A Movie A Day #31: Overnight (2003, directed by Tony Montana and Mark Brian Smith)


overnightThe year is 1997 and Troy Duffy is on top of the world.  The Boston-bred Troy is a bartender and bouncer who has just sold his first script to Harvey Weinstein and Miramax.  Weinstein is not only going to give him fifteen million dollars to make The Boondock Saints but he is also going to help Troy buy his own bar.  Troy’s band, The Brood, is on the verge of signing a contract with Maverick Records.  Stars like Mark Wahlberg and Ewan McGregor are eager to meet with him, though Duffy offends McGregor with his outspoken support of the death penalty.  Miramax suggests that Duffy should cast Sylvester Stallone, Keanu Reeves and Ethan Hawke in his movie.  Duffy calls Keanu a “fucking punk.”

The year is 1998 and Troy Duffy is no longer on the top of the world.  He’s in his apartment, chain-smoking, drinking, and cursing Harvey Weinstein.  Duffy has managed to offend everyone at Miramax and The Boondock Saints has been put into turn around.  When Duffy finally does find someone willing to produce his film, he has to settle for a budget this is half of what Weinstein was originally willing to provide.  Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, the legendary Doobie Brother himself, is producing The Brood’s first album but he thinks that Troy’s brother, Taylor, is the band’s breakout star.  The other members of the Brood are growing tired of Troy’s ego.

The year is 2000.  The Boondock Saints goes unsold at Cannes.  When it finally does get a release, it only plays in five theaters and is pulled after a week.  Though the film finds success on video, the contract that Troy signed prevents him from making any money off of it.  The Brood’s debut CD sells less than 700 copies.  Consumed by paranoia, Troy drives away all of his family and friends.  When he’s invited to speak at a film class at Boston University, he ends up verbally assaulting even those who compliment him.  Convinced that he’s being targeted, Troy goes into semi-hiding.

It’s a familiar story, one that has happened to many aspiring filmmakers.  What made Troy Duffy unique was that he invited two of his friends, Tony Montana and Mark Brian Smith, to film him while it happened.  Duffy was hoping the end result would be a portrait of a genius at the start of his career but, instead, the documentary became a portrait of a talented man destroyed by a combination of ego and paranoia.

Overnight is usually described as being a cautionary tale but, as opposed to the filmmakers at the center of documentaries like American Movie and Hearts of Darkness, Troy Duffy comes across like he was probably an asshole even before he was discovered by Harvey Weinstein.  As a result, Troy Duffy is never a sympathetic figure but it’s still interesting to see how crazy things got.  If you’re a fan of either Boondock Saints or its sequel, Overnight is required viewing.