1998 / Director. David Zeloz.
Permanent Midnight is based on the autobiography by Jerry Stahl, a Hollywood writer who's life spiralled out of control due to a heroine addiction. He was a head writer for the tv series ALF and at the time he was earning $5000 a week and had a $6000 weekly drug habit. His story is legendary in Hollywood and his exploits rivalled those of Hunter S Thompson. Ben Stiller is perfectly cast as Stahl. He looks just like him and his performance is incredible... in fact he has never been better. The film is heavy and some of the scenes of him shooting up are grotesque and difficult to watch... a scene of him injecting heroine into his neck while he sits beside his baby daughter is heartbreaking. The film is also backed with some great support actors such as Maria Bello, Owen Wilson, Charles Fleischer, Janeane Garofolo, Fred Willard and Peter Greene. As the poster suggests, Elizabeth Hurley also stars but she's the weakest link in this chain. I've never considered her a good actor and she is sadly miscast in this one. Nevertheless it's a powerful film and most definitely a rarity for Ben Stiller. He puts his entire being into the role. Few people know about Permanent Midnight but anyone who enjoyed cult drug films like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or Requiem for a Dream will get a lot out of this.