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TH!INKFilm presents
Overnight (2004)

"Ever since I was a kid I knew that I was not meant to do what other people do. I hope to conquer the world."
- Troy Duffy

Review By: Nate Meyers  
Published: June 27, 2005

Stars: Troy Duffy
Other Stars: Ramses Ishak, Taylor, Gordon Clark, Mark Brian Smith, Tony Montana, Chris Binker, Jimi Jackson, Dave Zerr, Tate Duffy, Tyson Duffy, Mark Wahlberg, Jake Busey, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, Billy Connolly, Ron Jeremy, Willem Dafoe, Joel Roman, Shaun Hill, Sharon Waxman
Director: Mark Brian Smith, Tony Montana

MPAA Rating: R for pervasive strong language, sexual references, some nudity
Run Time: 01h:21m:25s
Release Date: June 28, 2005
UPC: 821575531856
Genre: documentary


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ AB-B+ C+

DVD Review

The Boondock Saints has benefited greatly from the home video market, achieving a quasi-cult classic status thanks to young males who fancy its highly stylized violence and homophobic humor. Numerous friends of mine have applauded the movie, and, after years of hearing about it, I finally caught it one night last summer only to be disgusted by its cheesy filmmaking, hammy acting, xenophobic overtones, and reinforcement of negative Irish stereotypes. I suspected that the man who made the movie, Troy Duffy, is just a simple wannabe Quentin Tarantino—retaining the morbid fixation for the macabre, but without Tarantino's stunning talent.

Now we have Overnight, a documentary by two of Duffy's friends, Mark Brian Smith and Tony Montana, who chronicle his would-be rags-to-riches story. Indeed, when we first meet the loud and profane Duffy, this is a call of inspiration to all people that with a little luck everything can work out for the better. Tending bar in West Hollywood, Duffy is taken in by Miramax's Harvey Weinstein as the next boy wonder of the film industry. He signs a deal to make his Boondock script on a budget of $15 million, with final cut privileges and control over casting. Not only that, but Duffy's band, The Brood, is offered a record deal by Virgin Records. Weinstein even goes so far as to suggest purchasing the bar Duffy works at and co-owning the establishment with his newfound boy genius.

There's just one problem with this situation—Duffy ain't no boy genius. It's tempting to view the distempered, vitriolic Duffy as the embodiment of the Ugly American. However, such a claim would in fact be generous to the man, since he is so self-absorbed that he seems to he see himself as nothing less than a god. Paranoid and aggressive, Duffy's ego swells to a breaking point that isolates him from his associates, friends, and even his family. One particularly devastating scene in the documentary comes when Troy's brother and fellow band member, Taylor, falls victim to his tongue-lashings because Taylor wants to be informed about their record deals. In the mind of Troy Duffy, everybody else is a worthless piece of trash and he deserves everything in the world—be it wealth, power, or sex.

Not surprisingly, major actors and producers balk at Duffy's project and eventually the movie becomes more of a lost cause than anything else. At one time Duffy puts in a phone call to Kenneth Branagh about starring in the movie, but that and many other calls are never returned. Miramax backs out of its deal, Virgin Records abashes Duffy and his pigheaded demands, and anybody with a strong sense of self-respect seems to leave the man alone to wallow in the misery he's created for himself. In fact, it's rather impressive that Smith and Montana remained so close to Duffy during this period, though it's clear that he launches attacks on them and even they question their involvement with him while making the movie.

I suspect on the basis of the friends and associates showcased in Overnight that all are quite surprised by Troy's behavior. Frankly, I was not at all surprised and his hateful personality is evident long before he starts abusing his friends and family. From the first moment of the documentary I could not stand Duffy (this is my prejudice, not the filmmakers'). To be honest, I was actually upset when Duffy finally gets an independent production company to buy his property and let him shoot it on a budget that's less than half of what Miramax offered. Duffy's eventual descent into a hell of his own making seems like just desserts, especially when you consider the scene where he insults a classroom of young film students who appear far more deserving of Miramax's graces than Duffy ever was or will be.

What is most striking about the work by Smith and Montana is how brutally honest it is about their onetime friend and their own views of him. There's an ominous tone, thanks to the sparse use of scored music, that takes the dream of an overnight success and turns it into a chilling nightmare for the audience. My only complaint is that the movie is too short. I would have liked another half hour in addition to the current cut that focuses on the reaction to Duffy by his band members and family. Very little time is devoted to interviews, which makes the overall experience quite exhilarating and places the action in the real world, but it also prevents the film from much reflection on its subject. Perhaps our documentarians should have contacted a psychologist to view Duffy's recorded behavior and assess his mental health—because the man does not seem well.

This review is not meant to make Overnight seem like a character assassination, and I hope that one does not take it that way. Like Harvey Weinstein, Smith and Montana give Duffy every opportunity in the world to amend himself and play ball with the rest of the world. His refusal to do so is the point of the documentary, or so it seems. Duffy constantly talks about getting what you deserve. And he definitely got his.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Presented in nonanamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen, the images accurately reflect the digital video and 16mm film source material. The picture is dull on account of the footage shot, but the transfer nicely brings them into the home theater domain. Still, an anamorphic transfer would be preferable.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Stereo 2.0 mix features some nice instances of sound separation that open up the front sound stage. Dialogue is mostly understandable except for some scenes where the audio recording from the scene makes it difficult to decipher the different noises. Otherwise, this is a clean and crisp mix.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine, Born Into Brothels, Mondovino
2 Deleted Scenes
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Accompanying the documentary are two deleted scenes, Almost Famous and The Boondock Saints Script Reading. Combining for a runtime of 02m:48s, the scenes are worth looking at but add little to the story of Troy Duffy. Following that are biographies of the major participants in the documentary, including Duffy, the band members, and the filmmakers. There isn't a great deal of information provided, but you get a vague feeling for each of these people that isn't mentioned in the movie.

The next supplement is the featurette, Interview on Backstage with Barry Nolan (05m:23s). Directors Mark Brian Smith and Tony Montana give honest answers about their opinions on Duffy and maintain that the documentary is not a revenge piece, otherwise they would have included more material in which he lambastes minorities, among others. Rounding out the extras are the trailers for Overnight and upcoming DVD releases Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine, Born Into Brothels, and Mondovino. It's not an extensive collection of extras, which prevents them from getting out of the C grading range.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

A stunning look at the unbelievably quick rise and downfall of Troy Duffy, Overnight is a smashing success. Thanks to TH!NKfilm, this documentary gets a solid release on DVD with nice image and sound transfers and interesting extra features. Instead of spending your money Duffy's upcoming sequel to The Boondock Saints, invest that cash on this disc.

 


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