Verdict
4

Summary

A witty and sometimes hilarious and knowing comedy from writer Elmore Leonard and director Barry Sonnenfeld, Get Shorty was exactly the correct next step for Travolta, whose knockout work with Tarantino in Pulp Fiction put him back on the fast track for a long, winning comeback.

Plot: A mobster travels to Hollywood to collect a debt, and discovers that the movie business is much the same as his current job.

Review: Wetworks bag man Chili Palmer (John Travolta fresh from his Pulp Fiction comeback) goes to Los Angeles on a side job to collect some money from a B-rate filmmaker named Zimm (Gene Hackman). The job takes an interesting turn when Zimm takes a shine to Palmer and an “idea” he has for a movie. But there’s a big problem: Zimm is an idiot with a big mouth, and suddenly some low level mobsters are muscling their way into Zimm’s circle, putting Palmer in an unenviable spot as a mediator and idea man. Palmer must juggle Zimm’s idiocy with bad guys like Catlett (Delroy Lindo) and Ray Bones (Dennis Farina), as well as Zimm’s sometime girlfriend (Rene Russo) and her ex-husband movie star (Danny Devito) and other unusual characters. Palmer’s time in Hollywood isn’t the traditional entry into the movie business, but it’s a great start!

A witty and sometimes hilarious and knowing comedy from writer Elmore Leonard and director Barry Sonnenfeld, Get Shorty was exactly the correct next step for Travolta, whose knockout work with Tarantino in Pulp Fiction put him back on the fast track for a long, winning comeback. The whole cast shines here (especially Hackman and Farina), and Scott Frank’s snappy script keeps the banter sharp with some real zingers. Few movies have captured Hollywood and the movie business so perfectly. And the movie has aged remarkably well.

Shout Factory has just released a new blu ray with a 4K transfer, and the movie has never looked or sounded better. For a movie made in 1995, Get Shorty looks like it might have been made last year. The special features included on Shout’s release were ported over from previous releases, including an audio commentary by Sonnenfeld, a trailer, and numerous vignettes.