate performer who keeps getting better all the time.

If I had enjoyed the film the first time, looking at it a second time was a revelation.
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often hilarious
Special-K8823 April 2002
Smart, funny mobster comedy/satire based on the novel by Elmore Leonard. Travolta is well-cast in one of his very best roles as a slick Miami loan shark/enforcer who travels to Los Angeles to cash in a loan, but instead ends up teaming with B-movie writer/producer Hackman to fulfill his dream of being connected to the movie business. Before he can however, he must deal with bumbling mobsters, white-collar criminals, and the anxiety of trying to find the right leading man. Crackling, hilarious dialogue, well-drawn characters, and clever insight into the movie business run rampant in this snappy little comedy. Maybe not for all tastes, but well-made and a definite must for Travolta fans. ***
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Funny, with a terrific Travolta
rbverhoef24 February 2004
I am not sure whether I liked the movie or just John Travolta and his character Chili Palmer. I had a lot of fun watching 'Get Shorty', based on the novel by Elmore Leonard, so it doesn't really matter. The movie is about a mobster from Miami, Chili Palmer, who ends up in Los Angeles. After meeting a movie producer named Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman) he gets interested in the movie business. This is the main story, but this movie is based on an Elmore Leonard story so there are a lot of sub-plots with lots of interesting characters, all with great dialogue.

Besides Chili Palmer and Harry Zimm we meet Karen Flores (Rene Russo), an actress known for her screaming, Martin Weir (Danny DeVito) who is the hot actor of the moment, Ray Bones (Dennis Farina) who wants to collect some money that Chili has, Bo Catlett (Delroy Lindo) who wants money fro Harry Zimm, Bear (James Gandolfini) who was a stuntman but now is Bo's bodyguard, Leo Devoe (David Paymer) who stole the money that brought Chili to Los Angeles and Doris (Bette Midler). All characters are colorful, have great dialogue and an interesting part in the story, but all those great things are there together with Chili. For every nice moment Travolta is present.

The actors play their characters very well. Again, Travolta is great and owns the movie, but especially Farina and Hackman do a great job as well. The movie is well directed by Barry Sonnenfeld (from 'The Addams Family'), knowing how to avoid boring moments. The story with its dialogue would be enough to make a nice movie out of it. Fortunately we have the actors and direction to make it even better and definitely more entertaining.
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Outstanding - from start to finish
caa8211 January 2007
Anything involving something by Elmore Leonard is generally very good, in and of itself. But when coupled with performances like those of John Travolta and Gene Hackman in this picture, the result is a superb piece of entertainment.

Danny De Vito, Dennis Farina and Rene Russo all deliver outstanding performances - but all pretty much convey the types of personas, on-screen, which you'd expect from seeing their other work.

However, of all actors today - young or older, new or veteran -- there are no two who are more convincing, in everything they do, than Travolta and Hackman. Serious or funny, crafty or clueless, hero or villain - - each has been completely convincing in every role, and seeing them together, one would like to see them teamed again.

In this movie, both are funny, and both have their roles "nailed:" Travolta as the confident tough guy, completely in control; and Hackman as the "B" flick producer, operating on the fringe of the Hollywood scene and life in general.

As much as I liked this movie, I first saw it in a St. Louis hotel suite, where we selected it from the PPV menu. I was "fried" from a day-long business meeting, and fell asleep early into it. The next day, my wife insisted that I catch it (she's one of those people who has perhaps only wanted to watch one or two other movies a second time, ever), and I was glad she did.

It's an outstanding film, and one which entertains thoroughly from the outset to conclusion, with not a single lapse between.
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A Touch
tedg29 May 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

I do not expect Hollywood to ever bowl me over; I depend on other film communities for that. The Hollywood machine is so preoccupied with avoiding risk via lowbrow entertainment that we usually end up without intelligence or cleverness in our lives with them. But there are a few figures connected to that machine that I can rely on. DePalma for an intelligent eye; Ridley Scott for managing time; Soderbergh for framing and so on. But the influence of these folks rarely extends to the project as a whole.

