Be Cool: Wikis


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Be Cool

Theatrical release poster
Directed by F. Gary Gray
Produced by F. Gary Gray
Danny DeVito
Michael Shamberg
Written by Novel
Elmore Leonard
Peter Steinfeld
Starring John Travolta
Uma Thurman
Vince Vaughn
Cedric the Entertainer
Andre Benjamin
Steven Tyler
Robert Pastorelli
Christina Milian
Music by John Powell
Cinematography Jeffrey L. Kimball
Editing by Sheldon Kahn
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) March 7, 2005
Running time 118 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $53 million
Gross revenue $95,216,056
Preceded by Get Shorty

Be Cool is a 2005 American comedy film which was adapted from a 1999 novel. The book was the sequel to the 1990 novel Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard (itself adapted into a hit 1995 film) about mobster Chili Palmer's entrance into the film industry.

The film adaptation of Be Cool began production in 2003. It was directed by F. Gary Gray, produced by Danny DeVito (who produced and co-starred in the first film), and starred John Travolta, reprising his role from the first film. The movie opened in March 2005 to generally negative reviews,[1] and was released to video and DVD distribution on June 7, 2005.



Chili Palmer (John Travolta) helps Edie Athens (Uma Thurman), the widow of an executed friend, Tommy Athens (James Woods), to resurrect a record company using the talents of young and talented female vocalist and songwriter, Linda Moon (Christina Milian). The plot is complicated by several facts:

  • A loan-shark subplot from Get Shorty of "who owns who", Chili makes deals and owns all the players as a "producer".
  • The Russian Mafia are trying to kill Chili because he witnessed the execution of Athens.
  • Athens' record company owes money to a gangster/producer, Sin LaSalle (Cedric the Entertainer).

Chili Palmer, tired of filmmaking, enters the music industry when his friend, Tommy Athens and owner of a record company, is executed by the head of the Russian mob, which Chili witnesses. Chili uses the opportunity to help his friend's widow, Edie Athens, manage the failing business, which owes $300,000 to the hip hop producer Sin LaSalle. Chili enters the music industry on the talents of a female entertainer, Linda Moon. Moon convinces Chili to take on her cause, getting out of contractual obligations to Nick Carr (Harvey Keitel) and Raji (Vince Vaughn), who has a gay Samoan bodyguard named Eliott (The Rock), an aspiring actor and the butt of Carr and Raji's homophobic jokes. Carr and Raji take exception to Chili's intervention, and hire a hitman, Joe "Loop" Lupino (Robert Pastorelli) to kill Chili. In the meantime, Chili convinces Edie to produce Moon, hoping to resurrect Athens' failing record company through a live performance with Aerosmith and Steven Tyler.

LaSalle threatens Chili and Edie for payment of the $300,000, but they convince him to give them a few days to get the money plus the vig. When the Russians attempt to kill Chili, Joe Loop mistakenly kills Ivan Argianiyev (George Fisher), the Russian Mob hitman. Raji then kills Loop with a bat after Loop "disrespects" him. After Chili talks Linda into leaving Carr and his girl group, Carr tries to trick Chili by handing him a pawn ticket, claiming that Linda's contract was at the pawn shop owned by the Russians. This is actually a set-up by Carr to get Chili killed.

Knowing about this trick, Chili hands the ticket to Edie, who turns it over to the police. Now the cops, instead of Chili, pay the Russians a visit. Believing that Carr tricked him, Bulkin and his men pay a visit to Carr's office while Sin LaSalle and the DubMD's are there. Insulted by Bulkin's racist remarks (while LaSalle himself also makes racist remarks the whole time), LaSalle kills him. In the meantime, Raji sends Elliot to kill Chili. However, Chili befriends Elliot and tells him that he can help him out with his acting career. When Carr threatens Chili, Chili sends him to the hands of the police with a pawn ticket. Finally when Raji and Elliot threaten Chili, Chili again befriends Elliot, who turns on Raji after learning that Chili gotten him an audition for a film and Raji erased the evidence of it on his BlackBerry. For all his smooth talking and flamboyant wardrobe, Raji finds himself in a firework conflagration which roasts him live on camera. Carr is arrested on murder charges when they find him with the bat used to kill Joe Loop.

During all of this confusion, Chili squeezes in a dance scene with Edie (a nod to his "Twist Contest" scene, also with Thurman, in Pulp Fiction) and Moon gets her debut with Aerosmith. Finally, LaSalle becomes the producer for Moon and Elliot embarks on a successful acting career (his first film is with Nicole Kidman).





The film's soundtrack was released on March 1, 2005. The track listing is as follows:

  1. Fantasy - Earth, Wind & Fire
  2. Hollywood Swinging - Kool & the Gang
  3. Be Thankful for What You Got - William DeVaughn
  4. Roda - Elis Regina
  5. Sexy - Black Eyed Peas
  6. Suga Suga (Reggae Remix) - Baby Bash
  7. The Boss - James Brown
  8. Ain't No Reason - Christina Milian
  9. Believer- Christina Milian
  10. Brand New Old Skool - 777
  11. G's & Soldiers - Planet Asia featuring Kurupt
  12. Cool Chill (instrumental) - composed by John Powell
  13. A Cowboy's Work Is Never Done - Sonny & Cher
  14. You Ain't Woman Enough - The Rock

Songs featured the film but not included in the soundtrack are:

