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"Overnight" DVD Review

As I referenced in my review for The Boondock Saints, a greater part of my interest in that mess was because I wanted to see this documentary, uh, documenting the rapid self-destruction of Troy Duffy, the egomaniac writer-director who managed to snag multiple breaks and then screw them all up, ending with nothing much and unlike most rags-to-riches-to-rags stories, you're pretty much rooting for his failure the whole way.

Co-directors Mark Brian Smith and Tony Montana (for real?) were pals of Duffy's and his band, The Brood, which also included his brother Terry. I'm sure the intentions when they started documenting (there's that word again!) what happened after Miramax paid $300,000 for the script and bought him the L.A. bar he was slinging brews in was to have a record of the next Tarantino's emergence upon the cinematic landscape. It starts well enough with Marky Mark, Jake Busey, Patrick Swayze, Jeff Goldblum and others coming to the bar to meet with this supposedly hot newcomer. Not only will he be allowed to direct despite no previous experience, not even film school, but his band gets offered a deal on Maverick Records, unheard. Good times, indeed!

Then Duffy works his anti-Dale Carnegie tragic and within months, Miramax has put the project into turnaround and the band's deal offer disappears. Eventually, alternate financing is secured and the movie is made and Jason Flom's Lava/Atlantic imprint signs the band and puts them in the studio with former Doobie Brother Jeff "Skunk" Baxter producing. Back on track, right? Not really, for the recording process is hampered by Duffy's ego (seems to be a theme) and when the film is screened at Cannes, no one makes an offer to pick it up for distribution. Is Harvey Weinstein having the film blackballed or does it suck that bad? Regardless, when it finally gets put out, it shows in only five theaters for a week and grosses about $10,000, making it's name on home video when easily impressed viewers glom onto it. As for the band's album, after six months it sold 670 copies. The band got dropped like a bad habit.

While Overnight is a schadenfreudetastic look at a guy who bought into his own hype, it's somewhat hampered by a one-sided perspective because it was shot to tell Duffy's tale and there is very little heard from the other side of his tantrums on the Hollywood side. We see him screaming into phones, but the targets of his wrath aren't interviewed as to what they were thinking. There is also absolutely no footage of the band performing, recording, jamming or anything; something I'm guessing was due to an inability to secure the music rights. This means we have no idea what the labels thought they were getting in signing the band. For what it's worth, the bandmates don't look too happy with their lots either, but they're not interviewed either. More perspectives are needed.

Another major question unanswered is what the unholy heck did Hollywood think they were buying with this guy. The Boondock Saints is a mediocre mess, a fifth-rate pastiche of Tarantino imitators, not even QT himself. A zillion bands pay their dues and never get a deal, but these jokers are handed a contract because one member is making a movie?!? WTF?

In an interview with the directors included as an extra, they say that a case of collective madness which led movie and music industries to fall over themselves for this twit would never happen again, but it would've helped if they had been able to explore why it happened in the first place.

Shot on Super 8 and 16 mm as well as home video, the image quality and sound is rather rough, but watchable. It's presented in non-anamorphic full frame, so if you haven't made the move into HDTV, you'll be fine.

Score: 6/10. Rent it. (Only because I doubt it will ever surface on cable.)

I couldn't find an embeddable trailer for the film, even on Tony Montana's YouTube page, but he did post Ebert & Roeper's review of the film which is where I heard of it.


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