Drug smuggling. Racketeering. Loan sharking. Welcome to Hollywood! Golden Globe® winner John Travolta leads an all-star cast in the comedy that insists it doesn’t take much to make it in the movies... just a background with the Mob. Loan shark Chili Palmer (Travolta) is bored with the business. So when he arrives in LA to collect a debt from down-and-out filmmaker Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman), Chili talks tough... and then pitches Harry a script idea. Immediately, Chili is swept into the Hollywood scene: He schmoozes film star Martin Weir (Danny DeVito), romances B-movie queen Karen Flores (Rene Russo) and even gets reservations at the hottest restaurants in town. In fact, all would be smooth for this cool new producer, if it weren’t for the drug smugglers and the angry mobster who won’t leave him alone.
True story: hot off the back of Pulp Fiction
, Get Shorty
was one of the films that John Travolta was offered, and one he also intended to turn down. A quick phone call with Quentin Tarantino later, and Travolta decided to ultimately sign up to the role of Chili Palmer. It was to prove one of his wiser decisions.
Get Shorty, based on the terrific book by Elmore Leonard, tells the story of Palmer, a loan shark, who goes to collect a debt from Gene Hackman’s Harry Zimm. Turns out that Zimm is a filmmaker, which puts into a motion a chain of events that sees Palmer trying to get Zimm to make his movie. This, in turns, allows for some subtle Hollywood digs, with some snappy, sparkling dialogue, and a host of interesting characters as well. Travolta, too, is in exceptional form.
The Blu-ray has lots of fun with the movie, too, exploring in some detail the genesis of the film, with input from the key people, both in front of and behind the camera. Interestingly, you also some quite raw, unused footage from the film, as well as a smattering of a smaller features. It’s a really good cocktail of supplements. The film itself makes good use of the added potential of the Blu-ray format, and the picture quality in particular is noticeably upgraded.
Get Shorty is a fun, very good blend of action, comedy, and punchy writing, played by a cast who pretty much uniformly came to the project at just the right time. Its follow-up, Be Cool, never quite captures what Get Shorty has. And the Blu-ray release is a welcome upgrade. --Jon Foster