(82 minutes, Rated R)
Overnight is the complicated story of Troy Duffy and his band of followers/co-workers who attempted to storm the Hollywood system. At its most basic form, Overnight is the cautionary tale of what not to do when being signed to a multi-million dollar deal. For those who do not know, Troy Duffy is the interesting mind behind The Boondock Saints: the 1999 bomb, which became popular years later on home video. This documentary focuses on Duffy’s initial signing with Harvey Weinstein for a record deal; the famous producer bought the screenplay, hired Duffy to direct, agreed to purchase the bar he was working at and promised to get a studio deal for the writer/director’s band ‘The Brood.’
All of this is quickly explained in the first five minutes and what proceeds is a 77 minute train wreck of epic proportions. The audience watches the self-centric talent ruin his life and all the lives of those around him; yet, at the same time no one feels bad for any of the people because Duffy’s friends were just as bad as him. Yes, Duffy is an asshole, and I will not dispute that because the documentary rightfully shines a negative light. But since then, the director has claimed that this film manipulated the story to portray him negatively.
Perhaps, this is true, but even in the beginning, Troy’s quick talking street mentality made him sound like an irritating ‘know it all.’ With that said, he also surrounded himself with buffoons who were in way over their heads. So yes, Duffy may have driven his friends into worse situations, but all the director did was speedup the group’s eventual nosedive.
But that is why this documentary is so fascinating, it is an observation of every seedy level of Hollywood: from the top with Harvey Weinstein to the bottom with Duffy and his seemingly ‘innocent’ crew. And it perfectly expresses the problems with the Hollywood’s ‘caste-like system;’ the studio heads run the town like gods with people like Harvey killing any project at a ‘drop of a hat.’ On top of that, it shows how every level is similarly affected by the decrepit success of Hollywood: the gluttony, the fake friendships, the backstabbing of Shakespearean proportions and finally what success can do to an already overblown ego.
With that said, the filmmakers Tony Montana and Mark Brian Smith, who coincidently used to be friends with Troy Duffy, have crafted an entertaining 82 minute feature. Of course, this mostly contains what the public has come to expect from a cautionary tale. However, being that Tony and Mark were so close to Duffy, they were able to film occurrences that documentarians can only dream of. On top of that, they did a fantastic job of editing together years of footage and making it a cohesive story with a fantastic pace.
Yes, by the end of the picture my patience with all the parties involved was wearing thin, but the schadenfreude of seeing Duffy and his friends fail made up for problems like unlikable characters and the VHS quality footage. While the aforementioned quality of the footage was as bad as the previously reviewed Lost in La Mancha, Overnight succeeded because of its larger than life scenario.
In the end, like most documentaries about Hollywood, this is mostly for film geeks. However, if you ever want to watch a great cautionary tale, which reaches the highs and lows of the movie industry, this is a must watch. At the very least, you will learn to hate Duffy and his friends: so much so that their inevitable failures will make you feel better about yourself.