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Get Shorty


Roger Davidson

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Based on Elmore Leonard's best-selling comic novel, John Travolta portrays Chili Palmer, the ultimate lone shark. He's got a thing for movies and it seems like it's a dream come true when he's sent to Hollywood. He goes to LA to collect a debt from B-movie producer, Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman), but gets embroiled in the dog-eat-dog world of Hollywood. Travolta has this great idea for a movie, which is similar to what's going on in his life at the moment and he wants Hackman to produce it. Of course, Hackman's got a few problems of his own. Mainly the local crime boss (Delroy Lindo), who is also attempting to collect a major debt from Hackman. In the mean time, Travolta falls in love with Hackman's leading lady, the cynical Karen Flores (Rene Russo). In the midst of all these goings on, Travolta is attempting to get Russo's ex-husband, egomaniacal actor Martin Weir (Danny DeVito), interested in his pet project. But Miami crime boss Ray Bones (Dennis Farina) has a old score to settle with Travolta and he too shows up in LA After that, the plot thickens at an extremely fast rate.

No one has ever been able to capture Leonard's work on film, as well as director Barry Sonnenfield (Addams Family) captures it here. The film is able to transfer the great plot twists, cool characters and sharp dialogue from the book to the movie without missing a beat. Travolta's Chili Palmer has been compared to Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction as if Travolta was playing the same guy. I don't think so. Travolta's Palmer seems much more cool, calm, composed and smarter. The supporting cast is just as good. Hackman portrays Zimm as a neurotic coward. It's something he's never done before. Russo is just as magnificent as the level-headed Flores and DeVito is in the role he was born to play.

The best (and funniest) performance comes from Farina, who's dumb mobster character is humiliated time and time again by Travolta's quick wits. Don't forget to check out Lindo's role either. His mob boss is the exact opposite of Farina's. Lindo is Al Pacino to Farina's James Caan. As I've said, no one has ever been able to make Leonard's novels filmable. But with the great screenplay, performances, directing, and set design, it all comes together quite excellently.

My Rating = Four Stars

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