That's not the case with Danny DeVito. Forget his acting; as a director or producer you can always count on his intellect and sometimes we also get a coherent film out of the deal. In other words, we get something that conforms to the Hollywood principles (fun, exploits actors in the best way, solid production values) and at the same time has enough intellectual depth to allow some sun to shine in through cosmic windows.

This film is one of those. It is not on my `must see' list, but it is one of the best Hollywood productions of the last decade.

The setup is like `The Player,' a film about the writing of itself, about how life copies film and vice versa. Along the way, it subverts gangster pictures in a slightly different way than `Pulp Fiction' of the previous year - also produced (and significantly influenced) by DeVito. I really appreciate `folding' like this, and make a study of them. I already have a database of nearly a thousand examples of folding. It is a fascinating phenomenon, but rarely is it sheer fun.

This one is folded and fun.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 4: Worth watching.
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Elmore Leonard's Favorite adaptation
buzznzipp199512 September 2006
After hearing, I can see instantly why this is the author, Elmore Leonard's favorite movie adaptation from his writing. First of all John Travolta was a solid-standard, as Chili. If you're a Travolta fan, this is an instant classic performance for him!! He personifies East coast attitude and 'M.O'. His breeze onto the scene and in control persona are a part of this movie that would have collapsed it, had it not been an ingredient in this mix of action, sarcasm and loan-sharking gone amok. Chili is superior.

Gene Hackman, is an attempted to be cool, b-movie director, who hasn't had a hit in years, and you can feel it. Gene's man Harry is so played-right it's embarrassing. I know people that are like that. I was laughing till it hurt, from the familiar pain, of the ones who reminded me of the great Harry Zimm. Hackman is astounding.

Before there was the Sopranos there was {James Gandolfini as} 'Bear' Bo's handy-man, his fix-it guy all around. Bear reminds me (sort of) one of my cousins. Ha, take that home with ya in a doggy bag!

Danny Devito, is a great self-conscious (and to others feelings) selfish and unconscious, totally absorbed actor, who is about the way it is with many of the actor types, who let it go too far. Danny is the man!

Rene Russo is the lovely, Karen Flores of course and she is as pretty in pictures as in 'Real' life. I got to meet her in 1992, and got a really great hug from her, she's very thoughtful and talented, with much more talent to follow after this great film.

The way the story was set up and progressed with, makes me love this and puts it in a special place in my entertainment library.

This is a fun 'You gotta see it and experience the mood and all the other emotions that follow' type of movie madness that makes watching some movies, very worthwhile. This is a high rater!!! (*****) Caution: Language rating pretty bad!!
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An engaging caper movie that also satirizes the Hollywood scene…
RJBurke194225 May 2007
I saw this movie in 1995 when first released, but never got around to thinking about a review until I saw it again a few weeks back on late night TV. I'd forgotten just how good it is...

From a novel by Elmore Leonard, this story is arguably the best satire about the Hollywood dream factory yet done, for two reasons: it savagely exposes and lampoons the behaviors of actors, writers, producers and directors and it implicitly compares that business with the business of small time hoodlums and loan sharks. So many times during this story does Chili Palmer (John Travolta) announce, in a bemused fashion: "I can't believe how youse guys do business out here..." Chili, as we learn very early, is a loan shark from Miami who is ordered by Bones (Dennis Farina), his new boss, to recover a $15,000 debt from Leo (David Paymer), a loser with a garrulous wife, Fay (Linda Hart) who's helped Leo fake his own death on a plane crash and collect $300,000 as a settlement from the airline. Fay, of course, can't keep her mouth shut and tells Chili that Leo scammed the money and was now living it up in Vegas. Chili, in Vegas, finds out that Leo has gone to LA. But Chili also makes a score: a Vegas casino owner asks him to lean on an LA movie producer, Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman) for $150,000 still owing.

So, off to La-La Land goes Chili, and that's where the fun really starts...

The plot then changes direction, almost completely: Chili, after recovering most of the $300,000 from Leo (and letting him off lightly), gets involved with Harry in two ways – first, convinces him to take on Chili's own idea for a movie production and second, fend off two "investors" (who just happened to be drug pushers also) who want their money back from Harry who – you guessed it – is late in getting some other movie off the ground, and has spent all their money.

