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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Biased Portrait of Self-destruction, August 2, 2006
This review is from: Overnight (DVD)
I don't agree with all those reviewers so eager to applaud the downfall of a "blowhard."

The filmmakers (his former friends) were clearly angry and out to make this man the biggest of *ssholes onscreen. I, in fact, felt very uncomfortable and depressed watching scene after scene depicting his egomaniacal fits and raging outbursts. You mean, there was NEVER a time when he was decent? How did he ever manage to maintain friends in his life? You mean he had NO good qualities? EVER? Hmm, I don't buy it.

This is the problem with nonfiction works, in general, which are highly susceptible to manipulation and "being shaped" via the process of editing. Just follow anyone over a period of months and you'll have enough raw material to make anyone out to be a monster. Crop out the good stuff, and leave in the bad; then pile up the bad: scene after scene of the subject being neurotic and fearful and losing control. Hey, every human being on earth has at one time or other behaved very badly. In the artworld, it happens more than you think. There's a basic insecurity driving all artists and writers and filmmakers. And artists in general are subject to failure and contempt and ridicule on a daily basis. All of 'em are a bit crazy, is what I'm saying. That's just the truth. Some folks are just better at hiding their "illness" than others.

If you've read the famous Vanity Fair article on Harvey Weinstein and Miramax, which depicted him as a true monster, continually threatening people with physical violence and casually throwing objects (like ashtrays) at his executives, you might decide to shift some of blame for this man's project, and his life, crashing and burning as it did, on him as well. Talk about a beast. It made me sick to see Harvey Weinstein make all these empty promises -- even going so far as to "buy the bar" for him -- and then just leave the man to hang in the wind, delivering on NONE of his promises. And blocking all future attempts by the filmmaker to make a go of it. What a bully, man. I'd like to see a documentary on him! In fact, that could be the title: BULLY.

Unlike other reviewers here, I felt no particular joy seeing this man's hope and dreams systematically crushed, one by one. It's a miracle he didn't lose his mind. But then I guess he did.

The whole documentary was very depressing and sad and self-serving, I thought. And the filmmakers have now gone on to produce other work, flat-leaving their former friend, which is okay I guess (since they're "the good ones") and only goes to prove that everyone has a selfish agenda.

There's an unpleasant quality that human beings have: that of always seeking out an external "villain" -- which is in effect a projection of the nastiest aspects of themselves. The *ssholes are "out there," right? We're always the good ones, the deserving ones. Uh, wrong. Hate to break the news, but we're all culpable; we're all sinners. So just be thankful that no one makes a documentary on YOU!

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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 24, 2008 7:23:45 PM PST
Mister Myst says:
I just wanted to say that this is the most logical and thoughtful review I've read on this movie.

People who watch Overnight need to do so with a critical eye. Unfortunately, we seem to live in an age where most people accept anything called a "documentary" as absolute fact. A lot of people wouldn't consider that point you made about following people around with a camera.
There's two sides to every story, and, judging by you and other reviews I've read elsewhere, this film really only seems to show us one.

PS---I've never seen Overnight. I simply understand the logic of your argument and agree that the truth can be horribly distorted through even the simplest of editing.

Posted on Mar 3, 2010 11:52:19 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 3, 2010 11:54:22 AM PST
Thing is, Duffy said all the insanely egotistical and outright vile things that he said in full view of cameras that he knew were there, and indeed WANTED to be there, due to his desire to be a constant center of attention. This was no hidden-camera documentary. The cameras were there at his request, and from the moment he got his deal, he talked about himself like he was the new Jesus Christ of the film and music industries. He got everything handed to him, acted like he was entitled to it, then whined like a spoiled baby when it got taken away.

Contrast Duffy with someone like Robert Rodriguez, who financed his OWN debut feature, and even underwent medical research to raise funds for it. And was he ever all, "I'm going to conquer the world of Hollywood," like Duffy? No...even after El Mariachi was finished, he figured his best shot was to hit the Spanish-language home video market. He ended up at Cannes and Columbia because his product, on a $7000 budget, was just that impressive. He had no sense of entitlement, and took his success well...which is why he still has a strong career and has made a lot of films since his debut.

Duffy, meanwhile, insisted that someone else pay to have his film made, insisted that he deserved nothing but the best, called everyone who tried to help him his "enemy," sold out the other members of his band, proclaimed his film debut "One of the greatest independent films ever made" (one of the most laughable claims in cinematic history), and was shocked when, after all his well-known bad behavior, no one wanted to deal with him at Cannes. This is why Duffy has NOT had the career he envisioned in his egocentric, "All these people wanna have long-term working relationships with ME" fantasies. Because he proved that he doesn't work well with others, and treats everyone around him like garbage. That's why the only film he's made since has been a sequel to Boondock Saints, and why even THAT took over ten years to get made.

I honestly don't care if Duffy was a nice guy sometimes. He was a Grade A jerk when it counted, and got exactly what he deserved. His unjustified sense of entitlement, like Hollywood OWED him everything, was undeniable and vile. Especially in view of the fact that he seemed to be outraged when other people involved with him acted as if THEY were entitled to something. Total hypocrite, as well as an egocentric jerk. And add "idiot" to that list as well...because, really, how smart do you have to be to discern that completely pissing off the two people who've been filming you for the past few years, while you talked smack about everyone and acted like a self-centered ass, is maybe not the best idea in the world?

Is this movie biased? Probably. But most documentaries are, so that's nothing new. But it shows enough of Duffy that I don't even CARE if he has a good side. You got one thing exactly right...the part about seeking external villains and projecting all the nasty parts of ourselves onto others...with us being the good and deserving ones, and the bad guys being "out there." And that's exactly how Duffy himself acts...everyone is his enemy, even the people trying to help him. Even the record producers who, according to Duffy, are "being Jewish." Even the members of his own band. Duffy deserves everything and to hell with everyone else...they're all just trying to bring him down. By the end of the film, I'd seriously begun to question his sanity, as he seemed to have a severe persecution complex. Every time something didn't work out for him, it was because of some PLOT. In fact, Duffy's most repellent characteristics are his self-aggrandizing sense of entitlement and his seeming inability to EVER take responsibility for anything untoward that happens. It's always someone else's fault...just look at all the people he literally called "enemies." And I'm sure he still believes that his career failed because his "enemies" all "plotted" against him and conspired to bring him down...as if he was worth the effort. But ego and paranoia do tend to go together. Since failure can never be the egomaniac's own fault, everyone else MUST be conspiring against him.

The only people in this doc that I felt bad for were the three other members of his band, who were sadly willing to go along with whatever Troy said, even when he called their record company and producers "our enemies," and told them that they were in a WAR against the people who were trying to HELP them make a record. Gee, I wonder why their music career didn't skyrocket, with people skills like that. But the other guys in the band listened and apparently believed him when he talked all of this paranoid gibberish, and no one intervened to stop him as he ruined the band. Yes, they may have gotten that record deal because of him (a fact which he repeats over and over, ad nauseum, as if it means that no one else in the band deserves ANYTHING), but they also lost it - and the band itself - because of him.

So yeah...I felt bad for those guys. But for Troy Duffy? Not a chance.
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