Overnight (2003)

Directed by: Tony Montana, Mark Brian Smith

Starring: Troy Duffy, Cast & Crew of The Boondock Saints

Continuing my three part series taking a look at the making of three turbulent films, Overnight is the story of Troy Duffy and how overnight success leads to his alienation of his friends and family including the rise and fall of his own directorial career and band.

Troy Duffy was a Hollywood dream. A bartender at a small Los Angeles Irish bar, Duffy managed to sell a first time script for The Boondock Saints to Miramax and signed on to be the Director. Instantly he was the focus of attention as the press heavily promoted the event. Duffy even negotiated to have his band perform in the film and to have an accompanying soundtrack. Things were looking up for everyone. The band’s co-managers were tasked with shooting the behind the scenes documentary that was suppose to record rise to stardom for everyone involved. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out the way they were planned.

Frustrated with the slow progress of preproduction and having his film go into what is known as “turn around,” Troy Duffy becomes frustrated with the Hollywood progress and falls victim to his own ego. He begins side stepping his producers and shops his script to other studios. Something that Miramax, and Harvey Weinstein specifically, do not look kindly upon. Soon everything goes to hell as Duffy finds himself in a downward spiral. His budget gets slashed, clashes with his band mates erupt as the band falls apart, and going against Harvey Weinstein eventually leads to being blacklisted.

After watching Overnight, it becomes evident that it is a miracle that not only did The Boondock Saints get made, but that it is as good as it is (I know this is a sentiment not shared by everyone). Some may feel that Troy Duffy is right for feeling the way he does and is merely a victim of a corrupt industry, but I can’t help and wonder if the outcome wouldn’t have been better had only Duffy been a little more humble and less egotistical. The ending is painful when it revealed what happened to everyone in the band who were once close enough to be like brothers. In the end, The Boondock Saints got a very limited theatrical release and only sold well on DVD via word of mouth as it grew in cult status. Troy Duffy never negotiated for a share in DVD sales. Just desserts or a sad ending to a promising career? Rumor has it that Troy Duffy is currently working on a sequel.

Note: Netflix members can watch the film via streaming from their site.

The trailer for The Boondock Saints:

-Dantasia

Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (1991)

Directed by: Fax Bahr, Gearge Hickenlooper, Eleanor Coppola

Starring: Francis Ford Coopla, Cast & Crew of Apocalypse Now

Awards: Won Emmy’s for Outstanding Individual Achievement – Informational Programming – Directing and Outstanding Individual Achievement – Informational Programming – Picture Editing (1992)

After a bit of a hiatus due to life stepping in, I’m back. I won’t bore you with the details, but to make up for my absence here is a three part look (other two reviews to follow) at how, just like life, the making of movies can get complicated.

First off, let’s take a look at the making of a classic. Hearts of Darkness: A Filmaker’s Apocalypse is a documentary about the behind the scenes for Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. Having worked on a few movie sets myself, I’ve seen first hand some of the trials and tribulations involved with having a lot of people working under stressful conditions in tight quarters with clashing personalities. Nothing I’ve witnessed can compare to what the cast and crew for Apocalypse Now had to deal with in the Philippine jungles. Shot by Eleanor Coppola, the Director’s wife, Hearts of Darkness was meant to be a way to keep her busy while on set and also as a way to document the making of the film. What they got instead was a very personal look at human nature.

Apocalypse Now was a movie that defied the odds. Taped in a conversation with his wife unknowingly, Francis Ford Coppola confides that he thinks the film will be disastrous. He doesn’t like the ending and is shown to be clearly giving in to the pressure. At the verge of a nervous breakdown, one can see why after seeing the obstacles he has to face in telling his tale. One example is a Philippine military who loan him helicopters only to take them away at the spur of the moment to combat rebels. Another is having to replace main actor Harvey Keitel with Martin Sheen a week into shooting. Martin Sheen ends up having a complete breakdown while drunk in a scene as the audience gets to bare witness to a man battling his own personal demons.

The biggest confrontation in the film besides the Director being his own worse enemy is when he has to confront the main villain in his picture, Marlon Brando. Showing up on set exceeding the weight that the role called for, Francis is forced to shoot around him. Marlon Brando also proves to be a very difficult personality who forgets his lines, is impatient with direction, and overbearing. Despite all these problems and more that are shown by the documentary, Francis Ford Coppola overcomes his adversity and manages to create a film that is still highly regarded today as one of the best representations of the Vietnam War.

Here is the opening scene:

-Dantasia