Be Cool

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Be Cool
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 in addition to Anna Nicole Smith's final feature film as Pastorelli died one year before its theatrical release.

The film adaptation of Be Cool began production in 2004. 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. It also marked the second collaboration between Travolta and Vince Vaughn after starring in 2001's Domestic Disturbance. The film was released on March 4, 2005. It received negative reviews and grossed $95 million against a budget of $53–75 million. It stars an ensemble cast of John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, Cedric the Entertainer, Andre Benjamin, Robert Pastorelli, Christina Milian, Steven Tyler, Dwayne Johnson, and Harvey Keitel, and Danny DeVito.


Ernesto "Chili" Palmer, restless and disenchanted with filmmaking, enters the music industry after witnessing the Russian mob publicly whack his friend Tommy Athens, owner of a small, independent record label. 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 small-time club singer Linda Moon and helps free her from contractual obligations to crooked producers 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 pay hitman Joe "Loop" Lupino to kill Chili before he can save Edie's company by arranging a live performance for Linda accompanied by 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 mob enforcer Ivan Argianiyev. Carr is furious about the mistake and demands that Raji talks to Loop at once. Raji then beats Loop to death with a metal baseball bat after Loop "disrespects" him.

Carr then tries to trick Chili by handing him a pawn ticket, claiming that the only copy of Linda's contract is at a pawn shop owned by the Russians. Chili, being much smarter than Carr anticipated, has Edie tip off the FBI and starts a fight to get the shop raided. Raji and Elliot then set up LaSalle by making him believe that Carr tricked Chili into giving him the $300,000 to get Linda's contract. LaSalle and his bodyguards, rap group DubMD, confront Carr in his office, as does the Russian boss, Bulkin, and his men. Insulted by Bulkin's racist remarks, LaSalle personally murders him on impulse.

Chili squeezes in a dance scene with Edie, celebrating as Linda Moon gets to make her appearance and becomes an instant success. He also manages to placate LaSalle by agreeing that he will produce Linda's next album and get a share of the profits.

Carr is enraged upon hearing of the deal, so he and Raji order 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 is burned to death on camera by a fireworks explosion. 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. As Chili drives off, he passes a billboard revealing that Elliot is the co-star of a new movie with Kidman.




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

1."Fantasy" (Earth, Wind & Fire)3:46
2."Hollywood Swinging" (Kool & the Gang)3:26
3."Be Thankful for What You Got" (William DeVaughn)5:45
4."Roda" (Elis Regina)2:35
5."Sexy" (The Black Eyed Peas)4:44
6."Suga Suga (Reggae Remix)" (Baby Bash)4:10
7."The Boss" (James Brown)3:12
8."Ain't No Reason" (Christina Milian)3:12
9."Believer" (Christina Milian)3:14
10."Brand New Old Skool" (777)4:34
11."G's and Soldiers" (Planet Asia featuring Kurupt)4:12
12."Cool Chill (Instrumental)" (John Powell)3:56
13."A Cowboy's Work Is Never Done" (Sonny & Cher)3:15
14."You Ain't Woman Enough" (Loretta Lynn, performed by The Rock in the film)3:31

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]