Overnight (2003) R 82 Mins


UK Release Date: 7/8/2005
Troy Duffy, Jeffery Baxter

“We are the music makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams”
From the 1874 poem “Ode” by English poet Arthur O’Shaughnessy
(Although first heard by this film geek in 1971′s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”)

Hollywood is a dream factory – that’s why we love it. It might seem hard to believe, but the charm of Hollywood back in its Golden Age was that you didn’t know how those 5 or 6 reels of celluloid became a finished film. They didn’t want to tell us and we didn’t want to know. Times have changed. Part of a movie package today is the hankering for hours of behind the scenes footage, commentaries, and publicity material. I will tell you proudly with hand on heart I am one of those who looks forward to the supplements as much of the film. In a few rare cases, the struggle to get the film to the screen is just as good (and sometimes better) than the movie itself. Overnight, a documentary chronicling the rise and fall of Troy Duffy, writer/director of The Boondock Saints, is such an example.

It was the stuff that dreams are made of. Miramax Films Co-founder Harvey Weinstein offers bouncer/bartender Troy Duffy $1 million to write and direct his screenplay The Boondock Saints. To sweeten the deal, Weinstein offers to buy the bar where Duffy works so he can run it. If that wasn’t enough, he agrees to allow Duffy’s band to write and produce the soundtrack for the film. Oh, Troy. aren’t you a lucky boy! Don’t mess this up now. Every film buff who sat up late at night writing and dreaming is counting on you. You’re one of us, right?

Overnight is a descent into madness as Duffy becomes far too big for his britches far too fast. Hollywood is a place of egos for sure. Without ego you’ll be eaten alive, but Duffy seems to think that he is the only ego that counts. Even when the rug has been pulled from under him repeatedly, he seems oblivious that he might be part of, if not the whole problem. There’s 101 things you don’t do or say as a first time director in Hollywood and over the course of 82 minutes, he’ll cross them off one by one. Even after The Boondock Saints is in the can, and is in need of a buyer to distribute the movie, Duffy still seems to be the only one around who is clueless to the fact that a little humility may serve him better. Documentaries are subjective by nature. I always watch them with a tiny pinch of salt. Documentations are film-makers too. Never forget that facts can be manipulated with creative editing. A carefully placed reaction shot can change the way lines sound. The more Overnight progresses, the faster the pinch of salt dissolves into nothingness. Duffy knows there’s a camera on him, and seems content to big it up at every opportunity.

My wife had one eye on the film while I was watching it. She’s a big fan of Christopher Guest movies like Best In Show and Spinal Tap. I turned to her mid way though and said, “I don’t even know if I buy this anymore. Christopher Guest would be proud.” Duffy is so biting that it almost becomes farce. It makes you want to laugh at his arrogance, but cry as you can see his dream project crumble under the weight of his bullsh*t. When all is said and done, is The Boondock Saints a good movie? Yes it is, but that’s not the point here. If there was a reason why it took 10 years for the dismal sequel to materialize, it’s all found in this documentary. With whispers of a third visit to the Boondocks, I can only hope that cameras are rolling to capture Duffy’s every move.

Overnight is a fascinating insight into how ego can implode a dream. If you love movies, watch it for how not to do things. For the casual viewer, sit back and enjoy the comedy. Sorry Troy, we’re not laughing with you, we’re, well, you know. . .

 Is this lime worth your time? 6/10

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