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Permanent Midnight (1998)

Ben Stiller , Maria Bello  |  R |  DVD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

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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: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00195I3O0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,714 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
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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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Permanent Love Team August 29, 2005
In PERMANENT MMIDNIGHT, director David Veloz smooths out the hard edges from Jerry Stahl's riveting autobiography of the same name. Obviously he was going to try for some casting surprises, so a gang of comedians are brought in and asked to play serious parts, and if they're note funny comics, they're supermodels trying to act. The spectacle of all these people trying to "act seriously" pushes the movie over the edge into spectacle; but that's better than your average movie which doesn't offer any spectacle at all.

Maria Bello tries to prove there's more to her than drop-dead gorgeousness on the Cybill Shepherd line. Verdict? Not in just yet. In subsequent movies Ms. Bello has shown that she's competent, and in one or two something more, but here she doesn't especially impress. Elizabeth Hurley looks beautiful, and actually manages to achieve a state of peevishness that looks convincing; maybe the director told her that her L'Oreal ration was being suspended. And even Cheryl Ladd, top model of another era, is somehow squeezed into the movie I guess to remind us that in Hollywood, even tiny parts are filled by the good-looking. The trouble is, this is something we found out years from Burt Bacharach songs: "And all the stars/ that never were/ are parking cars or pumping gas." Such as Janeane Garofalo who made quite a few movies and then disappeared from the screen after Dennis Kucinich's candidacy sank like a stone.

The other point of PERMANENT MIDNIGHT is that heroin is bad for you and hurts the family structure. However the hegemony of the US cinema by twin Pleaides Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson will never be destroyed, and their friendship here is a thing of intense contemplation. Long ago they decided that each one was the psychic twin of the other, and ten movies later, they have outlasted Hepburn and Tracy as the screen's great love team. It's a permanent thing with the tensile strength of steel.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An engaging drama with Ben Stiller. Why wouldn't you watch?
Solid acting and an engaging script make for an awesome drama. I'm a Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson fan and this falls in line with their other work.
Published 5 days ago by mona b joshi
3.0 out of 5 stars So "Alf" was written by a guy on heroin. Figures
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. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Darren
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Published 12 days ago by Pamela Denny
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
We quite watching.
Published 12 days ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Should I be re-evaluating my sense of humor?
I don't recall laughing/smiling in any of the scenes. I thought it was a bit dark and sad
Published 14 days ago by precious
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst ever
Published 1 month ago by Prince SOS
5.0 out of 5 stars Good flick
Ben Stiller with a heroin addiction playing with puppets, what's not to love about this movie.
Published 1 month ago by Jacky
2.0 out of 5 stars Permanent Midnight
It was borring with no excitement ? I could enjoy a better movie. Why do I have to put in more word's about this.
Published 3 months ago by philboatbike
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 5 months 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 5 months ago by Jim Tyler
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