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From The Digital Sweatshop
The Music, Art and Travels of Alan D. Oldham a.k.a. DJ T-1000.

Overnight.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Just saw a documentary last night that moved me, "Overnight." Here's the story.

Indie film was a gold mine in the '90s. Nobodies were selling scripts and getting deals left and right. Guys like Ed Burns ("The Brothers McMullen"), Kevin Smith ("Clerks"), and most famous of all, Quentin Tarantino ("Reservoir Dogs"), were taking the business by storm with maxed-out credit cards, coffee, and a dream.

It was during this climate that a nobody from Boston, Irish bartender Troy Duffy, somehow got his bullet-riddled, tough-guy script, "The Boondock Saints," read by none other than Harvey Weinstein himself, the iconic head of indie giant Miramax. How Duffy got hooked up, the documentary doesn't recount.

Sensing the new Tarantino, Harvey flew to Boston to meet him, snapped up this guy's script for $300,000 cash, plus got a record deal for his heavy-metal garage band, The Brood, with Madonna's label Maverick. Plus Harvey promised to buy the bar where Duffy worked and give it to him as a gift.

Duffy and his boys were on top of the world for a minute. Duffy became the "It-can-happen-to-you" poster boy that Hollywood pushes out there every few years. The press was all over him. Footage shows guys like Mark Wahlberg, Jeff Goldblum, and other actors schmoozing Duffy to be in his hot movie project.

Then, the fall begins. Duffy begins an ego trip that basically alienates him from the Hollywood that had courted him so heavily before. Screaming fits on the phone with agents and casting directors. Cursing out Harvey to the camera when he stops returning calls. Important people pulling out of the "Boondock Saints" project one by one.

Duffy's Hollywood adventures leave his band, which includes his brother Taylor on guitar, in limbo. Plus, besides a quick signing bonus, the band is making no money. They feel like Duffy is leaving them behind.

The once-hot "The Boondock Saints" is put into turnaround, a.k.a. limbo, by Miramax. Duffy shops the script to other studios, they all pass. One indie producer picks it up for half the Miramax budget, with Willem Dafoe as the biggest name actor. They somehow get the movie done, and take it to Cannes.

All seems well until after the screening, when nobody picks it up.

Back in L.A., a scrappy little no-name movie distributor picks up the movie. It opens to five screens, grosses $35,000, and dies a quick death. The Brood's album, finally finished, is released. They don't say whether it's on Maverick. I'm thinking not. It sells 690 copies. Ironically, "The Boondock Saints" goes on to cult status on DVD, but Duffy's deal cuts him out of any video profits.

All the players go back to their day jobs, their money spent. The bar where Duffy worked, has been torn down. The film leaves Duffy's fate ambiguous. It ends with a long shot of him on a street corner, arguing with himself like a lunatic.

I watched this movie with awe. I identified with it a bit because, admittedly, my ego's gone on trips before. I think all creative people have healthy egos (only a few justified). But you don't badmouth the daddy of all daddies, Harvey Weinstein, especially with cameras rolling. Especially when he's doling out paydays. That's like me dissing Dimitri Hegemann of Tresor, the closest thing this business has to a big daddy figure. It's just not done.

I also equated this, like I do most things, with techno. It reminded me of these local nobody DJs who walk around and talk like they're the shit, yet don't have a record out as a producer, or even a passport. Or if they have played out of town, it's like Milwaukee. Ooooooo.

"Overnight" is a textbook DVD on how NOT to act when opportunity comes your way, 'cause the shit doesn't happen very often, if ever.

-AO :: 1:41 PM ::

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