C’mon, This Is Boondock… Don’t Screw Around!

OvernightIn 1997, Troy Duffy was poised to be the next Quentin Tarantino. Well, maybe the next Robert Rodriguez. He was, for a very brief time, Harvey Weinstein’s pet and Weinstein’s Miramax Films was going to produce Troy’s first-ever script, The Boondocks Saints.  Miramax was going to shell out $15 million to make the movie and allow Duffy, who had never directed even so much as a home video, to direct. But soon enough Harvey got bored with Duffy, or more likely found him to actually be an unoriginal, slightly psychotic bore, and stopped returning his phone calls, which one could do if one was Harvey in 1997 (today not so much). A person would have had to work pretty hard to be more irritating than Harvey Weinstein in 1997 but Troy Duffy managed it.

This is all documented in the film Overnight, which outlines Troy’s quick rise and fall. After a flurry of activity (Weinstein even promised to buy the bar Troy worked at, promising that the two of them would co-own it) and media attention, he spent the next 7 or so years drifting back down to the bottom of the muddy river bed from which he emerged. In theory, this is sad. But when you watch the documentary, you want nothing more than to personally escort him back under his rock. Not that he needed anyone’s help. He does fine with becoming irrelevant all on his own.

Like my grandfather always said, “It’s hard to like a paranoid delusional who has a streak of sadomasochism thrown in.”

Example: Somehow Troy’s band, The Brood, which he started with his brother, manages to get a record deal (originally The Brood was going to do the soundtrack for Boondocks Saints and I lost track of how that failed to happen but it failed to happen). Troy proceeds to tell his brother and other band members that they aren’t getting any of the signing money because they have done no work, therefore they don’t deserve anything. His brother argues that they came out to L.A. specifically to focus on the band, not Troy’s movie career, and that he’s consistently worked on the band and its music, pretty much to the exclusion of everything else in his life. I mean, these are guys who don’t have a whole lot anyway. They live in shitty apartments they are always one step away from losting, their skin is the color of chalk left out in the rain, etc. etc.  Troy tells his brother that he deserves nothing, that he has never worked or contributed a thing, that he won’t ever see a dime. He also says, “I love you man, but I don’t trust you.” Interestingly enough, his brother does not quit the band!

There is a lot of yelling in the film. A lot of swearing. Everyone, even children and hamsters, are motherfuckers. Everyone is out to get Troy; no one wants him to have any success and no one believes he can do it. Also, no one has ever, in the history of entertainment, ever tried to do what he was doing, which was to be on top in both music and movies ( he meant specifically directing  movies, as there are only about a thousand examples of actors who also sing). But no one in his posse is ever brave enough, or smart enough, to come up with counter examples. Let’s see… Barbra Streisand?

And the other thing no one says is… well, the reason a lot of directors probably aren’t putting out music is because they’re directors and their lives revolve around their movie projects. It would kind of be like Martin Scorese putting out an album of jazz standards in between X and Shutter Island. And for successful bands and/or singers, their lives are the music and they are continually putting together new songs, albums, etc. It would be like Bono directing the next Harry Potter movie (uh, that sounds like it could actually happen…)

And.. um… this concentrating on what you’re most devoted to… is that a bad thing? Otherwise don’t you end up like Howard Stern, Mr. King of All Media, really being king of no media (albeit rich?)

And what no one in the film can point out, because he clearly either wouldn’t listen, is that it’s not so great to be doing two things badly and with a lack of grace.  The album The Brood eventually puts out sells about 600 copies and, although the documentary doesn’t include any footage of them playing as a band (which is kind of odd, now that I think about it, but probably had something to do with Duffy not wanting anyone to actually see The Brood perform and steal their act), what one does hear of Duffy noodling around on a guitar is no great shakes.

But what it all comes back around to anyway is Troy Duffy’s complete lack of  likability. In the movie industry, I think you can only be unlikable or despicable if you’re putting out top level stuff. People will forgive you a lot – drug and alcohol problems, temper tantrums, encounters with 13-year-old girls in hot tubs – if you’re putting out genius films. This ain’t gonna happen for Boondocks Saints.

And what’s so weird about Duffy’s temper is that it’s off the charts no matter what the situation. He has the same level of reaction whether it’s getting dropped by Miramax or someone cutting in front of him in line at the grocery store. The conversation in the movie all goes something like this:

“Fuck you all, motherfuckers, no one has ever done what I’m trying to do. I’m in line here, shopping, doing what no one else has ever done, which is fucking grocery shop, and everyone is letting me down. This lady here, in front of me, she’s not moving fast enough. That guy there, working the register? He’s a spy for Harvey Weinstein. I’m going to smash Harvey Weinstein into little pieces and bury a piece in every state in the union and then feed the rest to sharks. Listen, motherfuckers, I’m buying ribs here! Ribs! The greatest ribs of all time. I know you’re doing to try to take these ribs away from me… But think twice…”

Right, like Phil Collins said, “Think twice.”

Towards the end of the documentary, The Boondock Saints goes to Cannes and fails to get distribution. Everyone passes. Finally, in 2006, the movie got a theatrical release because Duffy got the rights back. Here is his announcement on YouTube. Notice who’s screwing him over now…

His sequel to The Boondock Saints, The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day came out in October of 2009. Why or how Peter Fonda and Billy Connolly are in it is beyond my guess.

“Let’s do some gratuitous violence!”

So what does Troy Duffy think of Overnight? In an interview with comingsoon.net, he said:

“I think I almost should say “thank you” to those guys sometimes. It’s helped make me more controversial than I actually am, and controversy in this business is worth its weight in gold. Unfortunately it’s not true. I worked very hard just to be able to do what I do, and sometimes that film does not necessarily help out, but the net that it’s cast is like, “Troy’s this crazy, John Huston, f*ckin’ weird controversial guy,” and sometimes that does work for me, you know? So thanks for that, douchebags.”