However, those two pushy investors, Bo Catlett and Ronnie Wingate (Delroy Lindo and John Gries), have another problem: the $500,000 drug money that they can't retrieve from a locker box at LAX and which Chili sees as an opportunity to make more profit. That idea, however, is blown away when Bones – who would like nothing better than to see Chili dead -- arrives from Miami looking to muscle in on Chili's business in LA.

How all that threads together into a gloriously comedic and ironic slice of Hollywood life and death is a testament to Leonard's brilliant story, a great screenplay and cinematography and tight editing – not to mention the almost flawless acting by actors who are continually taking the mickey out of the whole business, right up to the final scene.

There's no doubt that this is Travolta's comeback movie. The guy just oozes dangerous cool and --- ooops – chilling competence as he maneuvers between the high and low life of a strange town, with some very strange people and even stranger business practices. But, kudos also go to Dennis Farina, Gene Hackman and Danny DeVito as the klutzes they portray; and Renee Russo is suitably decorous as Chili's love interest. Watch out for cameos from Bette Midler, Harvey Keitel and other Hollywood luminaries.

And, here's the supreme self-referential irony: there really is a real Chili Palmer in the movie; he's one of the actors who has a bit part as one of Bones' buddies! What a gag...

Finally, note the title: Get Shorty. That's Elmore Leonard's delicious swipe at the whole gangster genre. Remember Get Carter (1971)...? Ho-ho-HO-ho-ho!

Highly recommended.
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One of my favorite comedies
imdb-216229 August 2010
I realize some will disagree with 10/10.

Given that this is one of my very favorite comedies, I had to do it.

The best parts of this movie are the dialog and the mood.

A lot of the dialog is lifted from the novel if memory serves. It's intelligent and funny. Almost no dialog falls flat.

The mood, as I would call it is amazing. The jazz score sets a nice tone as does the overall style and the pace. It's cool, to use an overused term.

Chili Palmer amazingly played by Travolta reminds me a bit of Bugs Bunny. Totally in control at all times, with everyone else looking a bit silly. Like Bugs Bunny, it's the total fantasy of being totally in control. Probably one of the more appealing aspects.

The cast is full of stars who are given great lines to deliver as well.

The characters are all fun.

In short, I can't think of too many movies that are this enjoyable over the whole movie.

I own the book, and have read part of it (it's signed by the author.) The movie is so good, that the book never quite holds my attention long enough to read it. I think if I had read the book first, maybe I would feel differently.

