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Get Shorty (1995)

The recent release of this Barry Sonnenfeld film adapted from Elmore Leonard’s novel on blu ray from Shout Factory’s Select line up had me salivating with anticipation of revisiting a film I have always referred to as my favorite John Travolta film. The revisit only solidified that opinion. When the movie first came out I didn’t see it in the theater but of course caught up with it on home video and while I can’t be sure I’d say I watched it approximately 5 or 6 times in those early years of ownership. As much as I absolutely love this film and I might add that anyone who considers themselves a film buff should feel the same, I hadn’t seen it in about 10 or so years. It’s full of movie trivia that is just begging to be pointed out to newcomers. Everything from Welles’ Touch of Evil to all those movie posters in Hackman’s office. Have fun………

Rather than recite this film’s plot and go into detail on character analysis, I thought I’d celebrate it by featuring the cast and some of the quotes they hand us. Some that I’ve been borrowing for years as they’re just that good.  BE WARNED OF EXPLETIVES. And what a cast I have to add. Travolta as Chili Palmer was never better. Rene Russo continued to prove that not only was she one of the world’s sexiest women, but she could hold her own on screen as an actress against a cast of heavyweights. Gene Hackman needs no introduction and his role here as filmmaker Harry Zimm surely ranks among his all time best and that declaration in itself should be impressive. Then there’s Danny DeVito as Shorty. He’s pitch perfect as the movie star with just enough ego to keep us interested in what he might come up with next.

John Travolta as Chili Palmer. Loan shark, underworld figure and  movie buff.He’s the coolest guy this side of McQueen and Mitchum. A fact that Chili himself would take as the greatest honor one could bestow upon him. 

“I’m the guy who’s telling you the way it is. “ ….. “Rough business, this movie business. I’m gonna have to go back to loan-sharking just to take a rest. ” ………….. “That was “Rio Bravo.” Robert Mitchum played the drunk in “El Dorado.” Dean Martin played the drunk in “Rio Bravo.” Basically, it was the same part. Now John Wayne, he did the same in both. He played John Wayne. ” ……….. “Well, I could see myself in the parts that Robert De Niro plays. Or maybe even, an Al Pacino movie, you know, playing a real hard-on. But I couldn’t see myself in those movies where three grown-up guys get left with a baby, and so they act like three grown-up assholes, acting all cute” ……… “Well do you see a black leather jacket, fingertip length like the one Pacino wore in “Serpico”? ‘Cause if you don’t you owe me three hundred and seventy nine dollars.”

Gene Hackman as Harry Zimm. Low budget filmmaker owing money all over town looking for a box office hit.

“I produce feature motion pictures. No T.V. “ ….. “Jesus, if I have a heart attack, I hope you know what to do. ” ….. “The guy’s been in town two days, and already he thinks he’s David O. Fucking Selznick. ” ….. “I guess in your line of work, there’s times you gotta get rough, huh? In case one of your customers don’t pay. ” ….. “Ray, look at me.” ….. “I’m the one telling you the way it is, okay, asshole? That’s who I am.” ….. “Hey, Zimm doesn’t ask for dick. Zimm tells you the way it is… or else.” ….. “A blockbuster but quality. No mutants or maniacs. This is gonna be my “Driving Miss Daisy”.”

Rene Russo as Karen Flores. Low budget horror actress in Zimm’s less than stellar movies with a dynamic scream. 

“I know I’m better than what I’ve been doing all these years, walking around in fuck-me pumps and a tank-top, waiting until it was time to scream.” ….. “Oh yeah, it’s a real talent. Look, all I’m saying is, what I wouldn’t give for the chance to say one really great line. You know, like in that great Bette Davis movie where she says, “I’d kiss you…… but I just washed my hair” …… “I spent all day crawling out of a grave. The director said that I was incapable of reaching the emotional core of the character.”

Danny DeVito as Martin Weir. World famous movie star and one time hubby to Russo’s character. Just wants his ego to be stroked while falling for Chili’s charm.

“That’s what I think of you, asshole. Nothing.” ….. “I’m really glad you rejected me ten years ago when I auditioned for the part of Eddie Solomon, the pedophile clown in “Birthday Boy”. If I’d have gotten that part, I might have been typecast.” ….. ”

Dennis Farina as Ray “Bones” Barboni. Gangster and the heavy. Farina plays it straight resulting in some of the film’s most hilarious exchanges opposite the other characters.

“They say the fucking smog is the fucking reason you have such beautiful fucking sunsets.” ….. “I want us to be friends, Faye. And we all know that friends don’t hit each other… unless they have to.” ….. “Chili Palmer. It’s chilly outside and it’s Chili inside. It’s a regular fuckin’ chili-fest!” ….. “You must be one of those quick-draw artists, the way you’ve got your gun down on your belt like that.” ….. “I’ve been thinking there’s really no reason why you and I shouldn’t get along forget all the other stuff that happened before I don’t even remember how this mess started you took a swing at me for some fucking reason I say fuck it, I say you owe me money, I say fuck that, I say you owe me the juice on the money I say fuck that too I say “live and let die” but this locket key is strictly between you and I, you say nothing to nobody about this, understood?”

Delroy Lindo as Bo Catlett. Slick Hollywood gangster who wants in on the movie deal and owns a piece of Hackman’s production. 

“What is the point of living in L.A. if you’re not in the movie business?” ….. “I tell you what. How about I count to three, and I organize your fucking brain all over the wall back there. How ’bout that?” ….. “You think we watch any of your movies, Harry? I’ve seen better film on teeth.” ….. “Maybe I could get Chili Palmer up here, and you could fix my balcony to give way like they do in the movies. I invite him to take a look at my view, he leans over the rail, pitches off the balcony into the sweet by-and-by.”

James Gandolfini as Bear. Ex movie stuntman slumming as muscle for Lindo’s gangster. 

“Cat, that’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.”

Jon Gries as Ronnie Wingate. Business associate of Lindo and all around thug.

” Whatta you got there, a Wop 9? Fuckin’ Fiat of guns, always jammin’ on you at the wrong time.”

David Paymer as Leo Davoe. Cowardly idiot on the lamb from Farina that leads Travolta to Hollywood.

“What’s this eighteen percent shit? You want to borrow ten the vig is three bills a week that’s fifteen for the vig plus the ten that’s twenty five big ones you go the whole year buddy, you hear me?”

Miguel Sandoval as Mr. Escobar. Representative of the drug cartels and he wants his money and his nephew Yayo.

“Why are you talking to me this bullshit? I think maybe I have Ramón and César staple your tongue to your chin! What do you think?”

 Unbilled Bette Midler as Doris. She holds the key to the magical script, Mr. Lovejoy that everyone wants to produce.

“I did talk to a gorgeous young executive at Paramount the other day, who just happened to get his hands on the script …. He said that if Martin’s interested, I can get half a million for it. Easy. Oh, don’t worry, Harry. I’m still gonna give you ’till Friday.”

and Harvey Keitel as Harvey Keitel.

“Fuck you, fuck ball!”

Forget the poorly done sequel and as for trivia, there’s a ton of it over at the IMDB so give it a look.

More importantly, give Get Shorty a look for a revisit or heaven forbid, for the first time.

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