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Permanent Midnight (1998)

2:13 | Trailer

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A comedy writer struggles to overcome his addiction to heroin.



(book), (screenplay)
1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Phoenix Punk
Brad / Tim from Mr. Chompers
Craig Ziffer
Jerry at 16
Mary Thompson ...
Grandma Whittle
Allen from Mr. Chompers
Jana Farmer


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:





Release Date:

23 April 1999 (Iceland)  »

Also Known As:

A nap árnyékos oldalán  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$260,562, 20 September 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,166,199, 8 November 1998
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Film debut of Lourdes Benedicto. See more »


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 »


[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.
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Features ABC's Nightlife (1964) See more »


Performed and Written by Lael Alderman
Produced by Ezra Holbrook
Mixed by Tony Proveaux
Published by It's All Been Done Before (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Geffen Records, Inc.
Under License from Universal Special Markets
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User Reviews

For Any Fan of Drug Films, Fast-Paced Stylized Biographies, and Ben Stiller
31 January 2007 | by See all my reviews

Permanent Midnight seems at first like another film you will love. It's the story of a drug- addicted real-life semi-celebrity, it's directed with slick style and a fast pace, and it provokes emotion with its increasingly gloomy atmosphere and R-rated subject matter. The "but" or the "however" is hard to place, because there is no real reason why it can't live up to the expectations based on what I just described. The only real way to say why it isn't the contemporary classic or young moviegoer's classic that it should be is to say that it doesn't have as much intensity that one would expect from it. It allows itself to indulge in the formula elements of a movie like this.

There are formula elements to every genre and subgenre, even the fast-paced stylized biopic and the drug film, even though they don't seem like they would. Why would they? They're usually based on true stories and real lives, or they go in directions most other films don't take. Still, a real life and a true story can still either turn out the way so many similar ones do, or their adaptations do. Permanent Midnight is a formula film of its subgenre.

That doesn't stop it from being enjoyable and powerful on a substantial level. It's directed well and Stiller's performance is fantastic. It's loaded with dark humor, Scorsesian music placement and jump cuts disguised as techno music and fade outs, and attention-grabbing supporting players like Owen Wilson and Maria Bello. If only its storytelling took another avenue, or if only it were tighter and more extensive.

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