2004Director: Tony Montana, Mark Brian Smith
Cast: Troy Duffy
vernight exhibits the same sadistic pleasure derived from watching a train wreck with the benefit of not being present when the dust settles. Or maybe it’s just my own sick fascination with the blunders of other people. If nothing else, it’s an interesting look into the inflated ego of a failed filmmaker.
Its focus is a young man named Troy Duffy, a Boston bartender whose screenplay Boondock Saints caught the attention of Harvey Weinstein. Harvey offers Troy a $15 million deal with Miramax along with directing credit and $300,000 spending money. In addition, he purchases the bar at which Troy works and, along with his newfound protégé, co-owns it. Oh, and he also has a tie-in with his band, the Brood, who will write all the music for the film. Things couldn’t be going better for Troy so he enlists his friends Tony Montana and Mark Brian Smith to document what he claims is his overnight success.
His career begins promising enough. John Goodman and Mark Wahlberg attend his celebration barbecue in Boston. He meets regularly with actors (well, Paul Reubens and Patrick Swayze) at his bar and seems to be making connections. Then, at some point, Harvey and Miramax vanish from the equation. Troy can’t get Harvey on the phone and the production hasn’t even begun.
Josh Jackson gone to seed.
Eventually he’s dropped by Miramax completely. To Troy this comes as a surprise. Strange that it never occurred to him what impression he was making with the executives when earlier in the film he gloated about showing up to meetings hung-over, smoking and wearing overalls.
Yet, Troy’s logic doesn’t include his own miscalculations. When he observes the worried looks of his crewmembers (all old friends of his) he tells them that Miramax is simply playing hard-hardball (as if regular hardball weren’t enough for this screenplay). He makes outrageous claims that the executives are afraid of him since he’s the hottest person in Hollywood right now and that Harvey himself wants to be him.
Troy shops around for another deal, finding that no studio in Hollywood wants to touch his screenplay. He finally lands a deal with an independent company for half the budget he had with Miramax.
So, two years after his original deal, production finally starts on Boondock Saints. When completed, Troy still can’t procure a means of distribution but is confident that if it plays at Cannes the studios will be breaking down his door to sign a deal for what he calls “the greatest independent film ever made.” Again, Troy’s hubris clouds his judgment.
With no deal in sight and an apparent curse on his screenplay courtesy of Weinstein, Troy deteriorates into a paranoid, delusional mess. Meanwhile, tension increases among his band mates. After a few botched record deals, they finally release their album which sells (brace yourself) 690 copies in six months.
Two forlorn musicians who just failed their auditions for The Commitments...
There are a few minor flaws in the films. It drags on just a little too long and seems haphazardly thrown together at parts as the focus shifts from Troy’s rise to his fall. But the major problem with the film is the way in which, on a certain level, it asks you to sympathize with Troy’s disposition.
I’ve heard a number of horror stories that cast a certain amount of suspicion on Weinstein’s character, but he hardly plays the part of the villain here. This is a story of a man self-destructing from the prospect of fame; a man who only grasps his own righteousness.
On a fundamental level I can understand why we’d feel sorry for a working class man who suddenly has it all only to have it immediately snatched away if he were merely a victim of the tyrannical Hollywood system. However, when you call all film students “putrid” after making an ass of yourself during a lecture in a class at Boston University, I’m no longer willing to empathize.
Troy, I was a film student at one time and I’d like to think if I had a $15 million contract fall into my lap I’d at least have enough dignity and grace not to completely fuck it up—or am I now flexing my own ego?