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Permanent Midnight (artisan)

3.0 out of 5 stars 153 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Based on the acclaimed autobiography of the same name, Permanent Midnight stars Stiller and Hurley in this emotionally riveting story about a hot television writer who learns firsthand about the dark side of success in Hollywood.

Special Features

None.

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: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00195I3O0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,170 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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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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Format: DVD
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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Stiller's acting was restrained but he did a good job. The narcissistic character wasn't consumed by the basic struggle of trying to scrape of enough money that is usually the beginning of the cycle drug addiction. He had the money and all the drugs he wanted without having to constantly place his life in danger. He had the connections, the ability to lie, and because of his privilege, seemed to have an air of entitlement to his drug use though at times he was forced to use in less than safe surroundings. The safe and easy surroundings made it harder for him to see or feel that he was indeed in danger even as a privileged white guy. So much so that the delusion kept him waiting on a drug transaction in his car in front of a loud party with a tiny baby incorrectly in a baby seat with the sound of police sirens coming and going close by, continuing to search for his connection and finally make the ultimate of bad choices by still barely noticing that he still had his daughter. Hard for a guy skating through drug use to see a downside or touch bottom enough for it to create any motivation to quit . In fact his quitting didn't seem to have been motivated by more than a half-hearted sense of entitlement to see his daughter after an unseen stint in rehab (we assume) and a job in polyester fast food uniforms. What a struggle! So glad it was shared. Scared ME straight...oh wait, I already am! Though he didn't make it look half-bad, the idea of a life working in fast food wearing a tiny red paper hat and smelling like fried fish will certainly keep me on the straight and narrow! Oh No! Not the RED HAT!
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