Directed By: Barry Sonnenfeld
Written By: Scott Frank
Based On The Novel By: Elmore Leonard
Chili Palmer (John Travolta) is a smooth talking lone shark from Miami, who through an array of disagreements has become at odds with Ray Bones (Dennis Farina), a colorful mobster who becomes Chili’s boss. Ray sends Chili after a bad debt, that Chili clearly sees is playing insurance fraud and follows his trail to Las Vegas, which in turn leads him to Los Angelas and Hollywood, where Chili’s dreams suddenly become attainable. While there, Chili is required to look on another bad debt from the casino his mark was at, and finds himself in the home of Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman), a Hollywood producer of low-budget horror films. In Harry’s bed is actress Karen Flores (Renee Russo), the ex-wife of superstar Martin Weir(Danny DeVito). Chili pitches an idea he has for a movie to Harry, who says he will help Chili if he can get one of his less than honest financiers, Bo Catlett (Delroy Lindo) off his back. Chili agrees and in the meantime asks Karen to help him recruit Martin for the film. Back in Miami, Ray suspects Chili is up to something and heads to Hollywood to find out where his money is.
It’s Chili inside and it’s chilly outside.
This is one of the most charismatic movies ever onscreen, and possibly one of the funniest. Chili Palmer, perhaps the smoothest guy ever to walk the face of earth, has an entire group of people that essentially want to kill him or beat him up, but he just doesn’t care. In fact, he crusades through Los Angelas as though he owns the place. This is a fun and fantastical way to look at the insane and cutthroat existence that is the world of Hollywood. The similarity between the crime world and Hollywood the film alludes to is a great way to let Chili make his transition. While the film does take it’s shots, it’s mostly in a divine love affair with Hollywood at the same time.
There is a combination of violence, comedy, and just great storytelling that really give this tongue in cheek story, that is fairly complicated, a real edge about it. The colorful characters that litter the screen are all likable, even the bad guys. While you want Ray Bones to get it, you find yourself laughing even though his character is definitely serious. With an all star cast to support the films already magnificent script based on Elmore Leonard’s graphic, smart novel that takes the dialogue for Palmer taking directly from it, this film is a rare kind of fun. What makes it such a satisfying movie is the language of the characters, not so much their actions or desires. The delivery of what they are saying is all about how they say it. The one liners of this film are endless, and in the midst of wild double crossing, it retains it’s sense of humour.
This is a film that is one of kind. Even in an attempt to carry on it’s glory “Be Cool” was constructed, but nothing can hold a candle to “Get Shorty.” It is without a doubt one of my favorites of all time. It earns Four out of Four stars.