Someone suggested watching Jackie Brown rather than this movie. They are both great, and totally different. I suggest seeing BOTH.
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One of the best Elmore Leonard adaptations; vintage Travolta and game cast = fun & funny
george.schmidt31 March 2003
GET SHORTY (1995) ***1/2 John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, Danny De Vito, Delroy Lindo, Dennis Farina, James Gandolfini, David Paymer, Martin Ferrero, Bette Midler, Linda Hart, Bobby Slayton, Harvey Keitel (cameo), Penny Marshall (cameo). Funny and entertaining adaptation of Elmore Leonard's crime novel about Chili Palmer (Travolta, perfectly charming) a loan shark from Miami who heads out to LA after a pay cheat and winds up in Hollywood teaming up with horror schlock producer Hackman and B-film screamer Russo pitching a story and avoiding some not-so-pleasant criminal types along the way. Great satire and excellently keen in keeping Leonard's dialogue intact with some dead-on spoofing of Tinsel Town in particular De Vito as a Method actor run amok. Look for director Barry Sonnenfeld as a parking valet and also the real Chili Palmer as one of Farina's dinner companions at the film's pre-credit sequence prior to Travolta punching out Farina.
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reality disguised as fiction disguised as reality...
A_Different_Drummer30 October 2013
One of the great mysteries of all time, right up there with Area 51 and the Da Vinci Code, is why the film industry, now into its second century and -- as you read this -- consuming on a relative basis more bandwidth than any other form of media, cannot produce consistently decent product? Now don't misunderstand. This is not to say that most movies are inherently bad, for that is not true either. However one of the dirty little secrets of the industry is that the "breakout" ratio is around 20:1. That is, for every 19 forgettable products that are churned out -- products that keep the cable and streaming media pipelines full, and keep food on the table for all the electricians, caterers, and Best Boys -- about one actually is memorable enough to attract a permanent audience or become near-iconic. Not a very efficient ratio! The late Marshall McLuhan tried in his lifetime to develop the notion of "media ecology," essentially the premise that the cultural output of a society was no less important than any other industry output, and therefore an effort should be made NOT TO WASTE THE RESOURCES or (simply put) produce junk. Like the infamous joke about about the "Nietzsche graffiti" (first line: "God is dead - Nietzsche." Second line: "Nietzsche is dead. God") that attempt did not turn out so well. McLuhan is gone, and the ratio has arguably gotten worse, because there are now many more pipelines to fill. Which brings us, belatedly, to GET SHORTY, not only a great film (one of Travolta's best performances, so effortless you wonder if he phoned it in, and Pixar just added a body) but one of Hollywood's most "inside" scripts ever. (Comedians have "inside jokes." Hollywood has "inside scripts.") The premise here is that the making of a movie has little to do with the movie, and everything to do with egos and business capabilities of the people making it. The idea that a professional mobster could stumble into Hollywood and suddenly realize that making a film is no different than planning a hit, or a robbery, is sheer brilliance. And very close to home. In the history of the medium, it is one of the only movies to deal with the delicate (and unpopular) issue of ... why so many bad films have to be made, simply to produce one good one...?
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Sirus_the_Virus5 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Get shorty is a hilarious film with a lot of brains. It's one of the funniest films ever. It has so many good performances, including John Travolta as Chili Palmer and Denis Farnia as Ray Barboni. A.K.A. Ray Bones. Chili Palmer is a more likable bad ass type character while Ray Bones has a lot of bad luck and is a foul mouth. Saying f*ck the entire film. Farnia does many things to Chil and the two are big enemies. For instance, there is a scene where Chili is in a restaurant and Ray Bones takes his jacket. so Chili goes to his apartment and breaks his nose. And still gets the jacket back. Chili Palmer is in the movie business. I am not going to get to much into the plot. I have liked every one of Barry Sonnefeld's films. Yes, I even liked Men in Black II, sue me I don't care. But films like Get Shorty and Big Trouble were my favorite of his films. Both films were very funny and clever. The first Get shorty film, is genius. The second one, not really that smart. Chili Palmer is a cool cat who should stay in the movie business. Every performance in the film is fantastic. But I really thought that Denis Farnia and John Travolta did the best. It's a fact, they were the best. Don't deny it.

Get Shorty: ****/****
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A satirical look at the movie making business - absolute gold
david-sarkies16 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Now what does one make of this rather strange movie. What is the plot and if there is a plot, what is it? Get Shorty is not a mindless action flick, that is not what I am referring to when I am asking about a plot. Most action flicks generally have a plot, even though they are probably extremely shallow. Get Shorty, on the other hand, has a rather strange plot with some even stranger events.

Chilli (John Travolta) is a loan shark who has been upset by another mafia boss in Miami named Ray Babone (Hal Linden). Chilli breaks Babone's nose and then shoots him just to let him know that he is not in the mood to be pushed around. Unfortunately Chilli's boss, Momo, dies in Brooklyn when he walks into a surprise party and has a heart attack. Babone then convinces him to go to Los Angeles to chase a laundry operator who owes him $300,000 after he allegedly died in a airplane crash. When Chilli gets to Los Angeles he is also asked by somebody in Las Vegas to get some money from a movie producer (Gene Hackman). When he breaks into the producer's house, he is struck with the movie making bug and decides that the current events would make a good movie. Thus he begins to try to drum up interest, mostly from a famous actor named Martin Wier (Danny DeVito) and gets involved with Wier's ex-wife who is an actress (Rene Ruso). Meanwhile another loan shark is after the producer for money that was lost at a casino.

