Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA, 1995. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Jersey Films. Screenplay by Scott Frank, based on the novel by Elmore Leonard. Cinematography by Donald Peterman. Produced by Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher. Music by John Lurie. Production Design by Peter S. Larkin. Costume Design by Betsy Heimann. Film Editing by Jim Miller, Ted Woerner. Golden Globe Awards 1995.
Flawless adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel about a shylock gangster (John Travolta at his coolest) who travels to Los Angeles to collect on an overdue payment and ends up getting interested in the movie business. No shock there, of course, since as it turns out there’s not that much difference between organized crime and making films. Full of brilliant dialogue, blessed with a marvelous script by Scott Frank and overseen with completely authority by Barry Sonnenfeld (his best work to date, and since), this is one of the best movies about Hollywood ever made. Rene Russo is terrific as a B-Movie actress who captures Travolta’s fancy the moment they meet; their exchanges, full of sexually charged dialogue and great chemistry, are the best scenes the film has to offer, and Russo couldn’t be more suited to the role. Also stars Gene Hackman as a low-level filmmaker, Danny DeVito who also produced) as an A-Level movie star and an unbilled Bette Midler at her comedic peak as a happy widow looking to make a little dough.