A Documentary by Tony Montana & Mark Brian Smith
Jonny can’t believe his fricking eyes…
Holy crap! I’m not even entirely sure what I just witnessed. The idea of a documentary is that you are watching real people in real situations going about their lives; there is supposed to be some degree of reality. This shit, the film Overnight, simply cannot be real. I was just telling my roommate about the film and the monumental asshole-ish-ness possessed by its protagonist/antagonist Troy Duffy and he asked me if maybe the guy was hamming it up for the cameras. “People ham it up for documentaries all the time,” he advised me. I thought about his words for probably less than a second before answering back, “no way!” Overnight chronicles the meteoric rise and flaming, Mir-like descent back to earth (and then some) of Duffy over the span of four-years. Ain’t nobody alive who can ham it up for that long. Nobody.
First, let me state just how reprehensibly awful Troy’s film The Boondock Saints is. Rarely, I would say less than once a year, do I turn movies off. I made it through Swindle for Christ’s sake. I am tough and I can take the pain. But I turned it off with twenty-minutes to go. The Boondock Saints was beyond the pale. Bad in ways that few movies are. From the over-stylization of violence, to the nauseating worship of all things Irish, to Willem DeFoe prancing around like Andy Dick on ketamine to the stupefying faux-spiritualism that permeates every frame, Saints is a clusterfuck in a teapot — despite the presence of the great Ron Jeremy. Love you Ron, but that movie was ill shit! And I firmly believed that only a monster such as Duffy would have been capable of spawning such drek. Man, was I right.
In 1997 — somehow — Miramax’s big cheese Harvey Weinstein decides that twenty-five-year old West Hollywood bouncer/bartender Troy Duffy is the next Tarantino. Aside from purchasing the Saints script (described incredibly as “Pulp Fiction with soul), Harvey is going to let Duffy direct the film, get his band signed and buy him the fucking bar. Boom! Here’s the world on a platter — eat up kid. Calling Duffy unrefined is an insult to crude oil. Aside from announcing to his mother that he was happy when they “fried that motherfucker” at the end of Dead Man Walking, calling Keanu Reeves and Ethan Hawk cocksucking, talent-less hacks (not disagreeing — but then I will never have to potentially work with them), explaining to Kenneth Branagh’s answering machine that he hates answering machines (while trying to cast Branagh) — aside from all the really obvious stuff, he is vicious, cruel and frankly spiteful to those closest to him. His band, the laughably named, “The Brood,” is comprised of his younger brother and two other heshian-dorks who utter three sentences over the course of four years. He holds band meetings from behind a conference table, berates everyone, and is constantly threatening to fire any of them if they don’t get with his program/do their part.
Much like the narrative of his film, Duffy is never able to explain what this “part” is. He speaks (and speaks and speaks and speaks and speaks) often of “opportunity” and “hard work” but consistently manages to blow the greatest opportunity given to anyone ever and he never does a lick of actual work. The second anything is every asked of him, he backs against a wall and begins screaming of back-stabbing, imagined conspiracies and how everyone else has let him down. Sure, according to Duffy, “The Brood” is the greatest band of all time and they will be playing benefit concerts for the armed forces in a month’s time (just to show how much they appreciate the troops — in 1997!), but the band is all him. And when the band fails it is the fault of everyone else in the band except for him. Even though he is the band. Get it? He didn’t. More stupefying is the fact that Madonna’s label Maverick signs “The Brood” without ever having heard them. Not a note. If you, like me, are one of the many out there who has ever entertained the pie-in-the-sky notion that one day, maybe, you could earn a living with your music, insert knife in heart now. But, Duffy being Duffy, he fucks the Maverick deal up. “The Brood” then gets signed to Atlantic Records (who, in one of the saddest and most pathetic gestures I’ve ever witnessed, pays the band $1,000 each in cash which they greedily and needily shove into their grimy pockets) and are given $250,000 to record a record. Like total amateurs “The Brood” opts to record the record at some New England farm house where the Stones like to record. Oh, and after six months on the shelf nationally, their record sells 690 copies. That number is not a typo — Atlantic drops them.
I’m getting off track, as the villain here — and an all time villain at that — is Troy himself. Now, he of course has surrounded himself with like-minded assholes, but his megalomaniacal paranoia coupled with his tiny intellect make him out to be much, much worse. An asshole of the highest order. In one of the most dumbfounding, unbelievable scenes I ever watched in my life, the two filmmakers (who are also acting as “The Brood’s” managers) are getting tossed out of their homes because they have no money. Duffy’s attitude has been, “just wait — stick with me and you’ll be rich — some day.” The two ask the band if they can borrow some money against future earnings now that they have been signed by Atlantic to a five-record deal. Duffy and his brother balk at the notion — these two are not in the band, why should they get any money? They don’t deserve it. Now, of course, at core, humans are greedy, petty little creatures so this reaction was not entirely unexpected. What happens next, is. Smith and Montana (the filmmakers) explain to the band that, yes, they do in fact deserve money since they have been working the entire time for the band and played a key role in getting them a second record deal, Duffy acknowledges that yes, they do deserve the money he’s just not going to give them any. I was flabbergasted. Five minutes later Duffy describes Atlantic records as “Jewish” for not giving them more money (again — $250,000 to a band without a demo tape) and the recording engineers as their “enemies.” Hitler’s brain barely functioned like this.
Normally, I would think, a film such as Overnight would be an indictment of the Hollywood system and all that it promotes, bolsters and upholds. Oddly, weirdly and fantastically, Troy Duffy is such a bitch-faced asshole that there is no way I can possibly take his side. Ostensibly he, Duffy, is the “little guy” fighting the three-headed giant of Harvey, Miramax and Hollywood, yet my natural inclination to root for the underdog goes out the window every time Troy opens his bitch-ass, ungrateful mouth. I’m hoping for him to fail, begging for him to get chewed up and spat out, praying on my hands and knees to imaginary sky-gods I don’t believe in for bad things to befall Troy Duffy. At a film festival in Palm Springs that is actually for some reason screening Boondock, Troy and his brother are nearly killed when a car suddenly and mysteriously lunges at them. They escape unharmed. I snapped my fingers, “almost!” As my best friend opined after watching Overnight, “What an asshole!!” Obviously, the film to a large degree is more than a little bit of comeuppance from Smith and Montana for being treated so miserably by Mr. Duffy. And that is fine by me. The ending shot of Duffy — fat, bald, and ruined at twenty-nine-years-old standing in front of the bar that was to bare his name just before it gets torn down… you got to love happy endings.