September 3, 2010

Permanent Midnight - 1998

Director: David Veloz
Writer: David Veloz
Starring: Ben Stiller, Maria Bello, Owen Wilson, Elizabeth Hurley

"People always ask, 'What's the worst thing heroin drove you to do?'. I always answer, 'showing up on Maury.'" This every-so-slightly comedic drama tells the true story of television writer Jerry Stahl (Stiller) and his struggle with drug addiction in the 1980s, while working on
ALF, thirtysomething, and Moonlighting.

I have a list of traditionally-know-as-comedic actors that I can only tolerate (in fact, who excel) in serious roles. The list is as follows:
  • Steve Carell (Little Miss Sunshine)
  • Jim Carrey (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
  • Will Ferrell (Stranger Than Fiction)
  • Adam Sandler (Reign Over Me)
  • Ben Stiller
I'll make exceptions for Mystery Men and Tropic Thunder for Stiller, but he's just unparalleled in Royal Tenenbaums, and he's dead on in this role. He has this wonderful manic energy that makes him perfectly suited to play a Hollywood junkie. I highly recommend this movie so people can see the less zany side of a "comedy" actor, and I'm sure I'll be saying more of the same when I get around to watching Noah Baumbach's Greenberg. My only fault with this film is the way that it's told. Stahl explains his life story to a fellow ex-junkie (Bello), which the audience sees through a series of flashbacks, and it's just a few ticks off of proper linear storytelling, yet not altogether along the lines of something like Pulp Fiction. A-

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