MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 490 this week

Permanent Midnight (1998)

6.3
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.3/10 from 5,710 users  
Reviews: 53 user | 30 critic

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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(book), (screenplay)
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Instant Video

WATCH NOW
ON DISC

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb Picks: March

IMDb's editors share the movies and TV shows they are excited to see in March.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 27 titles
created 03 Apr 2011
 
a list of 31 titles
created 18 Jan 2012
 
a list of 23 titles
created 12 Nov 2012
 
a list of 29 titles
created 13 Nov 2013
 
a list of 41 titles
created 2 months ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Permanent Midnight (1998)

Permanent Midnight (1998) on IMDb 6.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Permanent Midnight.

User Polls

1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Minus Man (1999)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A cold-blooded serial killer floats around the country and chooses his victims from people who complain about their lives and indicate a willingness to be killed. His murders are introduced... See full summary »

Director: Hampton Fancher
Stars: Owen Wilson, Sheryl Crow, Dwight Yoakam
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Unhappy couples fall apart and hop into other beds with other people.

Director: Neil LaBute
Stars: Amy Brenneman, Aaron Eckhart, Ben Stiller
Zero Effect (1998)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The world's greatest detective Daryl Zero aided by his associate Steve Arlo investigates a complex and mysterious case of blackmail and missing keys for shady tycoon Gregory Stark who is less than forthcoming about what is really happening!

Director: Jake Kasdan
Stars: Bill Pullman, Ben Stiller, Ryan O'Neal
The Suburbans (1999)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.3/10 X  

An 80's one-hit wonder band named The Suburbans reform for a special performance at one of the ex-member's wedding. At the wedding, a young record company talent scout happens to be in the ... See full summary »

Director: Donal Lardner Ward
Stars: Donal Lardner Ward, Tony Guma, Craig Bierko
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A notorious B-movie director tries for a comeback by seeking out the film rights to the life story of a serial killer who wants his biography film to be a musical.

Director: Stephen Kessler
Stars: Jerry Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Max Perlich
Bad Boy (2002)
Drama | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

To inherit a million dollars, an egotistical man must find the women he's betrayed and convince them to forgive him.

Director: Victoria Hochberg
Stars: Denis Leary, Elizabeth Hurley, NiCole Robinson
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

A portrait of a fictional town in the mid west that is home to a group of idiosyncratic and slightly neurotic characters. Dwayne Hoover is a wealthy car dealer-ship owner that's on the ... See full summary »

Director: Alan Rudolph
Stars: Bruce Willis, Nick Nolte, Albert Finney
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

Vusi Madlazi returns to the South African village he left as a young boy (he was organizing against apartheid, and left in fear of his life) to bury his father. He meets up with his brother... See full summary »

Director: Darrell Roodt
Stars: Ice Cube, Elizabeth Hurley, Thokozani Nkosi
Double Whammy (2001)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A world-weary police detective who fails to stop a fast-food restaurant massacre struggles to regain his departmental reputation, public image and self-worth.

Director: Tom DiCillo
Stars: Denis Leary, Elizabeth Hurley, Luis Guzmán
Beyond Bedlam (1994)
Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.4/10 X  

Dr.Stephanie Lyell works for Neurological Research, and is testing a seemingly safe personality-altering drug on Marc Gilmour a notorious Serial Killer. But when a pair of bizarre suicides ... See full summary »

Director: Vadim Jean
Stars: Craig Fairbrass, Elizabeth Hurley, Keith Allen
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Pat Battistini
Stars: Catherine Dao, Jason Goulet, Danny Murphy
Maintenance (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

Floyd always thought that if he could just "maintain," things would be alright. Then he met Eddie, and learned that things could change without his even knowing.

Director: Jesse Feigelman
Stars: Jason Duchin, Zach Chassler, Kevin Pinassi
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jerry Stahl
...
Kitty
...
Phoenix Punk
...
Brad / Tim from Mr. Chompers
...
Nicky
...
Sandra
...
Vola
...
Craig Ziffer
...
Jerry at 16
Mary Thompson ...
Grandma Whittle
...
Dagmar
...
Allen from Mr. Chompers
...
Dita
...
Miguel
...
Jana Farmer
Edit

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:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 April 1999 (Iceland)  »

Also Known As:

A nap árnyékos oldalán  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$260,562 (USA) (18 September 1998)

Gross:

$1,166,199 (USA) (6 November 1998)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Actor Charles Fleischer, best known for playing Roger Rabbit, has the small role of Allen from Mr. Chompers. According to the book, Permanent Midnight, Jerry Stahl wrote an unaired television pilot as a vehicle for Fleischer. 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 »

