6.3/10
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55 user 32 critic

Permanent Midnight (1998)

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2:11 | Trailer
A comedy writer struggles to overcome his addiction to heroin.

Director:

David Veloz

Writers:

Jerry Stahl (book), David Veloz (screenplay)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Stiller ... Jerry Stahl
Maria Bello ... Kitty
Jay Paulson ... Phoenix Punk
Spencer Garrett ... Brad / Tim from Mr. Chompers
Owen Wilson ... Nicky
Elizabeth Hurley ... Sandra
Lourdes Benedicto ... Vola
Fred Willard ... Craig Ziffer
Chauncey Leopardi ... Jerry at 16
Mary Thompson Mary Thompson ... Grandma Whittle
Connie Nielsen ... Dagmar
Charles Fleischer ... Allen from Mr. Chompers
Liz Torres ... Dita
Douglas Spain ... Miguel
Janeane Garofalo ... Jana Farmer
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Storyline

Comedy writer Jerry Stahl, whose $6000-a-week heroin habit had him taking his infant daughter along on his drug runs and doing smack during TV script conferences. Departing detox, Stahl explores memories with survivor Kitty, who listens patiently to Stahl's flashback. Other women in Stahl's life are his British wife Sandra and his agent Vola. For the TV series "Mr. Chompers" (inspired by ALF), Stahl meets with sitcom exec Craig Ziffer and puppeteer Allen. For freaky freebasing, Stahl hangs with mumbler Nicky and druggie Gus. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive graphic drug use, strong sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 April 1999 (Iceland) See more »

Also Known As:

Permanent Midnight See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$260,562, 20 September 1998

Gross USA:

$1,171,001

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,171,001
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

JD Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The fictional television show "Mr. Chompers" was based on author Jerry Stahl's experience writing for ALF (1986). The other television series was based on Stahl's experiences on Twin Peaks (1990) and Moonlighting (1985), and its star was apparently based on Cybill Shepherd. See more »

Goofs

When Jerry is at the methadone clinic, the doctor is checking boxes on a form he's filling out. The questions he asks Jerry do not match the boxes he checks. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jerry: You know what's mortifying? Smack is like the leisure suit of the nineties. Instead of wrecking dad's Buick on prom might, these little suburban fucks are coping habits and OD'ing in the rec room.
Kitty: And you're different, because?
Jerry: I never got to the prom.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The DVD features 3 deleted scenes:
  • A wasted Jerry hitting on Owen Wilson's character's girlfriend and being thrown out.
  • A long haired Jerry working for Hustler magazine.
  • A stoned Jerry buying a muffin and being beaten with a baseball bat by the store clerk.
See more »

Connections

Spoofs ALF (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Free Ride
Performed by Embrace
Written by Danny McNamara (as McNamara) and Richard McNamara (as McNamara)
Produced and Mixed by Dave Creffield and Embrace
Published by Mobetta
Courtesy of DGC Records, Inc., under license from Universal Music Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ben Stiller Takes a Good Dramatic Turn
5 March 2003 | by gbheronSee all my reviews

Poor little rich kid, Jerry Stahl, an actual TV screenwriter in 1980s Hollywood, p***es all his good fortune away through a hefty heroin habit. Jerry then hits bottom, recovers, and writes his autobiography. "Permanent Midnight" chronicles Jerry's fall from Hollywood hotshot to junkie bum. Besides such an unpleasant subject, and an equally unsympathetic main character, "Permanent Midnight" still entertains, in a morbid sort of way. It's told in flashback (at the beginning of the movie Jerry's just finished rehab and is about to return to his old LA haunts), so we kind of know where the movie will take us. There's no mystery, we're going to watch Jerry's self-destructive crash and burn in close-up. We're a little in the dark about what will happen after the movie catches up with itself, but there's really not a lot of tension. It's like watching a car wreck in very slow motion.

Ben Stiller does an excellent job portraying Jerry, with his craving for the drug rising above, and then destroying, all that's good in his life. It's quite a frightening portrayal. Elizabeth Hurley, as his girlfriend, is a bit of a stretch for both her acting talent and in the casting. But the rest of the cast does fine work. I think the major detriment to this movie is that the audience knows beforehand how it will all end. This is a very dramatic subject, but with no drama in the screenplay. And that is a drag.


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