Be Cool

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Be Cool
Becool poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byF. Gary Gray
Screenplay byPeter Steinfeld
Based onBe Cool
by Elmore Leonard
Produced by
CinematographyJeffrey L. Kimball
Edited bySheldon Kahn
Music byJohn Powell
Distributed byMGM Distribution Co. (United States)
20th Century Fox (International)[1]
Release date
  • March 4, 2005 (2005-03-04)
Running time
120 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$53–75 million[2][3]
Box office$95.8 million[2]

Be Cool is a 2005 American crime-comedy film based on Elmore Leonard's 1999 novel of the same name and the sequel to Leonard's 1990 novel Get Shorty (itself adapted into a 1995 film of the same name) about mobster Chili Palmer's entrance into the music industry. This was Robert Pastorelli's final film, as he died one year before its theatrical release.

The film adaptation of Be Cool began production in 2003. It was directed by F. Gary Gray, produced by Danny DeVito (who produced and co-starred in the first film), and starred John Travolta, reprising his role from the first film. The film was released on March 4, 2005. It received negative reviews and grossed $95 million against a budget of $53–75 million.


Chili Palmer, restless after years of filmmaking, enters the music industry after witnessing the Russian mob execute his friend Tommy Athens, owner of a record company. Chili offers to help Tommy's widow, Edie Athens, manage the failing business, which owes $300,000 to hip-hop producer Sin LaSalle.

Chili is impressed by singer Linda Moon and helps free her from contractual obligations to Nick Carr and Raji, who has a gay Samoan bodyguard named Elliot, an aspiring actor and the butt of Carr and Raji's homophobic jokes. Carr and Raji hire a hitman, Joe "Loop" Lupino to kill Chili before he can save Edie's company by arranging a live performance for Linda along with Steven Tyler and Aerosmith.

Lasalle demands payment of the $300,000, but agrees to give Chili a few days to get the money plus the vig. When the Russians attempt to kill Chili, Joe Loop mistakenly kills Ivan Argianiyev, the Russian mob's hitman. Carr is furious about the mistake and demands that Raji talks to Loop at once. Raji then kills Loop with a metal baseball bat after Loop "disrespects" him.

Carr then tries to trick Chili by handing him a pawn ticket, claiming that Linda's contract is being held at a pawn shop owned by the Russians. Chili being much smarter than Carr anticipated, has Edie give the ticket to the police, who pay the Russians a visit. Raji and Elliot set up LaSalle by making him believe that Carr tricked Chili in giving him the $300,000 to get Linda's contract. LaSalle and the DubMD confront Carr in his office, as do Bulkin and his men. Insulted by Bulkin's racist remarks, LaSalle kills him.

Chili squeezes in a dance scene with Edie, celebrating as Linda Moon gets to make her appearance with Aerosmith in concert. Based on Linda's success in that concert, Chili assuages LaSalle by making him her producer.

But Carr is not accepting any deal, so he makes Raji put Elliot to kill Chili. By assuring Elliot that he can help his acting career, Chili befriends him. After learning that Chili had gotten him an audition for a Nicole Kidman film, Elliot turns on Raji, who had erased the message on his answering machine. For all his smooth talking and flamboyant wardrobe, Raji finds himself in a firework conflagration which roasts him live on camera. Carr is arrested on murder charges when Chili makes sure he is caught with the bat used to kill Joe Loop, via another pawn ticket.

At the MTV Video Music Awards, Linda wins the awards for best new artist and video of the year. During her acceptance speech, she thanks Edie, Sin and Chili. Edie and Chili leave the award ceremony. And as Chili drives off, he passes a billboard revealing that Elliot is the co-star of a new movie with Nicole Kidman.




The film's soundtrack was released on March 1, 2005.

