Sunday, November 21, 2004

Nobody Deserves Failure More

So, a kind reader, noticing that I wanted to see the upcoming (or is it released?) documentary 'Overnight', sent me a VHS copy, explaining that 'my girl works at a film festival'. Well, thanks Aaron, and thank your girlfriend for me. Let me offer a little background. Despite my best efforts at cultivating a completely repellent personality, I did have some friends in Hawaii. One of my friends knew that I liked doing things that people in Hawaii generally avoid, like reading books, seeing movies that do not feature explosions and/or surfing, and listening to records that are not played on the multitude of lousy Hawaiian stations. This friend is a nice guy, but he smokes way too much pot. It's the first thing he does when he wakes up, he cannot go through the night without waking up in the middle of it to smoke more, and having known him for a decade, I don't think I have ever seen him sober. You can imagine how beneficial this was for his already lackluster thought process. Said friend recommended 'The Boondock Saints' to me numerous times, and even bought a used DVD of it from Blockbuster. This is significant, because it is the only DVD he owns, besides DVD's containing video games. I'd see my friend every couple of months and he would ask "you see 'The Boondock Saints' yet?", and I would always lie and say I was planning it. The truth is I had absolutely no desire to see it, thinking it to be typical post Tarantino intellectually deficient, irony laden, wanna be hipster garbage that is still invading our screens to this day. This movie does little to change my mind.

'Overnight' is about Troy Duffy, an egotistical, loud mouthed asshole who was given a million dollar directing deal by Harvey Weinstein, the bigwig of the Independent scene in the go-go 90's. Harvey, through Troy's agent at the William Morris Agency, got a copy of Troy's screenplay, 'The Boondock Saints', and offered him a million dollars to direct, with a fifteen million dollar budget. Keep in mind, that it is rare, even today, for an established Independent filmmaker's film to cost over five, and even ten is comparatively luxurious. Troy becomes the hot ticket in town, starts socializing with 'celebrities' like Patrick Swayze and Jeff Goldbloom and plays pool with dirty slime like Jake Busey. Even Mark Walhberg, who is noted for his eye for literature and love of reading, is shown complimenting Troy on his unshot screenplay. The cherry on top of Troy's deal is that his band, The Brood, will do the soundtrack for the movie, and even get a major label record deal.

Before Troy skyrocketed to overnight success, his compatriots, bandmates, and other aspiring Hollywood friends started a pie in the sky company called 'The Syndicate', thinking that they would takeover the industry. Once Troy, a fat, hard drinking, loudmouthed, arrogant, miserable fucking prick is validated with a ticket to the bigtime, he drags his sycophantic friends along for the ride (probably grooming them for prime entourage position). Some of these Syndicate folks are Troy's bandmates, including his little brother, and various long haired Los Angeles douchebags, and some are given various Producer positions on the film. Somebody asked the directors of 'Overnight' to document Troy's rise to success, as well as co manage the band. This is it. I bet someone is regretting that decision right now.

Of course, as Troy's personality drives everyone away, Miramax drops him like a hot potato. We get to hear Troy call Jerry Bruckheimer 'an idiot', deride (accurately) the talents of Ethan Hawke and Keaunu Reeves, talk about his own personal 'logpile' and 'deep cesspool' of 'creativity', and continually talk in such dizzying stream of self delusion and rationalization that it's difficult to keep track. He screams, yells, and once he fails, blames the other guy, because amongst other reasons, they are 'scared of him', and Harvey 'wants to be him'. Eventually another company produces the film for half the Miramax budget (but a decent budget irregardless), the film fails, Troy's band fails, and everyone involved except the filmmakers is now stuck in a miserable job, because of the one moron that ruined it for everyone.

'Overnight' isn't really a documentary, in the sense that Errol Morris or even Ken Burnes make documentaries, it's more like an entire season of an exceptionally entertaining reality TV show condensed into a brisk 81 minute chunk. The filmmakers, themselves idiots who were 'co-managing' Troy's generic band and were subsequently fired by Troy, obviously have an axe to grind. Their pedigree, being in the same social circle as the fuckers in 'The Syndicate', just puts them in the same group of ostensible 'friends' who didn't hesitate to fuck each other over once actual money is involved. We get to see the filmmakers bellyache during the course of the movie, as the ship sinks, and it is difficult to grant any sympathy to people that willingly decided to be opportunistic and work with such a monster.

I would have never believed after reading Peter Biskand's biased, unfair, and entertaining 'Down And Dirty Pictures' that Weinstein would ever manage to come across as a sympathetic person. That there is someone stalking the overrated corridors of Independent Film that is exponentially more of a dickhead is amazing indeed. Troy Duffy, you are that man. A former bouncer/bartender who continually reminds us that he is 'from the streets', Troy isn't likable for a single frame in the movie. I suspect if a pack of wild dogs tore Troy limb from limb halfway through the movie, audiences would cheer. Troy's bar, a West Hollywood Saloon on that most mean of streets, Melrose Ave., is presented by the clueless filmmakers to be a comfortable dive, as un 'Hollywood' as you can get. How come we see all the celebrities drinking their, then? A fuckhead from the Doobie brothers talks about how Troy's brother is the real brains behind The Brood (later renamed 'The Boondock Saints', and talks about how much he enjoys their utterly meritless music. We're supposed to believe that Troy's brother is some unsung hero, and not just a tangentially involved nobody, no different from thousands of other mediocre musicians, getting swept up in temporary mania. As you can well imagine, nobody gave the Director permission to use footage from 'The Boondock Saints', or to use full songs from Troy's spectacular failure of a band, so we are denied that fiasco.

We get to see Troy's mom, family when he takes a trip back to Boston. Troy's Mom is shown, and seems to be a decent person. But it begs the question, what kind of monster would raise such a fucking piece of garbage? Did they cut out the scene where she was torturing an animal or worshipping Satan? It doesn't matter, imagine the most arrogant asshole you know be given the keys to the kingdom, that's what the movie is. It's fun to watch assholes fail, and weather it's decrying the fact that he can't find a decent, intelligent female, intercut with him crudely coming on to a braindead stripper, or being nasty to film students, the filmmakers never try to portray Troy as anything less than a bottom feeding irredeemable piece of shit. My guess is that they couldn't no matter how long they shot for, the guy is just a jerk.

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