a critiQal film review Get Shorty (1995)

Plot: Chili Palmer (Travolta) is a mobster from Miami. En route to finding a man who owes the mob some money, he meets up with Harry Zimm, a low budget movie producer in LA. Being a huge fan of the movies, Chili wants in on Harry’s next picture. With “B” actress Karen Flores’ (Russo) help, Chili wants to get Martin Weir (Devito) for the picture. However, local muscle Bo (Lindo), and Chili's new boss, Ray Bones (Farina), want Chili.

422 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 6s)
  • ...Travolta, Russo, Hackman and DeVito help bring this Elmore Leonard novel brilliantly to the screen.

Being a huge fan of Elmore Leonard’s novels, Get Shorty was on a must-see list of mine. They did an excellent job of converting the novel to the big screen.

After seeing this movie, Out of Sight (another Elmore Leonard novel) was such a disappointment, since even though it was decent, it just couldn’t match the great job they did with this film.

The all-star cast does a great job here, from the major players (Travolta, Hackman, Russo and Devito) to the smaller parts (Farina, Lindo and Gandolfini). Travolta is excellent here as Chili, playing it cool most of the time, except when it comes to his obvious excitement about being in the movie business. Then, a twinkle comes into his eye, and he can hardly contain himself. It’s a great role for him.

Hackman, as the B-Movie producer, is great, trying to act cool like Chili, but just not making it. Russo does a good job as well as Karen, an actress who wants more. Devito has a great time playing a stuck-up actor here, also.

Farina, who later refined almost the same role in Snatch, plays his character to the hilt, and does a great job. Lindo, much like his Romeo Must Die (2000) role, plays a great bad guy as well. Even Gandolfini (the future Mr. Tony Soprano) seems to have fun as Lindo’s bodyguard Bear.

The plot is an excellent twist to the old mob guy looking for money routine. There are enough twists and turns to satisfy anyone, and the dialogue is excellent as well. The whole movie is played with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor which works incredibly well. You’ll laugh out loud at least once, guaranteed.

The music just adds to the film. Rather than doing the same old instrumentals (which seems to have been replaced by hit songs nowadays), Get Shorty makes great use of a fun jazzy type of music. The music is perfect for the film. Not too heavy, and with almost a laughing tone to it (Actually, this is one of the few films I bought the soundtrack to).

With an excellent cast of characters, a great plot with tons of unexpected twists and turns, and an excellent far-from-the-norm music soundtrack, Get Shorty is a must buy.

The only drawback is the shocking lack of special features on the DVD. Aside from that, Get Shorty is a must-own film. So, all you have to do is wait for the Special Edition to come out, and you’re good to go.

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