Pretty twisting little plot I thought and there were some quite funny scenes in the movie. It is the twisting plot that makes this movie shine. The major thing with the movie is a satirical look at Hollywood and the loansharking business. All of the films mentioned have really corny names suggesting the meaninglessness of the movies that are made. It is also shown as a bug that influences everybody that comes into the scene. Chilli and the LA loanshark are both caught by the producing bug and want to get into the film industry. Martin Wier is a typical actor and his personality is also satirised. He is shown Chilli's rent-a-car and decides that he likes it so much that he buys one himself. When they are having lunch, he orders everything for everybody and eats none of it suggesting that the actor always wants to be in control of the movie, even though it is the producer and the director that run the show. Then there is the ending where Ray Babone goes to the locker at LA airport and is caught by the DEA agents. This is twisted around in the film being made replacing the agents with Chilli, somebody much shorter, and a bad imitation of Babone. This goes to show the delusion that Hollywood creates. In a true story, the people become vague caricatures of the people that they are based upon, and are twisted to allow the famous actors to take the spot. Martin Wier is nothing like Chilli yet Chilli knows that to capture an audience, one must turn to a famous face.

Then there is the film studio ending, the removal of the veil that shrouds Hollywood. It is revealed that all it is is a movie and any bad ending is meaningless because the antagonist is only an actor who walks away afterwards. No matter how evil this bad guy is and no matter how much he is hated, what happens in the movie is only an illusion. The bad guy is only an actor and his apparent death is just some ploy shot in front of the camera. In the end, they will all pack up and go home.

Thus Get Shorty is a very intelligent and satirical movie. The bad guys are not threatening, but rather a caricature of the typical Hollywood villain. The movie is focused entirely on Chilli who is fearless and able to bend even the most intimidating person to his will. The most outstanding part of this movie is Gene Hackman's role. When I do not recognise the actor then that actor is doing a very good job. This was the case with Ed Harris in The Truman Show, and it is the case in this movie. Hackman has a famous face, yet it was a face that I did not recognise in this film.
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When mobsters come to Hollywood.
Boba_Fett113811 March 2007
I absolutely loved this movie when it first came out. It has an amazing cast, a pleasant light way of storytelling and a cleverly written story, featuring some great stereotypical gangster-type of characters.

So, ever wondered what would happen if gangster interfered with producing Hollywood movies? See "Get Shorty" if your curious about the result. It's an unusual original story about tough gangster put in an unnatural environment, who thinks that are making movies is the same as any other criminal activity.

The movie is cleverly written with many different characters, that all follow one and the same plot line. All characters have different motivations but they are all cleverly connected to each other. The many characters often mix and meet each other in the events, which also causes all of their motivations to mix. The movie is really cleverly written and executed. It perhaps sounds like a complicated and hard movie to follow but it really is a light, great written and pleasant one to watch.

The movie also works because of the many fine characters and of course the actors that portray them. Basically every character in the movie is deliciously stereotypical, from the Hollywood-producer to the stunt guy and from the successful acclaimed Hollywood actor to the mobster boss. The movie is well cast with actors that are obviously not cast because of their comical talents but purely because of their acting skills. The cast is one to kill for. John Travolta of course knows how to play a cool and likable gangster. Gene Hackman also plays one of his most fun roles as low-budget Hollywood producer, who thinks that he is going to make it big time. Danny DeVito is great as an Hollywood-actor and Dennis Farina, Delroy Lindo, Miguel Sandoval provide the good gangster parts of the movie. David Paymer also does what he can do best; playing a guy with a hat. The movie is filled with many more well known actors in small roles, such as Bette Midler and James Gandolfini and even small cameo appearances such as Harvey Keitel makes.

Also mainly due to the movie its professional cast, this is not an hilarious type of movie but more the sort of movie that has a constant pleasant and light atmosphere that will surely put a smile on your face. The comedy is more of the subtle kind, that everybody should be able to appreciate. Nothing in the movie ever feels forced, no matter how crazy and mixed up the movie and its situations ever get.

