Posted to www.marxmail.org on January 10, 2006


The documentary “Overnight” does for the entertainment industry what “Startup.com” did for the dot.com craze of the 1990s. It reveals the self-delusion and grubby ambitions of the principals who show not the slightest inkling that they are doomed to fail.

If you’ve seen “Startup.com,” (co-directed by Jehane Noujaim, who went on to direct the brilliant film on Al-Jazeera titled “The Control Room), you’ll remember how Kaleil Isaza Tuzman would assure his employees that Govworks.com was practically preordained to strike it rich. He and his company eventually crash and burn.


If anything, Troy Duffy is even more of an ego-tripper than Tuzman. He is a transplanted Bostonian who has been working on a screenplay titled “The Boondock Saints” when he is not tending bar in Los Angeles. As the film starts, he has just learned that Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has not only decided to produce the film, he has bought the bar that Duffy works in and made him co-owner. In addition, a rock band called “The Brood” that consists of Duffy, his brother Taylor and an entourage from Boston is on the verge of lining up a recording contract, largely on the basis of the commercial success that surely awaits the film’s release. In the opening scenes of the documentary, Troy Duffy is making one speech after another to his enthralled entourage to the effect that the world is their oyster.


Eventually, he and Weinstein have a falling out and the film becomes a risky undertaking. Nobody in Hollywood wants to get on Weinstein’s wrong side apparently. But it would be difficult for anybody watching the film to not have the suspicion that there was less to Duffy and his creative talents than meets the eye. From every indication, Duffy had positioned himself as the next Quentin Tarantino, with all the expected hype about his street credibility as a bartender from Boston.


Eventually “The Boondock Saints” was produced by a small independent studio but was only released for a brief time in a handful of theaters. “The Brood” also finally made their record, but their contract was terminated when it only sold 695 copies! “Overnight” does note that “The Boondock Saints” has achieved some success as a DVD geared to college students, but an Internet review suggests that they probably must be stoned or drunk to get anything out of it:


“The storyline centers around Connor McManus (Sean Patrick Flanery) and his fraternal twin Murphy (Norman Reedus). They are Irishmen who live in a Boston neighborhood that is mostly controlled by the Russian mafia. Tired of being bullied, they start to form the belief that God wants them to dispose of the bad guys. Their call to action comes in the form of a sermon in which the priest talks about the indifference of good people. Not long after that, they encounter some Russians who are trying to forcefully take over a bar that they frequent. They choose to fight, and the Russians end up dead. After taking the dead Russians' guns and money, Connor and Murphy realize that they can make a better living by disposing of bad guys than they can from the menial jobs they currently have. They end up going to the police station and telling FBI agent Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe) that they killed the Russians in self-defense.”


Full: http://screenrant.com/archives/review_the_boondock_saints.html


In the final scenes of the film, members of Troy Duffy’s entourage are seen working in the same menial jobs they started off in while his bar is being demolished. In the last frame, you see the words of journalist Albert Goldman (author of a memorable book detailing the rise and fall of Elvis Presley, the ultimate symbol of the ambivalence of success in the entertainment world):


“No man is really changed by success. What happens is that success works on a man’s personality like a truth drug, bringing him out of the closet and revealing…what was always inside his head.”


“Overnight” is available at your better video rental stores and on the Internet. It is mordantly fascinating from beginning to end.