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.
Ben Stiller stars in this adaptation of Jerry Stahl’s gripping autobiography of the same name, chronicling the author’s rise and fall from acclaimed television writer to burned-out heroin addict. (Netflix)
Even as a kid I can remember thinking, “Whoever came up with ALF must be a weird guy.”
Fast forward a couple decades and add some general knowledge about drug addicts and that translates into, “Whoever came up with ALF must have been on some really strong drugs.”
Turns out I was right!
PERMANENT MIDNIGHT is the bio-pic based on Jerry Stahl’s memoir, Stahl being the creative mind behind everyone’s favorite cat-hungry Alien Life Form. I didn’t find anything remarkable in terms of the story. Stahl’s struggle with heroine addiction,…
A clever mix of behind-the-scenes, gossipy Hollywood memoir and a true life drama about heroin addiction. Ben Stiller is on excellent form as Jerry Stahl: ALF-alike sitcom writer by-day, junkie also by-day.
The supporting cast don't get much to do but Maria Bello makes the biggest impression as Stahl's fatalistic soulmate, with the doomed nature of their relationship proving the film's hook.
It doesn't rewrite any rulebooks but it's a confidently handled biopic. It is enlivened by having each element of Stahl's multiple lives seem distinct from each other in an echo of the way his life was seemingly compartmentalised.
Permanent Midnight offers a relatively atypical role for Ben Stiller, as he plays real-life TV writer/heroin addict Jerry Stahl. As a whole, this film was rather fleeting and uneven, but to my surprise, it wasn't terrible. The performances were on par, and script is laden with sense of dark humor that often dwells on morbidity. It is more autobiographical and episodic than it is plot-based, but it is still rather well put together. This film definitely isn't for everyone, but I found it to be of considerable merit.
Should of pulled back on the 90s cool and focused a bit more on characters and heart, but the performances and energy are worth a viewing.
Seeing a guy shoot heroin into his neck while his infant daughter is sitting next to him in a car doesn't exactly inspire sympathy in me. Nice try, though.
Coming just months before Ben Stiller’s breakthrough hit with There’s Something About Mary, Permanent Midnight sees the comedian playing it a good deal straighter as heroin-addicted television writer Jerry Stahl, whose memoirs form the basis of the screenplay. Stahl’s is a sad story of Hollywood excess and the emptiness of a flashy existence, seeing him wed an executive so that she can gain a green card and he the favour of her influence. For all the interest of so candid a glimpse behind the working of the studios in the 1980s, though, this is an oddly self-serving work, making Stahl the hero of his own tale despite the despicability of his actions. Writer/director David Veloz has Stiller play Stahl as…
3 out of 5 (B-)