I have put off watching Get Shorty for years, the truth is I first saw Be Cool and I loved that film, Be Cool is the sort of film I can watch a dozen times, hell just opening up the IMDB page has got me in the mood to watch the film again, but my point is that approaching Get Shorty from the position of the sequel made me hesitant, though the rule is generally that quality degrades with each sequel released.
So of course I was worried about coming to the original and being disappointed, maybe the film was just good but not good enough.
The set up is easy.. and complicated at the same time, John Travolta plays Chili Palmer, a mobster looking to collect on a loan to a dead man, the trail leads him to Hollywood looking to collect another dollar from famed director Harry Zimm, Chili quickly realises that he could leave the mob life behind and get into the movie business but things are never that simple with Zimm owing money (or a film) to some local gangsters, a bag of money under the ever present watch of the Feds and a Miami mobster following Chili out to Hollywood.
The thing I like about Be Cool holds true for Get Shorty, there are a dozen threads that come together and tie up neatly, for example we’ve got a bag of money sitting in a locker at the airport under the scrutiny of a team of Federal agents, Chili takes a look and fools the Feds into detaining him as he opens the locker next to the one they want.
Then as the film reaches it’s climax the Miami mobster (Ray Bones) finds the key to the locker, coming to the conclusion this locker must contain the money he desires he heads straight for the airport, only to be picked up by law enforcement.
Of course I’m not giving you every little detail, I don’t want to leave you with nothing to watch, but I just want you to be aware that whether it is through chance or machination, things generally come together in this film.
One of my favourite parts of the film is Danny DeVito, playing big name Hollywood actor Martin Weir getting into the “character” of Chili Palmer, taking advice from a mobster on how to give an air of danger without trying to look like he is putting effort into it.
I think this film is worth watching, and then when you enjoy it you follow it up with Be Cool, John Travolta is excellent as the smooth talking Chili, almost a con man who is conning his way to legitimacy, but once a trickster always a trickster eh?