Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Movie Review: "Get Shorty" (1995)

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Movie"Get Shorty"
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Year: 1995
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

After his boss dies, a loan shark named Chili Palmer (John Travolta) heads out to Hollywood, pursuing a man who owes money to his new would-be boss. Once there, however, Chili decides he wants out of the mob business and wants to get into show business producing movies. Luckily, as a criminal, he fits right in in Hollywood as he uses his own story as the plot of the movie he wants to make.

"Get Shorty" opened to pretty rave reviews when it was first released in 1995, and why you might ask? Because we know all too well, Hollywood loves movies about Hollywood. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and starring John Travolta as loan shark Chili Palmer, "Get Shorty" looks at the dynamic between mobsters and those who work in Hollywood, as well as how little a difference there is between them. Unlike most fans and critics, we do not love this movie. This is not to say it is terrible, it's just not as fantastic as others would have you believe. At the time of this movie's release, John Travolta was coming fresh off his comeback role, his work in the Oscar nominated "Pulp Fiction," so playing a mobster wasn't exactly a stretch for him. Unlike "Pulp Fiction," however, we don't find him all that convincing here. Chili Palmer is a smooth talking mob tough guy. Sure, Chili is a fun character and has a couple of really excellent lines, but we prefer some of the other performances over Travolta's. It all makes sense when we found out Travolta didn't want to do this film and turned it down not once, but twice, before accepting the part. Joining him are Gene Hackman as smarmy film producer Harry Zimm, Rene Russo as B-movie scream queen Karen Flores, who is hoping to secure more legitimate roles, Danny DeVito as Martin Weir, the most in-demand leading man in Hollywood at the moment, and many others like Dennis Farina, Delroy Lindo, David Paymer, James Galdolfini, and Jon Gries, who are all involved in the crime world in some capacity. Like we said, we prefer the likes of Hackman and Farina over Travolta in this case.

The conclusion of "Get Shorty" is much more entertaining than the rest of it. While it does have its moments, much of the lead-up feels like a bit of a drudgery. Though it's just an hour and 45 minutes and most of the characters involved in this Hollywood/mob crossover talk really, really fast, the entire thing moves pretty slow and feels very long despite its run time. It feels like little happens in this picture. It's decent at best, and we feel it's one of those films that's extremely overrated. It serves as yet another critically acclaimed letdown for us. It just hasn't held up all that well over the years. Maybe we will watch this movie in a few years to see if we change our minds. Maybe the book is better. That's a lot of maybes for a movie that's just so-so.

My Rating: 5.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching: "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby - Them"

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