Get Shorty (film)
|Directed by||Barry Sonnenfeld|
|Screenplay by||Scott Frank|
|Based on||Get Shorty|
by Elmore Leonard
|Produced by||Danny DeVito|
|Edited by||Jim Miller|
|Music by||John Lurie|
|Box office||$115.1 million|
Get Shorty is a 1995 American gangster comedy film directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and written by Scott Frank. Based on Elmore Leonard's novel of the same name, the film stars John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, Delroy Lindo, James Gandolfini, Dennis Farina, and Danny DeVito. The film follows Chili Palmer (Travolta), a Miami mobster and loan shark, who inadvertently gets involved in Hollywood feature film production.
Ernesto "Chili" Palmer is a Miami loan shark and movie buff. When his jacket is taken by rival mobster Ray "Bones" Barboni, Chili retrieves it and breaks Bones' nose. A vengeful Bones ambushes him at his office, but Chili shoots first, grazing Bones' forehead. Bones' boss refuses to retaliate, reminding him that Chili is under the protection of Brooklyn mob boss Momo.
After Momo dies of a heart attack, Bones takes over his operation and demands that Chili collect an outstanding debt from Leo Devoe, a dry cleaner who died in a plane crash. Chili learns from Leo's wife Faye that Leo is alive, having left the plane before takeoff; he was presumed dead when Faye identified his belongings in the crash, and she received $300,000 in life insurance, but Leo ran away with the cash. Chili tracks Leo to a Las Vegas casino, and the director of gaming asks him to collect a debt from B movie director Harry Zimm.
Surprising Harry in Los Angeles at the home of scream queen Karen Flores, Chili pitches him the story of chasing the dry cleaner’s mob debt as an idea for a movie. Harry persuades Chili to help him placate his investor Bo Catlett, owner of a limo service that serves as a drug front. Having gambled away Bo's $200,000 investment, Harry shows him the script he really wants to make, Mr. Lovejoy, but the screenwriter's widow Doris controls the rights. Chili confronts Leo and takes his money to invest in the film, deciding to become a Hollywood producer, and rejects Bo's suggestion that they collaborate.
Bo has left $500,000 in a locker at Los Angeles International Airport for his Colombian contacts to collect. The cartel sends Yayo, who refuses to retrieve the money with the DEA watching. At Bo's cliffside home, Yayo threatens to inform on Bo if he is arrested with the cash; Bo shoots Yayo, knocking him over the deck railing, and plans to eliminate Chili in a similar fashion. He is later visited by Colombian druglord Mr. Escobar, who demands his money and his nephew, Yayo.
Warming to Chili, Karen also wants to become a producer and arranges a meeting with Hollywood star Martin Weir, her ex-husband. Interested in Mr. Lovejoy, Martin is also intrigued by Chili's own pitch and in playing the role of Chili himself. Making Harry jealous of Chili and Karen's partnership, Bo offers him the locker money as a new investment, suggesting he send Chili to fetch it. Sensing a trap, Chili rents a nearby locker instead and is briefly interrogated by the DEA. Bo's henchman Bear demands the locker key back, but Chili subdues him, and they bond over Bear's former career as a stuntman.
After being seduced by Doris, Harry drunkenly calls Bones and tells him that Chili has Leo's money. Having already questioned Faye, Bones flies to Los Angeles and brutally beats Harry, demanding the money. They are interrupted by Bo's associate Ronnie, whom Bones shoots dead and frames Harry. Bear has a change of heart about the plan to kill Chili, but Bo threatens him and his young daughter. Chili and Karen give in to their mutual attraction, and take a badly injured Harry to meet with Martin.
Desperate to pay the Colombians, Bo demands Leo's money from Chili and kidnaps Karen. Chili delivers the money, but Bo and Bear prepare to kill him; in the scuffle, Bo falls through the deck railing to his death, as arranged by Bear, who saves Chili. At Chili's hotel room, Bones demands Leo's money at gunpoint. Chili sends him to the airport locker, where Bones is surrounded by DEA agents.