As far as the '90's go; this movie is about as cool as they could get. This movie was the definition of cool in the '90's, at the time of its release. Of course times have changed now but the movie still has an overall cool atmosphere and pleasant way of storytelling. It's a light fun movie to watch and re-watch over and over again.

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No great depth or real big laughs to it but it is slickly entertaining and cool
bob the moo19 April 2005
When his boss has a heart attack, mob hard man Chili Palmer finds himself working indirectly for Ray Barboni. Barboni's instance on picking through his books and finds the case of a dry-cleaner who owes money but is dead. With pressure to cover the debt himself, Chili sets out to find the man who he knows isn't really dead – his search takes him to LA where he follows up another debt in the form of Harry Zimm. Zimm is a producer of trashy movies and Chili sees him as his way into the movie business and out of loan sharking – businesses that he realises are actually not that different.

With the release (and drubbing) of the sequel, I decided to take the chance to watch the original film again and review it because I hadn't seen it since it first came out a decade ago. The story is potentially quite messy as it has quite a few threads with different characters coming and going quite quickly and it is to its credit that it manages to hold it all together and bring it off satisfyingly well. It doesn't have a great deal of depth of course but it only aims to be slick and it manages to do this pretty well considering. The script has plenty of injokes to match the slick dialogue and narrative and the story does move along in a manner that is enjoyable on several levels. I think claims that it is "hilarious" is maybe taking it a bit too far because it isn't really laugh out loud funny more than once or twice but it is entertaining in a stylish and slick way that makes it quite fun to watch.

The cast really help and the majority of them give enjoyable performances even if the aforementioned depth isn't there for them to do a great deal with. Travolta enjoys a funnier version of the role that gave him his mid-nineties comeback with Pulp Fiction and he handles himself well – as slick as he is sleek and with a really cool presence that is important since the character is nothing more than cool presence. De Vito does really well sending up movie stars (specifically, if we are to believe all we read, Dustin Hoffman) but Russo seems to be an addition with nothing specific to do despite her still being enjoyable. Farina can do mobsters in his sleep so at least here he gets to enjoy himself at the same time; Lindo is a good match for Travolta and is a good bit of casting with good support from Gandolfini. In joke cameos are "take it or leave it" so they are not critical to the film but Keitel, Baldwin and Marshall stand out as being in there.

Overall this is not a film that is hilarious or one that has great character development. Rather what it is is a slick story told with style and swagger – much like Chili himself. The plot threads are helped by not ever having a lot of detail behind them to be picked up but they are still potentially messy and the film does well to bring them all together in a pleasing and knowing fashion. The starry cast is good value and all in all the film is entertaining; which was all I really wanted from it in the first place.
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Great characters, simply a good comedy with a waterproof plot
dragonshield19 May 2007
"Get Shorty" is a celebration of that usual Barry Sonnenfeld style of film making. Great characters, done by a great cast including John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, Danny DeVito, Dennis Farina, Delroy Lindo and.. Well the list just goes on and on. A perfect mix-up of that so called "character-comedy", a movie progressing and dependant on the characters, making it hilarious comedy chaos.

The best thing about this film is obviously the whole cast, John Travolta as the smooth bad ass Chili Palmer, Gene Hackman as the hectic Harry Zimm. A bit unusual role from Hackman, which also makes the character so hilariously surreal. Rene Russo as "the girl" Karen Flores, Danny DeVito as the movie star Martin Weir with a huge ego, Dennis Farina as the loud mouth usual himself Ray 'Bones' Barboni. Delroy Lindo as the tough Bo Catlett and James Gandolfini as Bo's bodyguard, failed stuntman Bear. Everyone just simply click together, which makes the movie even better than it actually is. It's just all about the characters. Chili Palmer must be one of the coolest characters ever seen on the big screen.

