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Get Shorty (SE)
DVD disk
03.08.2005 By: The Shootin Surgeon
Get Shorty (SE) order
Director:
Barry Sonnenfeld

Actors:
John Travolta as Chili Palmer
Gene Hackman as Harry Zimm
Rene Russo as Karen Flores

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Having grown tired of the loan-sharking business, smooth-talking hustler Chili Palmer heads for LA on one last job before taking the big leap into the movie trade. Unfortunately for Chili, he’s still stuck with some remnants of his past as local gangster Bo Catlett (Delroy Lindo) and Miami mobster Ray “Bones” Barboni (Dennis Farina) both try to move in on his impending deal with B-movie player Harry Zimm.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I’ll never be sure what it was about GET SHORTY that always seemed so distant to me. In the past, I’d rented this film several times over (usually as the second movie on 2-for-1 night) but I’d never gone through with actually watching it however as part of my new multi-million peso deal with JoBlo.com, I could no longer put it off so I sat my big ol’ ass down and put my finger on the “play” button. The verdict? I still don’t really know what to make of it. Despite having really enjoyed the movie (I even burst out in laughter several times), I never really felt that connection you get out of a flick when it really does something to you. GET SHORTY was full of laughs, great lines and superb performances by an all-star cast but it was missing that indescribable je ne sais quoi that turns a good movie into a great movie and so it ended up just being on my TV screen, drawing out as much emotion from me as the usual Sunday evening network fare.

The one thing about this film that will leave no one indifferent is the quality of the performances. Travolta is true to himself which pretty much means that if you like him already, you’ll like him in GET SHORTY and if you don’t, this won’t turn the tables for you. The big hits came courtesy of Hackman, Lindo and most especially Dennis Farina, who dishes out one of his best performances (and that’s saying a lot) as Ray “Bones” Barboni, a bungling, short-tempered and hilarious gangster from Miami who can’t stand Chili Palmer and who really, really wants his money. Hackman and Lindo were just as spectacular as respectively, an inept movie producer and a local thug who wishes he was one too. I’m quite sure this film will do a lot more for others than it did for me, especially those with a special interest in the 12,000 Elmore Leonard novels that have been turned into screenplays. It’s a good movie that could have used just a bit more heart to be great but a worthwhile way to spend an evening nonetheless.
THE EXTRAS
Full Length Audio Commentary by Director Barry Sonnenfeld: Sonnenfeld really doesn’t waste any time with intros and runs right into the details of the film. He covers pretty much every topic you would expect at a reasonable pace. It’s a regular track but still one that contains a lot of information.

“Get Shorty: Look at Me” (27 mins): The whole cast of actors and filmmakers – including author Elmore Leonard – get together and discuss the story and its characters in what is a fun but superficial making of featurette. Each one of the main characters is talked about, as is the process behind casting him.

“Get Shorty: Wiseguys and Dolls” (20 mins): The same type of feature as the above with a focus on some other characters such as Karen Flores, played by the delicious Rene Russo and the other mobsters in the film like Delroy Lindo’s and Dennis Farina’s. There’s also a segment on Barry Sonnenfeld.

The Graveyard Scene (4 mins): A brief discussion of a scene featuring Ben Stiller which was eventually deleted from the movie. Sonnenfeld explains why and we’re treated to some footage of the scene being filmed.

Deleted Graveyard Scene (3 mins): This is the actual deleted scene from the previous feature. It stars Stiller as a young director working for Harry Zimm. Unlike most deleted scenes, this one is actually good!

Going Again: Outtakes (5 mins): A really funny set of outtakes obtained by letting the cameras roll between takes. There are a lot of lines being repeated over and over and rather than ending up with the usual flubbed lines and goofs, you get a real good look at actors at work by seeing tons of deliveries for the same pieces of dialogue. It’s a nice touch to have on a DVD.

Get Shorty Party Reel (5 mins): This is a rough reel of takes and outtakes from the movie edited as a musical montage at first. It later reverts to the more standard format of outtake reel.

Sneak Peek at Be Cool (8 mins): A look into GET SHORTY’s sequel via cast interviews.

Page to Screen of Get Shorty (30 mins): Hosted by Peter Gallagher (yeah… me too), a look into the way Leonard’s novel made it from the bookshelf to the big screen. It goes through the acquisition of the rights by Danny DeVito through the screenplay adaptation, the casting, etc. It’s an interesting feature but probably much more enjoyable to the hardcore fans.

The rest consists of a Photo Gallery and the Theatrical Trailer.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
It’s definitely a very cool, very witty movie and even if it was missing a secret ingredient for me, it’s success over the past ten years goes to show that it’s been well received and much appreciated (it also seems to show that I don’t know my ass from my elbow). With an amazing DVD that with features that are both plentiful and relevant, fans will instantly purchase this one. A rental is a must but unlike my first few rentals, make sure you actually watch it.
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