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Overall Rating

Awesome: 14.89%
Worth A Look: 23.4%
Pretty Bad: 17.02%
Total Crap: 14.89%

5 reviews, 17 user ratings

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Permanent Midnight
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by Chef ADogg

"Skip it--read the book again."
1 stars

"Permanent Midnight" isn't really a terrible movie, but it disappoints on so many levels that I can't see giving it more than one star. What follows is an explanation of how thorougly it fails.

Let me start off by saying that Jerry Stahl's book is one of my very favorites--an account of heroin addiction written with the self loathing, barbed pen style of Hunter S. Thompson, but infused with much more dramatic heft than "Fear and Loathing," it's one of the most harrowing literary exercises you're likely to come across. The key to the book's success is Stahl's writing--you're there for every second of the man's drug addled descent, and the words themselves draw blood. Stahl crafted his novel to hurt the reader--instead of merely recounting his pain, he forces it on you. Instead of simply being a cautionary tale that warns, it delivers it's message by making you suffer.

So how did this movie go so wrong?

A good part of it lies in the writer/director, David Veloz. I have no idea who this man is, but he has much to learn about properly structuring a movie and directing with some kind of impact. "Permanent Midnight" has no visual scheme whatsoever--Veloz brings nothing new to the table, which is an unforgivable sin in these post "Trainspotting" times.

Don't think the visuals are the only problem. The script is extremely weak, skipping around Stahl's life and touching on only the most simple points. You can see it, but you can't feel it--everybody knows, by now, that drug movies should be anything but shallow.

And then, of course, we have Ben Stiller in the lead role. Ben Stiller can act--I've seen him do it. But he's absolutely awful here. He tries to do this cool junkie thing, nattering and breaking out into feverish speeches and shooting blood on the ceiling and all the while looking like a million bucks in black leather pants.

It doesn't work.

It doesn't help that he's surrounded by singularly talentless individuals, including Elizabeth Hurley as a chick who marries him to get a green card. His best bud is played by Owen Wilson, who I must say has disappointed me thus far with the career choices he's made post-"Bottle Rocket." He does nothing with his role, and his southern fried wisenheimer schtick is getting old. "Permanent Midnight" is the movie that confirmed my belief that his performance in "BR" was indeed nothing but a fluke.

"Permanent Midnight" is too damn jumpy. Veloz delivers a couple of cool shots, and the plot itself is quite appealing, but there's no MOVIE beneath the surface, there's nothing to dig into. You gotta have milk to fill the carton.

I could go on about how much this movie pissed me off, but the best way to describe it is simply a "Boost" for the nineties. And, as the Angry Jew would say, I don't mean that in a good way.

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originally posted: 08/16/99 01:42:16
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User Comments

7/29/03 zudija gud muvi 4 stars
7/15/03 maria thom ben stiller -what great acting! 5 stars
6/23/03 Jack Sommersby Stiller and Hurley are excellent, but the material is sorely lacking here. 2 stars
5/26/03 KCobain Listen to Elbow. This is a real treat! 4 stars
1/02/03 The Talking Elbow IGNORE the bad reviews, this is a Great movie, it really is. Watch it,make up your own mind 5 stars
12/08/02 GeeBee loved it 4 stars
6/23/02 ma no no you suck. 5 stars
11/03/00 Elvisfan Ben's scenes w/Peter Greene & Vanessa Kensington were the best 5 stars
4/14/00 The Bomb 69 good stuff and garofalo is the best 5 stars
8/23/99 Chef ADogg Don't be ignorant--read the fucking book. 1 stars
12/23/98 Lou Pine, Jr. By-the-#s downward spiral. Garofalo's minor role delivers yet another deftly comic turn. 3 stars
10/17/98 Mr Showbiz A dark, acerbic addiction dramedy starring Ben Stiller as a strung-out TV writer. 4 stars
10/07/98 Korny Island Semi. Looked great in the pre-hype, but kinda dragged. 3 stars
9/26/98 {{{OZ}}} Stiller can act. He's still annoying, but he can act. And Garofalo... sigh... 4 stars
9/26/98 Matt Stone Drugs Rule my life. 5 stars
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  18-Sep-1998 (R)
  DVD: 15-Feb-2000



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