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David J. Stieve
Documentary that chronicles how Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) was plagued by extraordinary script, shooting, budget, and casting problems--nearly destroying the life and career of the celebrated director.
The rags-to-riches-to-rags story of Troy Duffy, a blue collar Boston twenty something that struck a dream movie deal with Miramax in 1997 to direct the $15 million project "Boondock Saints" from his own script. It was a deal that received worldwide attention. But when Miramax jumped ship and put the film in turnaround, Duffy's overnight success soon starts to crash and burn. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Could have had more insight and comment generally but Duffy's unfounded arrogance is fascinating and totally destructive
When his script for action thriller The Boondock Saints got picked up by Miramax, Troy Duffy found himself going very rapidly from an unknown barman in West Hollywood to being the hot new property in the movie business. Not only that but his agency manages to use this heat to wrangle Duffy money for the sale of his script, the permission to direct the film and a recording deal for his band to work on the soundtrack; it is the dream opportunity presented to Duffy, his family and friends and it is his to embrace or ruin.
Having not seen Boondock Saints for several years I have not been able to review it but I do recall that it was OK without being anything that special. What I didn't know at the time was the story behind the film, which is far more interesting than the film and serves as a good cautionary tale about the nature of fame and Hollywood politics. Well, I suppose it is actually more about Troy Duffy himself and is more a warning about how you have to play the game to get ahead. It is a fascinating and depressing tale because it shows Troy going from captain at the start, to immediately going below decks and scuppering his own ship. There is a quote at the end of the movie from Albert Goldman about how fame is a revealer rather than a creator and indeed that is true in this case. At the start Duffy is pretty full of himself and being made the centre of everything just makes this worse and he becomes more and more of an arrogant pr1ck who treats everyone around him like he is doing them a favour and they should be glad to be in his presence and this applies from Weinstein himself right down to Troy's bandmates. And this is the focus of the film one man's shocking ability to take a goose laying golden eggs and p1ssing it all away.
It is fascinating stuff and it is hard not to feel anything but sympathy for Duffy's friends, some of whom struggle to pay their rent while Troy pockets $300,000 for his script. That he immediately sets himself above them and refuses to give them a break in the same way he got one is a shocking condemnation of the man. I suppose it is interesting to think how we would react in the same situation but it was hard for me to imagine being such a jerk as was shown here. It could have been a stronger documentary by bringing more insight into the political games played within Hollywood or the wrangles behind every film, but in fairness Duffy is such an architect of his won downfall that Montana and Smith just seems to let their material do the talking.
Overall this is not a great documentary but it is a fascinating one. It could have been stronger in regards insight and comment but it is rare to see someone so completely destroy a brilliant opportunity simply by the power of their own arrogance. For this alone the film is well worth seeing and is engaging and interesting.
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