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Permanent Midnight (1998)

Ben Stiller , Maria Bello  |  R |  DVD
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)

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Permanent Midnight + The Basketball Diaries + Requiem for a Dream (Director's Cut)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Ben Stiller, Maria Bello, Owen Wilson, Elizabeth Hurley, Charles Fleischer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: July 29, 2008
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00195I3O0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #214,227 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

This 1998 film about comedy writer Jerry Stahl stars Ben Stiller.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Horrible Movie April 7, 2004
People that compare movies to the original books are always going to be disappointed. That's no big mystery to anyone who's both read a single book or seen a single movie. Nuff said on that.
The movie is definitly a good one because it is very dark, and very real. Reviewers that bashed this movie are obviously clueless regarding drug use, drug users, and addiction. This movie is definitely disgusting and depressing because of its plausibility, and that's what makes it good. To have the perfect wife (Elizabeth Hurly), the perfect job, and still do anything and everything to get high demonstrates how the need overpowers someone's life. Permanent Midnight is "A Good Horrible Movie".
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Episodic but riveting January 10, 2007
Movies rarely hold the same allure as the books from which they arise and that's the case here. "Permanent Midnight" portrays the harrowing experinece of a television script writer that was also a heroin addict.

Ben Stiller stars as Jerry Stahl, whose autobiography is the basis for the film. Stahl appears in a brief role as a physician treating his own (through Stiller) addiction. This is an interesting insofar as the physician -- the real life drug addict -- is very downbeat about Stiller's chance of kicking heroin for its substitute.

Elsewhere, a lot of today's A-list actors -- Owen Wilson (who had a middle initial in the credits), Maria Bello (who got great reviews in "A History of Violence"), Elizabeth Hurley, Sandra Oh, Cheryl Ladd and Jeanene Garofolo -- lend a lot of credibility to this episodic treatment. Probably most riveting, and most revolting, are Stiller's regular scenes of drug use...during breaks in meetings at work, in the bathroom during parties, while taking care of his child. In another scene, he interviews for a job with a TV producer while high. The flick concludes with sound bytes from interviews Stahl did with TV talking heads (Morey and Tom Snyder) with Stiller digitally added to the scene.

I thought Stiller transformed himself into a serious actor for the role and the good supporting cast clearly helps; still the film is too episodic to score higher than average. This biopic is mature fare and sometimes very difficult to watch, especially a scene where Stiller, in the car with an infant, mainlines heroin through a vein in his neck. It also loses points since none of the actors show any signs of age as its chronology progresses.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ben Stiller in an outstanding portrayal. March 2, 2002
I picked this one up recently in the "Indie-Pack" alongside "Pi". I was suprised I hadn't heard anything about it since I usually take interest in Ben Stiller. Talk about the best kept secret! He made my friends and I believe he was actually doing the drugs he was doing. If for some strange reason you can't appreciate Stiller, then here is your cure. He'll take you on a journey in this portrayal of the true events in which writer Jerry Stahl loses his job as a successful television writer, and his beautiful wife and daughter to an obscene habit of heroin. Other notable stars include, Elizabeth Hurley, Owen Wilson, Janeane Garofalo and Cheryl Ladd. Based on the autobiography of Jerry Stahl also titled, "Permanent Midnight"
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars My mistake: I read the book first October 22, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I feel bad about not liking this movie... Primarily because the book is without a doubt my favourite... My problem with the movie isn't the acting... Its the lack of what was in the book.. I can understand when a book goes to movies there are liberties taken but I feel that to many liberties were taken when David Volez wrote the screenplay... It's just something seemed to be missing. Although Ben Stiller's performance was class A I don't think it was enough to save this movie... Word to the wise... next time to make it accurate especially if it''s fact based...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So "Alf" was written by a guy on heroin. Figures August 17, 2014
By Darren
Format:Amazon Instant Video
Jerry Stahl, the guy on heroin in question, also contributed to two other deathless Eighties programs: "Moonlighting" and "thirtysomething". "Moonlighting" I can sort of see. That show got a little weird sometimes. I swear I remember one episode where Bruce Willis was dressed in Elizabethan costume throughout -- I think they were reenacting "Taming of the Shrew" or something. But how on earth does a junkie write about suburban thirtysomethings? With *kids*? Stahl was clearly a talented writer, despite the heroin.

The film is pretty compelling, just by dint of its subject matter: hotshot TV writer on top of the world with a $6k-a-week heroin habit. I'm sort of curious as to how the autobiography by Stahl reads, because I feel that David Veloz, who wrote and directed, struggles to find the right tone. The first half feels too breezy. Stiller and pickup Maria Bello chat about his life story while making love. Stiller does comedy routines with Janeane Garofalo. (What happened to her, by the way? She was cute and had snap. Political activism? -- too bad.) Stiller's leather pants split open in the fanny at one point, and he makes a crack about "Jewish leather". All this, despite the drug addiction and a briefly alluded-to back-story about a suicidal father and a senile, *then* suicidal, mother. (No wonder the guy wears all black all the time.) Who knows, perhaps the tone is accurate: the guy did write comedies for TV, after all. He clearly had a sense of humor that the demons didn't bother eradicating.

Once wife Elizabeth Hurley gets pregnant, however, the movie starts going down more familiar paths. Pretty soon Hurley is forced to ask her junkie husband to watch the baby while she's at work; guess how that turns out. How does Stiller handle this role?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars If I could give less than one star I would ...
If I could give less than one star I would. I could not even make it through this movie...just not worth my time. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Linda S.
2.0 out of 5 stars Though the acting was good the story was more of a sad and pitiful ...
Though the acting was good the story was more of a sad and pitiful way of existing. Not saying it was bad more to the point the topic was rough and not entertaining. Read more
Published 10 days ago by AR
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Published 11 days ago by AEH
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It's a great movie, works good and I enjoy it.
Published 12 days ago by Brandon Turcheck
1.0 out of 5 stars What a snorefest
So boring we quit watching after less than 10 minutes!
Published 19 days ago by Julie Smith
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't do it! Don't watch it! Almost any movie you can find will be...
Please don't waste your time watching this, I warned you!

I gave up with 1/2 hour to go, just couldn't tolerate the pointlessness any longer.
Published 29 days ago by Jeffrey Rohner
4.0 out of 5 stars or it may be that the story was aimed to show the life of a broken man...
A look inside the life of a man who has dreams to make it big with his talent. With the usual situation that comes along with someone wanting to make something of themselves. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Justin
1.0 out of 5 stars Movie
Not to good.
Published 1 month ago by Edward D. Hederman
3.0 out of 5 stars Bleak and Depressing
It is Difficult to rate a real-life autobiography.

Ben Stiller, Elizabeth Hurley and others gave it their best but the story was not much to go on.
Published 1 month ago by JM
1.0 out of 5 stars Violent, what else is new from Hollywood?????
Published 1 month ago by Gerald J. Vogt
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