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Permanent Midnight (1998)

Ben Stiller , Maria Bello  |  R |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

List Price: $14.98
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Permanent Midnight + Requiem for a Dream (Director's Cut) + Trainspotting
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Product Details

  • Actors: Ben Stiller, Maria Bello, Owen Wilson, Elizabeth Hurley, Charles Fleischer
  • Format: 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: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00195I3O0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,216 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
11 of 11 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
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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4 of 4 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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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Midnight Express March 22, 2000
By "isz"
Hello, My Name is ..., and I have never shot Heroin. I fear the needle (ignore the tattoo) and fail to relish in the sadistic reactions to the drug. However, were I to awaken to a new day of increased favor towards needles and IV drug use, the viewing of this film, and the performance handed to us by Ben Stiller, has already assured me that I shan't dive into the abyss of said narcotic. You hate to use words live "riveting" and "brilliant", although clearly at ease with his psychotic side, Stiller makes me believe that a man would attempt to crash through a window post "drug-induced-euphoria". One wishes Janeane Garofalo had a few more moments on-screen, but what she added was probably enough. I haven't read the book (an oddity for me, actually), but I fear that I shall quite soon. I was drawn into the story from the get-go, though I wonder if that was due to the shooting by Veloz, or by Stiller. Either way, this "dark comedy (from whence that title came, I am still unsure)" darkened my day, and caused a bit of thought to occur - never a bad thing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, slow, depressing August 3, 2007
Based on the autobiography of Jerry Stahl who is playhed by a very subdued Ben Stiller(no humour here). The cast is rounded off by owen Wilson and Genine Gerafalo as well as Elizabeth Hurley. It is essentially a movie about a writer who goes from small town nobody to big stardom writing for Alf and other 1980s comedy shows, but his downfall comes through heroin addiction. This is mostly a chronicle of this downfall, his shakes and endless search for another hit. It is tragic but eventually the viewer stops caring, his life is not so interesting and it is not that compelling a story. It is mostly just depressing, wathcing Stahl be arrested while driving high with his child in the seat next to him.

Not that great a film, but a true breakthrough role for Stiller.

Seth J. Frantzman
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars permanent midnight real stinker
this movie was terrible! Ben Stiller was not believable as an addict. Wanted to laugh not comparable to requiem for a dream not even close. Bummer i now own it.
Published 1 month ago by real
5.0 out of 5 stars Authenticity
An authentic drama of a true drug user. A role that I never thought I would see Ben Stiller play.
Published 1 month ago by Jim Tyler
5.0 out of 5 stars True to life
Wow - what a movie. This movie is raw and realistic. It's so realistic- it creeps me out in a lot of parts. Pathetically sad. Read more
Published 3 months ago by angela ward
5.0 out of 5 stars Ben Stiller On Heroin
Way different character for Ben Stiller to be playing even though this was early on in his career, but WOW! Read more
Published 9 months ago by Matthew D. Scherba
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrillingly Disturbing!
I have to watch this one again! Incredible story, I really got into the characters and the overall vibe of the movie. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Robyn Burns
1.0 out of 5 stars expected more from Ben Stiller
Way too racy for me. I watched just a small amount. Knew I wouldn't like it. This was an error on my part
Published 13 months ago by Carol Gilsrud
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful movie!
It was one of the worse I've seen, so thought I would help others from going through the same thing I did.
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Too Dark
Weak plot. Too dark. Feels too disjointed. What is the story trying to tell? Yes, life can be bleak but this is overboard. A pointless life is not entertaining. Read more
Published 14 months ago by S. Morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars Wheres Stillers Award???
Let me start by saying as a former opiate addict/currently in recovery as I will be the rest of my life.. Read more
Published on September 3, 2011 by Steve Sanders
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many squeamish needle shots
I had to tune out the 10th time or so that we are forced to look at blood squirting out of a hypodermic needle here. Read more
Published on August 5, 2011 by Brad Smith
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