Some time later, Get Shorty — the movie version of Chili's story — is being filmed, produced by Chili and Karen, directed by Harry, starring Martin as Chili and Harvey Keitel as Bones, with Bear as stunt supervisor. When Martin's prop gun fails, Harry halts filming for the day, to Doris' displeasure. Chili and Karen depart the studio lot, officially Hollywood producers.
- John Travolta as Chili Palmer:
A Miami mobster, loan shark, and film buff who gets involved in the film industry.
- Gene Hackman as Harry Zimm:
A debt-ridden B movie film director and producer.
- Rene Russo as Karen Flores:
A B movie scream queen actress dissatisfied with her career. Karen is the ex-wife of famed actor Martin Weir.
- Danny DeVito as Martin Weir:
A successful and two-time Academy Award nominated actor, whom Chili and Karen pursue to star in his film.
- Dennis Farina as Ray "Bones" Barboni, Chili's new mob boss.
- Delroy Lindo as Bo Catlett, a Los Angeles limo company owner and drug dealer
- James Gandolfini and Jon Gries as Bear and Ronnie Wingate, two members of Bo's crew.
- David Paymer and Linda Hart as Leo and Faye Devoe, a couple who commit insurance fraud.
- Miguel Sandoval as Mr. Escobar, a Colombian mobster and high level drug dealer.
- Jacob Vargas as Yayo Portillo, Escobar's nephew.
- Bette Midler as Doris Saffron, Murray Saffron's widow and Harry's new girlfriend.
- Martin Ferrero as Tommy Carlo, the key member of Chili's Miami crew.
- Renee Props as Nicki, Martin's live in musician girlfriend. Nicki is the woman who broke up Karen's marriage to Martin Weir.
- Bobby Slayton as Dick Allen
- Ron Karabatsos as Momo
- Jack Conley as Agent Dunbar
- Bernard Hocke as Agent Morgan
- Vito Scotti as Manager at Vesuvio's
- Rino Piccolo as Waiter at Vesuvio's
- Alfred Dennis as Ed the Barber
- Ralph Manza as Fred the Barber
- Patrick Breen as Assistant Doctor
- Barry Sonnenfeld as Doorman
- Rebeca Arthur as Las Vegas Waitress
- Leslie Bega as Vikki Vespa (uncredited)
- Marlene Dietrich as Tanya (archive footage) (uncredited)
- David Groh as Buddy Lipton (uncredited)
- Charlton Heston as Mike Vargas (archive footage) (uncredited)
- Harvey Keitel as Harvey Keitel (uncredited)
- David Letterman as David Letterman (archive footage) (uncredited)
- Penny Marshall as Penny Marshall (uncredited)
- Dean Martin as Dude (archive footage) (uncredited)
- Alex Rocco as Jimmy Capp (Ray Bones' Boss) (uncredited)
- John Wayne as Sheriff John T. Chance (archive footage) (uncredited)
- Orson Welles as Police Captain Hank Quinlan (archive footage) (uncredited)
Get Shorty also features an appearance from the real Ernest "Chili" Palmer, a Miami loan shark and mob-connected man who inspired the original character.
The movie features an acid- and soul-jazz themed soundtrack with songs by Us3, Morphine, Booker T. & the M.G.'s, Greyboy and Medeski Martin & Wood alongside original compositions by John Lurie. The soundtrack was nominated for a Grammy Award (1997 - Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television).
Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman and Michael Keaton were offered the role of Chili Palmer but they all declined. Sonnenfeld considered Samuel L. Jackson for the role of Bo Catlett. Steve Buscemi and Matthew McConaughey were considered for the role of Ronnie Wingate.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 88% based on 56 reviews, with an average rating of 7.74/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "With a perfect cast and a sly twist on the usual Hollywood gangster dynamic, Get Shorty delivers a sharp satire that doubles as an entertaining comedy-thriller in its own right." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 82 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade "B+" on scale of A+ to F. The film was entered into the 46th Berlin International Film Festival.
For his role as Chili Palmer, John Travolta received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. The film also received nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
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- "Artist: John Lurie". Grammy Award. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
- "15 Fast-Talking Facts About Get Shorty". www.mentalfloss.com. October 21, 2015.
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- "Jon Gries". The A.V. Club.
- Get Shorty at Rotten Tomatoes
- Get Shorty at Metacritic
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