  • "Act A Ass" - E-40
  • "Autumn Blue"
  • Best of My Love - Christina Milian, Carol Duboc, and Minae Noji
  • "Beethoven's 9th" - Dean Hurley
  • "Brazilian Day" - XMAN
  • "Chattanooga Choo Choo" - Steve Lucky & The Rhumba Bums
  • "Cooliest" - Jimi Englund
  • Cryin' - Aerosmith and Christina Milian
  • "Deanstone" - Dean Hurley
  • "(Everytime I Hear) That Mellow Saxophone" - Steve Lucky & The Rhumba Bums
  • "Heistus Interruptus"
  • "Kiss Me" - Sixpence None the Richer
  • "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" - Bob Dylan
  • "Lady Marmalade - Carol Duboc and Minae Noji
  • "La Primavera"
  • "Melbourne Mansion"
  • "Memories" - Eisley (video visible in background)
  • "Me So Horny" - 2 Live Crew
  • "Moving On"
  • "Praia de Genipabu" - Barbara Mendes
  • "Rock It Like Diss" - Jahmaal Rashad
  • "Santa Monica Man" - Dean Hurley
  • "Short Pimp" - Noah Lifschey and Dylan Berry
  • "Strings In Velvet" - Manfred Minnich
  • "Travel Russia #2" - The Dollhouse Players
  • "Wild Out" - Cheming (featuring XMAN)

Box office totals

  • Production budget: $53,000,000
  • Est. Marketing Costs: N/A (based on number of theaters that released it, possibly between 20 and 30 million dollars)
  • Domestic: $56,046,979 (58.8%)
  • Overseas: $39,169,077 (41.2%)
  • Worldwide: $95,216,056
  • Went to No.1 its opening weekend collecting over 23m.

Differences between the film and the novel

There are many differences between the novel Be Cool and the film adaptation. Some of the most prominent are:

  • The film tends to focus on pop music, with Linda Moon being a pop artist. In the novel, Linda Moon is part of a rock band named Odessa, who are described as "AC/DC meets Patsy Cline".
  • In the novel, Sin LaSalle's name is Sin Russell. He is not sophisticated or intelligent, as he is depicted in the film. He and his rap group do not play a large role in the plot of the novel either, barely appearing in it. Most of them are either killed or put in intensive care after a shoot-out with the Russians.
  • The Russians run a 1-Hour photo business, not a Pawn Shop.
  • The Russians play a smaller role in the novel's plot than the film's. Chili still manages to turn Sin and his rappers against the Russians, but it culminates in a shoot-out half way through the novel. Neither party returns later in the plot.
  • Raji is not a young, white man that acts black in the novel. In the novel, he is a short black man in his 50s, less humorous and more malevolent.
  • In the novel, Linda Moon is a non-Hispanic white and tends to use mildly racist terms, calling blacks "colored" throughout the book.
  • Sin's rap group is known as Ropa-Dope, not DubMDs.
  • The film totally excludes Chili's love interest Elaine, who was also left out of the film version of Get Shorty, as well. Chili does not pursue a relationship with Edie, as he does in the film.
  • Nick Carr's name is Nick Car, which is short for Nicky Carcaterra. He has no involvement in Raji's plot to kill Chili Palmer, nor is he an antagonist.

The connections and similarities with the previous film

As a sequel, this movie connects or has similar plots to pay enough homage to its previous work. Several of these connections and similarities are directly from their respective books.

  • Chili Palmer repeats several tropes, behaviors and catch-phrases from the first film.
  • After Chili's first break-in in the first movie, its waking the host by using sound of TV style is repeated by many intruders in both movies. Besides this waking break-in, two movies also contain some awaiting break-in.
  • Tommy's intern testifies that Tommy punched the Russian mob in the eye just like the scene in Get Leo, which is actually based on the punch Chili delivered to Ray Barboni in the first movie.
  • The name of his former partner, Harry Zimm from the first movie appears on the commercial board as a director of the sequel to the fictional "film within a film" _Mr. LoveJoy_.
  • In both movies, Chili uses his charm and power of perception and befriends the under-appreciated second bananas sent to rough him up; in the first movie Bear (James Gandolfini), Eliot (Dwayne Johnson) in the second.
  • The main antagonist in each movie ends up being busted by the cops after a series of setups.
  • Similar to the "Cadillac of minivans" remark about the Oldsmobile Silhouette in Get Shorty, the Honda Insight is referred to as the "Cadillac of gas-electric Hybrids".

Inside jokes

Like Get Shorty, Be Cool portrays ironic self-referential gags, intertwining fact and fiction as a comedic device:

  • At the beginning of the movie, Chili sees the commercial of Get Lost, which is the sequel to Get Leo, the film within a film he produced in the first movie, and shows the unwillingness to produce a sequel despite the fact he is a character being played as in this sequel. The first line of the movie is Chili disgustedly dismissing the commercial.
  • Tommy proposes the idea of making a movie about a young singer who wants to make herself big with the help of a record mogul who makes it happen which becomes the main plot of this movie. Almost every factor Tommy mentioned in his pitch, such as gangsta rappers and the Russian mafia, ends up happening in the movie.
  • When the idea is brought up to Steven Tyler, he vehemently rejects the possibility of being in a movie and declares that he is not one of those singers does bit-part cameos in films, despite the fact he is playing himself in this movie.
  • The one time the word "fuck" is used in the movie is talking about the MPAA's policy that "fuck" can only be said once in a PG-13 movie without bumping the rating up to R (In this film, Chili uses the word "fuck" once, in the first scene, the line goes: "Unless you are willing to use the R rating you can only say the 'f' word once. You know what I say, fuck that.")
  • Harvey Keitel says something about looking for somebody "from dusk till dawn", a thinly veiled reference to the 1996 Quentin Tarantino written film in which he co-starred.
  • Edie asks Chili if he knows how to dance (then proceeds to dance with him), referencing the duo's twist scene in Pulp Fiction, another Tarantino film.


Be Cool was poorly received by critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, 29% of critics considered the film to be "fresh" with an average 4.6/10 rating. The site's top critics were even harsher, with only a 14% "fresh" rating.


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