[Marxism] Overnight

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jan 10 10:01:30 MST 2006

The documentary “Overnight” does for the entertainment industry what 
“Startup.com” did for the dot.com craze of the 1990s. It reveals the 
self-delusion and grubby ambitions of the principals who show not the 
slightest inkling that they are doomed to fail.

If you’ve seen “Startup.com,” (co-directed by Jehane Noujaim, who went on 
to direct the brilliant film on Al-Jazeera titled “The Control Room), 
you’ll remember how Kaleil Isaza Tuzman would assure his employees that 
Govworks.com was practically preordained to strike it rich. He and his 
company eventually crash and burn.

If anything, Troy Duffy is even more of an ego-tripper than Tuzman. He is a 
transplanted Bostonian who has been working on a screenplay titled “The 
Boondock Saints” when he is not tending bar in Los Angeles. As the film 
starts, he has just learned that Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has not 
only decided to produce the film, he has bought the bar that Duffy works in 
and made him co-owner. In addition, a rock band called “The Brood” that 
consists of Duffy, his brother Taylor and an entourage from Boston is on 
the verge of lining up a recording contract, largely on the basis of the 
commercial success that surely awaits the film’s release. In the opening 
scenes of the documentary, Troy Duffy is making one speech after another to 
his enthralled entourage to the effect that the world is their oyster.

Eventually, he and Weinstein have a falling out and the film becomes a 
risky undertaking. Nobody in Hollywood wants to get on Weinstein’s wrong 
side apparently. But it would be difficult for anybody watching the film to 
not have the suspicion that there was less to Duffy and his creative 
talents than meets the eye. From every indication, Duffy had positioned 
himself as the next Quentin Tarantino, with all the expected hype about his 
street credibility as a bartender from Boston.

Eventually “The Boondock Saints” was produced by a small independent studio 
but was only released for a brief time in a handful of theaters. “The 
Brood” also finally made their record, but their contract was terminated 
when it only sold 695 copies! “Overnight” does note that “The Boondock 
Saints” has achieved some success as a DVD geared to college students, but 
an Internet review suggests that they probably must be stoned or drunk to 
get anything out of it:

“The storyline centers around Connor McManus (Sean Patrick Flanery) and his 
fraternal twin Murphy (Norman Reedus). They are Irishmen who live in a 
Boston neighborhood that is mostly controlled by the Russian mafia. Tired 
of being bullied, they start to form the belief that God wants them to 
dispose of the bad guys. Their call to action comes in the form of a sermon 
in which the priest talks about the indifference of good people. Not long 
after that, they encounter some Russians who are trying to forcefully take 
over a bar that they frequent. They choose to fight, and the Russians end 
up dead. After taking the dead Russians' guns and money, Connor and Murphy 
realize that they can make a better living by disposing of bad guys than 
they can from the menial jobs they currently have. They end up going to the 
police station and telling FBI agent Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe) that they 
killed the Russians in self-defense.”


In the final scenes of the film, members of Troy Duffy’s entourage are seen 
working in the same menial jobs they started off in while his bar is being 
demolished. In the last frame, you see the words of journalist Albert 
Goldman (author of a memorable book detailing the rise and fall of Elvis 
Presley, the ultimate symbol of the ambivalence of success in the 
entertainment world):

“No man is really changed by success. What happens is that success works on 
a man’s personality like a truth drug, bringing him out of the closet and 
what was always inside his head.”

“Overnight” is available at your better video rental stores and on the 
Internet. It is mordantly fascinating from beginning to end.



More information about the Marxism mailing list