6.3/10
6,449
54 user 30 critic

Permanent Midnight (1998)

Trailer
2:13 | Trailer

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ON DISC
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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Photos

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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:

A nap árnyékos oldalán See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$260,562, 20 September 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,166,199, 8 November 1998
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

Jerry Stahl: The real Jerry Stahl has a cameo as Dr. Lazarus. ("Lazarus" is on his name plate on his white coat.) See more »

Goofs

After Jerry picks up his daughter from Sandra to babysit her (at approximately [1:01:40]), he can be seen driving down the road sitting on the right hand side of the car. This is not consistent with other scenes in the movie and furthermore, the driver is clearly not Ben Stiller. 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 Moonlighting (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

HONEY
Performed, Written and Produced by Moby
Published by Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. (BMI)
o/b/o Itself and The Little Idiot Music
Contains a Sample of Bessie Jones' Recording "Sometimes"
Produced Under License from Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
Courtesy of Mute Records Excluding North America
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User Reviews

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