Connections

References Kojak (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

SMACK MY BITCH UP
Performed by The Prodigy (as Prodigy)
Written by Liam Howlett (as L. Howlett) / Moe Love (as M. Smith) / Ced-Gee (as C. Miller) / Kool Keith (as K. Thornton) / TR Love (as T. Randolph)
Published by EMI Virgin Music Ltd./Next Plateau Music/Beats G Music
Contains Portions of "Give the Drummer Some"
By Ultramagnetic M.C.'s
Used Courtesy of Next Plateau Records
Courtesy of XL-Recordings, Ltd./Mute Corporation/Maverick Recording Company/Warner Bros. Records,
Inc.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

There's Something about Jerry (Stahl)
16 May 2001 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

First, let me apologize for the easy joke in the one line summary. It was simply too easy to pass up. And sometimes writers fall back on easy cliches, especially in headlines.

Actually, make that especially in headlines and in movies about substance abuse. Simply put, Permanent Midnight fails. And it doesn't fail because of the direction, or the writing, or the performances (thought there are certainly serious flaws with each), but because it doesn't have anything new to the discussion. Permanent Midnight on one hand is about the depths to which drugs can drive a man, but it's also about the superficiality of Hollywood. The problem is that neither angle has anything remotely original in it and so barring something remarkable in the execution, there's really no point in making the movie. Permanent Midnight, though, features many good things, but nothing remarkable enough to justify the "been there/ done that" feeling that remains when the narrative is finished.

Permanent Midnight features a framing story that feels made up. Since I haven't read Jerry Stahl's book of the same name, I cannot speak to the truth of the framing sequences which feature Maria Bello as an ex-drug addict named Kitty. I can only say how painfully convenient it is for recovering Jerry (Ben Stiller) to have this blond angel more than willing to hear his story of degradation. Not a moment between Jerry and Kitty rings true emotionally, but at least it gives writer/director David Veloz and entre into the story, not that the story actually goes anywhere. You see, when Jerry arrives in LA he's already a junkie, living with his friend Nickie (Owen Wilson), who's also already a junkie. He marries a British TV producer so that she can get her green card and she helps him get a television writing job. As shown in the film, there's nothing about his life that leads the the progression of his drug addiction. He just gets deeper and deeper and befriends shadier and shadier characters.

There's an arbitrary point at which he obviously decided to quit (since he's clean in the frame story), but by the time we get there, it seems so obvious and so unsatisfying as to make the journey feel wasted. No matter how bad things seems to get, the audience knows it could always be worse, because we've seen worse drug addictions in a dozen movies of varying qualities. Throughout the flashback, Jerry makes no real attempts at recovery and yet only falls to a certain level. He never makes it to hell. Nothing in the film has a payoff.

Much of the problem, then, is in Veloz's episodic screenplay. Characters wander in and out and nothing really comes together. Jerry seems strung-out, but he never seems horrible, so we can't really pity the people who trust him and love him because he doesn't really do any serious damage to them. Everything just comes and goes.

The film is filled with tiny "star" cameos which meet with only occasional success. Owen Wilson and Janeane Garofalo are always good to have around, as is the perpetually psychotic Peter Greene. Cheryl Ladd, Fred Willard, Andy Dick, and Connie Nielsen, though, provide uninteresting one shot encounters.

Veloz perhaps wisely avoids drug movie hallucination clichés. Aware that he lacks the visual sensibility to rival Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or Trainspotting, he restricts his flourishes to a single drug nightmare and to boring New Wave-y jump cuts and the like. Veloz clearly sets the film up as Ben Stiller's show.

As Jerry Stahl, Stiller is never less than solid. He makes it clear why people would continue to trust Jerry even with all of his problems. The script, however, gives no indication of the genius that everybody attributed to Stahl, making it difficult to feel that the character is wasting his talent. Stiller, then, is fleetingly amusing, fleetingly harrowing, and always acting. When the character, in a moment of true desperation turns to his neck for an uncollapsed vein, it's Ben Stiller shooting up into his neck, not the character. It's tough to watch, but you feel for an actor on the edge, rather than a character.

So people in Hollywood are so self-absorbed that they don't notice what's going on around them. OK. I've seen that before. And amidst all that egomania, people with problems are allowed to fall through the cracks. And I've seen that before. And recovery is possible? In a one-day-at-a-time way? I've seen that before as well. I kept waiting for Permanent Midnight to offer me something new and different. But it was only more of the same. There's enough good there for a 5/10.


21 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Smoking crack in the highrise colby-14
When he got pulled over. . . LoadedRevolver66
Can't believe...... osgrl
I'm F-ing A Jew Scene eddycollins
This movie was great.. Jennifer22140
Stiller Needs to take... jason-mousseau
Discuss Permanent Midnight (1998) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?