Like mentioned before, Barry Sonnenfeld is the director of the movie and I honestly can't imagine anyone else directing a movie with a screenplay like this except Steven Soderbergh, the director of for example both "Ocean's Eleven" and "Ocean's Twelve". I think that Sonnenfeld's and Soderbergh's styles connect together, they are very similar. And if they'd do a British version of the movie, the director would be Guy Ritchie without a doubt. If you recognised both Soderbergh and Ritchie, then you know the style I'm talking about and if you like both of their movies you should see "Get Shorty". The other thing similar between these three directors besides the directing is the music used in their films. It's that usual horns and trumpets, giving that funky and exciting feeling for the film. It just fits for movies like these, creating that what is needed for the style. It also connects with the cinematography as well; Sudden movements of the angles, sudden stops, shots really close of the faces in these specific angles and when you add the music to that it's voilá.

"Get Shorty" is all in all a great comedy with a plot that doesn't go over the silliness level. Sometimes movies like these go over that level, which usually make them funnier but also makes the whole story so unbelievable that it just isn't enjoyable as a movie anymore. Well the movie itself isn't THAT serious, it's a comedy after all, but it's definitely some quality entertainment. It includes a nice storyline, great characters and directing that just doesn't let you down. I recommend this movie to everyone once again. It's not amazing or phenomenal, it's a nice piece of entertainment, keeping you glued to your sofa throughout. What more can you ask for a boring Friday evening?
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Perfect movie
tomrito13 March 2002
Got a chance to see this movie again last night and it was just as good as I remembered it. For me this is John Travolta's best movie by far. He is perfect.

I grew up in Brooklyn and have had many experiences with people who were "in the mob". Many people have played very good tough guys in the movies, but Travolta's performance was the best I have ever seen. Gene Hackman was great. Without him this would have been a good movie, but he made it a great movie. Harry Zimm is one of the all time great movie characters and he fit like a glove with Travolta.

Rene Russo and Danny DeVito also gave great performances but Dennis Farina, Delroy Lindo, and James Gandolfini gave the best performances of their lives. Watching these people having fun with this gem of a movie was one of the best movie experiences I ever had. Like the film "Player" this movie has fun with the Hollywood condition, but the actors in "Get Shorty" make it something really special. If you ever wanted to be in film or if you like great acting, look at me, see "Get Shorty".
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Worth your time
ChrisO198118 January 2002
Please ignore all the negative comments from other people, this was a very entaining movie. The plot has your mind wondering who is back stabbing who, and the characters will keep you laughing. Dennis Farina gives a short, but very funny performance as collector, John Travolta does one of his best performances, and Gene Hackmen was probably the best of everyone. I read this book first, and it is once of my favorite books. Usually I see a movie after I read the book and I hate it, but this is a rare exception. This was a GREAT movie.
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Where's my money? Where's my @#$*ing money?
MIK7x33 August 2000
Based on the best selling novel by Elmore Leonard, "Get Shorty" is a movie about Hollywood society, about the underworld, but most of all, it is a movie about movies. It parodies several facets of the motion picture industry from the B-horror movies produced by Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman), to the Hollywood star who is dwarfed by the size of his ego, in this case Martin Weir (Danny DeVito), to the underlying mob connections to the industry. Every character contributes to the plot in a significant way, including Zimm, Chili Palmer (John Travolta), and Karen Flores (Rene Russo). Which brings us to Ray Barboni (Dennis Farina). The jive talking, wise cracking, smooth operating tough guy from Miami is a ruthless gangster who is out to get Chili, but you can't help but like his character. Some of his lines are among the best in the movie - after punching a woman in the face, he says "I want us to be friends, and both you and I know that friends...don't hit each other" - and the scene of him sitting on the toilet when the phone rings is, in my opinion, easily the most powerful in "Get Shorty." Also keep an eye on the subplots involving Yayo, Momo, Bear, and Bull, not to mention the cameo appearances by Harvey Keitel, Bette Midler, and Miguel Sandoval. It may take a couple times of watching the movie to figure out exactly what is going on, but that also means more opportunities to watch Ray Barboni torment his chauffeur about "the smog being the reason for the beautiful sunsets."
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Wise Guys Go To Hollywood...
mtac8778242 June 2003
Get Shorty is a movie to sit back and enjoy for the ensemble of casting in it. Take one shylock from Miami (John Travolta), add one B grade movie producer Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman), mix with a less-than-sharp wiseguy (Dennis Farina) and move the gang to Los Angeles. Once there meet Karen Flores (Rene Russo) and the star of the moment Martin Weir (Danny DeVito) and mix well. This movie is entertaining and the hysterical humor in it works. Hackman is hilarious without trying as Harry Zimm, a B grade producer Chili Palmer pays a visit to and decides to stay. Chili Palmer (Travolta) is a wise guy who finds his real calling is in producing movies. "Look at me" is Chili's attention getting tag line that soon everyone who meets Chili starts using to sound as dangerous as Chili acts. Dennis Farina plays Ray Barbone, another wise guy who, by default, becomes Chili's boss and is after money owed to him. Farina who used to be a real life cop, is both comical and in his element in this movie. Delroy Lindo is cast as a wannabe producer and hitman with great style and aplumb not to mention a dazzling, colorful wardrobe. James Gandolfini is very convincing as Lindo's sidekick "Bear" with a southern accent, who happens to be a stunt guy too. As all these ingredients come together, a great and worthy movie comes together as all key characters plot and plan to help Zimm (a great comic turn for Gene Hackman who never let's his audience down) get a large movie produced and made. Danny De Vito, as always, is a fine actor who, despite his small stature, can fill a big screen as the big star of the moment in Hollywood in "Get Shorty." This movie is Goodfellas meets LA Confidential. The casting is superb, the supporting cast is a must have ensemble and this movie takes off superbly from the opening scene in Miami and continues with a blast to Los Angeles where Chili decides he wants to be a movie producer and what Chili wants, Chili gets. Travolta's "Saturday Night Fever" swagger is alive and well in this comical wiseguy Hollywood movie. His maturity adds depth that was lacking in my opinion during his "Fever" days. Travolta is a superb actor, second to none and "Get Shorty" is a clever, well-acted movie worth keeping for a second look because it is such a pleasure to watch the first time.

