Nobody writes openings like Elmore Leonard. Case in point: "When Chili first came to Miami Beach twelve years ago they were having one of their off-and-on cold winters: thirty-four degrees the day he met Tommy Carlo for lunch at Vesuvio's on South Collins and had his leather jacket ripped off." You need to know about this because you need to know why there's bad blood between Chili Palmer and Ray Bones, the guy who stole his coat and is now his boss--and has ordered him to collect $4,200 from a dead guy. Except the guy didn't die; he went to Las Vegas with $300,000. So Chili goes to Las Vegas, one thing leads to another, and pretty soon he's in Los Angeles, hanging out with a movie producer named Harry Zimm and learning what it takes to be a player in Hollywood.
Get Shorty is classic Elmore Leonard: While other people write "crime fiction," Leonard's come up with a masterful social comedy that happens to be about criminals (and other fast operators). He's a master of snappy dialogue and dizzying plot twists. The best parts of Get Shorty move along so briskly you almost forget there's somebody with a firm control over the story. And you'll be rooting for Chili to get the money, the girl, and the studio deal. --Ron Hogan
This is another in my occasional series of readings that come from wanting to know how the movie differs from the book. Exactly why I want to know that isn't clear even to me, but it is the case.
Get Shorty - the book - is fun. I read it in just a few days and took it to work to read over lunch time. That was a good sign given my recent string of books I haven't been all that enamored of.
The story revolves around Chili Palmer, a movie lover and shylock who is tired of that business - for various reasons. He finds himself getting involved in movies when he goes to Las Vegas and then LA to look into some loans that are past due.
There are, of course, all kinds of complications. Chili winds up dealing with some local drug dealers who are laundering their money through a B movie production company, and so on. It's well written and well paced.
For those who have seen the movie, it differs from the book in both small and medium sized ways. Example: the drug courier's father is never mentioned in the book, and never makes an appearance. Nor does the wife of the writer - Doris, played in such outrageous fashion by Bette Midler - exist in the novel.
Other semi-important changes include the fact that it isn't Harry Zimm who causes Ray Barboni to go to LA, and there isn't even a confrontation between Barboni and Zimm, so that hospital scene - "Who wants to take a crack at wiring Mr. Zimm's jaw?" - doesn't happen in the book either.
The smaller changes are too numerous to mention, and yet don't add up to anything all that important.
In all I'd have to say that the conversion to the screenplay was done with skill and attention to detail.
In a novel filled with his signatures - nerve shattering suspense, crackling dialogue, scathing wit - Elmore Leonard proves once again why he sets the standard against which all other crime novels are measured. In Get Shorty, he takes a mobster to Hollywood, where the women are gorgeous, the men are corrupt, and making it big isn't all that different from making your bones; you gotta know who to pitch, who to hit, and how to knock 'em dead...
In Get Shorty, author elmore Leonard takes a mobster to Hollywood, where the women are gorgeous, the men are corrupt, and making it big isn't all that different from making your bones: you gotta know who to pitch, who to hit, and how to knock 'em dead.
Get Shorty is a fast, lively and funny terrific thriller.
Mob-connected loanshark Chili Parmer is sick of the Miami grind. Chili chases a deadbeat client out to hollywood and figures he might like to stay. His idea for a killer movie could very possible kill him to get it made.