1."Fantasy"Earth, Wind & Fire3:46
2."Hollywood Swinging"Kool & the Gang3:26
3."Be Thankful for What You Got"William DeVaughn5:45
4."Roda"Elis Regina2:35
5."Sexy"The Black Eyed Peas4:44
6."Suga Suga" (Reggae Remix)Baby Bash4:10
7."The Boss"James Brown3:12
8."Ain't No Reason"Christina Milian3:12
9."Believer"Christina Milian3:14
10."Brand New Old Skool"7774:34
11."G's and Soldiers"Planet Asia featuring Kurupt4:12
12."Cool Chill" (instrumental)John Powell3:56
13."A Cowboy's Work Is Never Done"Sonny & Cher3:15
14."You Ain't Woman Enough" (A 1966 song by country music singer Loretta Lynn, performed by The Rock in the movie.)Loretta Lynn3:31

Songs featured in the film but not included on the soundtrack are:

  • "Act a Ass" – E-40
  • "Autumn Blue"
  • "Best of My Love" – Christina Milian, Carol Duboc, and Minae Noji
  • "Beethoven's 9th" – Dean Hurley
  • "Brazilian Day" – XMAN
  • "Chattanooga Choo Choo" – Steve Lucky & The Rhumba Bums
  • "Cooliest" – Jimi Englund
  • "Cryin'" – Aerosmith and Christina Milian
  • "Deanstone" – Dean Hurley
  • "(Everytime I Hear) That Mellow Saxophone" – Steve Lucky & The Rhumba Bums
  • "Heistus Interruptus"
  • "Kiss Me" – Sixpence None the Richer
  • "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" – Bob Dylan
  • "Lady Marmalade – Carol Duboc and Minae Noji
  • "La Primavera"
  • "Melbourne Mansion"
  • "Marvelous Things" – Eisley (video visible in background)
  • "Me So Horny" – 2 Live Crew
  • "Moving On"
  • "Praia de Genipabu" – Barbara Mendes
  • "Rock It Like Diss" – Jahmaal Rashad
  • "Santa Monica Man" – Dean Hurley
  • "Short Pimp" – Noah Lifschey and Dylan Berry
  • "Strings in Velvet" – Manfred Minnich
  • "Travel Russia #2" – The Dollhouse Players
  • "Wild Out" – Cheming (featuring XMAN)


Box office[edit]

On a production budget of $53–75 million, Be Cool grossed $56 million in North America and $39.2 million internationally, totaling up to $95.2 million worldwide.[2][3]

Critical reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 30% based on 171 reviews, with an average rating of 4.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Be Cool is tepid, square, and lukewarm; as a parody of the music business, it has two left feet."[4] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 37 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews."[5] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale.[6]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called it "A classic species of bore: a self-referential movie with no self to refer to. One character after another, one scene after another, one cute line of dialogue after another, refers to another movie, a similar character, a contrasting image, or whatever."[7] Halliwell called it "a palpable miss, a movie so lazy and laid back that it falls over; there are none of those insights ... that made Get Shorty so enjoyable".[8]

In an August 2015 interview with Deadline, director F. Gary Gray discussed the failure of the film, stating: "With Be Cool, I made some assumptions in thinking that movie was going to work. I'd just made a successful PG-13 movie [The Italian Job], and when I walked into Be Cool, it was rated R and then at the last minute in preproduction I was told, 'Well, you have to make this PG-13.' I should have walked off the film. This was a movie about shylocks and gangsta rappers and if you can't make that world edgy, you probably shouldn't do it. I walked in thinking I was going to make one movie and then it changed. Maybe it was arrogant of me to think because I had success in this realm of PG-13 I could make that work".[9]


  1. ^ a b "BE COOL (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. February 18, 2005. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Be Cool (2005)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Be Cool (2005) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved October 1, 2021.
  4. ^ Be Cool at Rotten Tomatoes
  5. ^ Be Cool at Metacritic Edit this at Wikidata
  6. ^ "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Be Cool" in the search box). CinemaScore. Retrieved February 5, 2021.
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger (March 3, 2005). "Warmed-over Chili not cool". Chicago Sun-Times.
  8. ^ "Halliwell's Film Guide" ISBN 0-00-723470-8
  9. ^ Mike Fleming (August 14, 2015). "F. Gary Gray Q&A: The Hard Life Lessons That Led To 'Straight Outta Compton'". Deadline Hollywood.

External links[edit]