Saturday, March 5, 2011

Overnight, Troy Duffy, The Boondock Saints

I remember many years ago. It was the only episode of thirtysomething [sic] I ever saw. One of the guys in his thirties is given the task of directing a commercial. He runs the gamut of emotions. He starts out acting like some sort of cinematic genius until his son asks him what the first thing is he will do when they start filming. He realizes he had no idea what he's doing.

That thought crossed my mind watching the documentary, Overnight. If Harvey Weinstein handed you fifteen million dollars to make a movie, how would you go about it? What you probably wouldn't do is get drunk every night, stagger into meetings with your benefactor hung over wearing overalls, verbally abuse everyone around you, shout threats and obscenities over the phone....

When things start to go bad, Troy Duffy wonders, "Could we threaten people more?"

The documentary was going to be about the making of the movie Boondock Saints, but it ended up being about Troy Duffy's self-destruction.

Duffy was a loud obnoxious bartender/bouncer. He and members of a band he was in had moved to Los Angeles to pursue their musical career. He wrote the script, The Boondock Saints, a vigilante story. When another producer shows interest in it, Harvey Weinstein snatches it up without reading it. He offers Duffy a better deal which includes, among other things, a recording contract for the band.

From Roger Ebert's review:
[Duffy] is very full of himself. At one point he actually says that Harvey Weinstein would like to be him. He keeps all of the money, tells the guys in the band they will get paid later, later tells them they don't deserve a dime, and still later tells them, "You do deserve it, but you're not gonna get it." He is deeply satisfied with himself: "We got a deep cesspool of creativity here," he says, and boasts "this is the first time in history they've signed a band sight unseen." Also, he might have reflected, sound unheard. As he's acting out his ego trip, the camera shows the others in the room looking at him with what can only be described as extremely fed-up expressions. His family, we sense during one scene, has been listening to this blowhard for a lifetime, and although they are happy to share his success, they're sort of waiting to see how he screws up.
And screw up he does. Of course.

So, well. It's a pretty entertaining documentary. Far better than The Boondock Saints turned out to be. I guess I'm not giving anything away here. The movie does eventually get made at a fraction of the original budget.

According to the co-director of the documentary: "Troy seemed to revel in the attention of Hollywood's lights and our cameras. Only three times during the production did he ask not to be filmed. It was on those occasions that he threatened us."

Ray Carney, the Boston University prof, appears briefly in the movie. There's a link to his website on here. Duffy speaks to Carney's class with predictable results.

Well, even if Duffy had been a nice guy, it would probably have ended badly. Then the documentary would have been a cautionary tale about the dangers of being nice rather than the dangers of being a big obnoxious drunk.

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