Overnight

Overnight is about an evil genius. An evil genius as I define it is someone who is so obsessed over their creation that they disregard everything else in their life. Dr. Frankenstein is a great example of an evil genius. An evil genius is innately gifted but works so singly mindedly at this gift in order to create something so far beyond that anyone has ever seen that he destroys all of his opportunities and relationships with other people. Troy Duffy is the perfect example of an evil genius.

During Miramax’s height in the mid nineties, Harvey Weinstein could do no wrong. He paid off the right people, campaigned ceaselessly for nominations, dumped tons of money into promotion and snatched up original property with a vengeance that was unheard of. He basically gave off the vibe that he could make anything into a hit. One day he stumbled upon a bar in Boston that was bartended by a very charismatic person, Troy Duffy. Troy pitched him his idea for Boondock Saints and Mr. Weinstein agreed not only to buy the property, but he would also buy the bar that Mr. Duffy was currently working in so that he would have something to fall back on. He was going to be writing, directing, scoring, casting and producing this original property. He was big. He shot to the top of the who’s who list in Hollywood. Celebrities started to hang out at the bar he now “owned” and he talked to him all night and day about his plans. He employed his friends to become managers and documentarians. Forced them to give up their day jobs, moved them to Hollywood, and started the process of making a huge hit. Of course somewhere along the way everything started to fall apart. This documentary is the sketch of how it slowly started to fall apart.

Troy seems to do nothing throughout the film except yell at people either in person or on the phone and drink. There are no shots of him working on the script, meeting with the actors, or practicing the music that was to score the film. It is all him philosophizing about his sudden stardom and his sudden downfall. He thinks only of himself although he puts on this front that he cares about the people around him. He sees them only as hangers-on that need to be shaken off at the first given opportunity and not as collaborators which is what they should be. They work hard for his approval and without any financial backing what so ever. Several times during the process, the documentarian comes from behind the camera and expresses his frustration with having to be kicked out of his apartment, going without food, and putting in long hours only to be spit on by Troy. When the band lands a major label deal, the documentarians who are also the managers of the band receive nothing of the signing bonus. Troy tells them quite directly that they deserve nothing from the deal and that he is the king and they are merely his minions. He may have gotten away with this from his friends, but this same attitude only achieved him being dropped by Harvey Weinstein and black balled from the industry. Although Troy Duffy did eventually end up making the film and releasing it, he received nothing from it after it became a cult hit because he did not own the home video rights to it.

This is an amazing example of what not to do in Hollywood. You do not want to piss off the most powerful man in the industry, you do not want to alienate your friends from you, you do not want to spend most of your time drinking and you probably want to save up some of the signing bonus money you receive or you will end up in construction just like the members of the band did. This film serves as a great cautionary tale as well as a glimpse in the behind scenes of one of the most successful cult hits in the past two decades. Only a man who screwed up could make such an over the top action flick as that.

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2 thoughts on “Overnight

  1. There is a line in the documentary that goes something like “you have no idea how ‘talented’ we are” referring to the band, the band that is doing nothing but sitting in chairs and drinking. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
    A great read you have crafted here.

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