If you're up for some great acting by Hollywood's finest, and want some hysterical laughs, "Get Shorty" is for you. Hey, look at me! I give this movie a 9 out of 10 for it's humor, it's plot, it's casting and it's ability to flat out entertain you. If you need to dissect a movie to see what makes it tick, I suggest "Das Boot" but if you want a great movie with lots of laughs, this one is for you.

I also recommend "Pulp Fiction" and yet another Travolta vehicle "Primary Colors." Travolta has grown into his acting and is natural on the big screen as both a great character actor and a movie star, able to combine humor with incredibly convincing roles. "Broken Arrow" and "Face/Off" are two more examples of the phenomenal Travolta who is one of few that crossed over from teen sensation to major movie star with staying power.

"Get Shorty" is a must see movie with plenty of action and non-stop laughs.
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An inside joke
vacousin16 February 2000
Not a bad film, but very disappointing. It plays too much like a Hollywood inside joke that not enough of the audience is in on. Travolta is his usual charming personna, but Rene Russo is badly miscast. Gene Hack seems to be having the most fun by doing a great take on schlock director Ted V Mikels, down to Ted's trademark horn necklace. I did enjoy the poster of Danny DeVito as Napoleon.
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Very light, very enjoyable
Boyo-214 September 1999
There are a thousand funny moments in this movie and everyone gives a great performance, especially Rene Russo, who is at her best. The best scene is when Travolta goes to the movies to see "A Touch of Evil" and knows the text by heart. A genuinely good movie, which anyone would enjoy watching, at least once.
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One of John Travolta's funniest
jezzyt_1414 December 2004
The film "Get Shorty" relates to the novel in everyway, it is interesting, takes quite a bit of thinking to understand and is in some ways hilarious. Chili Palmer, the infamous Miami beach mobster who gets himself involved with the movie business, that is something you don't see very often in a gangster film.

John Travolta's previous movies like the "Look who's Talking" series were very funny but "Get Shorty" has to be the funniest film he has ever been in. I personally think so anyway. However it is not the best he has been in. If you haven't already, see the film "Swordfish" a very powerful, action lovers film.
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