Overnight (2003) movie poster

(2003) dir. Tony Montana, Mark Brian Smith
viewed: 12/30/09

Overnight is the part two of my The Boondock Saints (1999)-themed double feature.  And I recommend the opportunity to watch them together in that order.  The film The Boondock Saints is a good indie film about two Irish brothers who go on a killing spree in Boston, taking down primarilly the Russian mafia, but most importantly only “bad guys”.  And this film, Overnight is sort of a “making of” film, though it’s much more than that, as the story is really the rise and fall of Troy Duffy, the “rags to riches” writer/director of The Boondock Saints and the “inner circle” of his life.

Duffy came to Los Angeles to make it big somehow, but like so many people, he had a day job, as a bartender in a working class Irish bar, off the Hollywood insider beat.  And his first passion was his band, The Brood, who he treated like family (especially since his brother was a primary member too).  In fact, the directors of this documentary were supposedly the band’s co-managers, part of a group that Duffy called “The Syndicate” who would collaborate on music and films and make lots and lots of money.

So, between shifts, Duffy wrote the screenplay for The Boondock Saints and Harvey Weinstein “discovered” him and made a huge to-do about it, buying his script, giving him a final cut and directorial powers, a $15 million budget, and buys the bar to co-own it with Duffy.  The story makes big fodder, even getting Duffy on the cover of US Magazine and in Variety and sudden fame, rubbing shoulders with numerous celebrities.  And then the band gets (or seems to get) a record deal with Madonna’s record label.  The world is Duffy’s oyster and he knows it.

Actually, for Troy Duffy, he believes it and it goes directly to his head.  What ensues is bravado and bragging, putting his tough guy, blue collar attitude into the Hollywood boardroom world, while at first an interesting contrast, eventually ends up alienating Miramax and they put the film into turnaround (shelve it, basically, disowned it).  Duffy evolves into a monster, bossing around his brother and his friends, his bandmates, and entire inner circle.  The band loses their record deal, eventually gets another one.

Duffy is convinced that he is the only one who knows what’s what, that he is a Wunderkind, that he is the most amazing human being and everybody else is a complete idiot.  He weasels his way out of sharing the wealth and falls out with his brother and his band.  Really, it’s pretty amazing that he got The Boondock Saints made at all, much less that it’s a pretty good film.

It’s kind of like a rock-n-roll documentary, not entirely unlike DiG! (2004), following an amazingly self-destructive egomaniac, who while talented, is a moral monster.

Now, clearly, directors Tony Montana, and Mark Brian Smith had an axe to grind.  They were promised to share the wealth as they worked for the band and other Troy Duffy projects without pay and Troy sells them out.  They even admit in some extras that they only stuck through with it, taking his abuse, because they knew that had a good documentary on their hands, which had started following the rise of a friend and wound up following the trajectory of a bastard.  So, how discolored or colored is this documentary?  Duffy almost refutes it, but the directors swear that they had a lot of worse material to add in if they wanted to totally “damn” him.

They put a quote up at the end of the film that says that success doesn’t “change” people but rather gives them the avenue to become more of who they really are.  This is in contrast to the concept that “money” “fame” “success” changes everything.  Well, for Duffy, it did.

But somehow, many years later, he finally got another chance to direct, the sequel to his popular cult film.  So, though I’ve heard that it’s not supposed to be very good, I am now interested in seeing it.

This is a fascinating double feature if you ever get the chance.  It’s quite a study to see the film and then a “making of” that isn’t just some coddling “extra” on a DVD, but rather a glimpse into the pit of the ego and the horrid effect that “success” can have.