Sunday, May 3, 2009
2003 documentary by one time documentarians Mark Brian Smith and Tony Montana about Troy Duffy's experience of trying to get a movie made in Hollywood. Actually, it was really an accidental documentary. These two guys are just friends of Troy's who decided to film all the going's on when their buddy suddenly was on the cover of USA Today and being pursued by the likes of Harvey Weinstein. Suddenly this bartender from Boston has a script that everyone wants and his friends want to keep a video diary of it. Just like Heart of Darkness, they soon realize that they have a proper doc on their hands and it becomes much more than they'd expected. The reason this is so, is because bit by bit everything starts going wrong for Troy. This doc is fantastic and a great way to get an inside look at the emotional journey that is taking a story to the screen. And boy do you get to see it all. How things can go wrong and how things can go right. How to act and how not to act. The unrealistic expectations, the inflated egos, the unreasonable sense of entitlement, it's all there. Won't you don't see much of at all is any sense of hard work and humility. Troy Duffy is a bartender from Boston who all of a sudden finds the founder of Miramax in his bar in 1997, a year in which Miramax had raked in tons of Oscars and press. He pitches his script to Mr. Weinstein and he offers to buy it and the bar if Duffy will let Miramax do the movie. Sounds perfect, right? But then Duffy doesn't just want the bar, he wants to make the movie himself, to do everything from the casting down to the soundtrack, oh, and he wants a record deal for his band. Since Duffy has never handled a project of this magnitude and has 0 experience making films at any level, Miramax understandably gets cold feet. Duffy's reaction isn't to relax his stance at all, but rather to tell Miramax to go f themselves. Miramax simply reacts by thanking Duffy for his time and showing him the door. Suddenly Duffy finds himself in a situation where he's moved his whole posse out to LA and dropped tons of money on apartments and whatnot, and suddenly not a single studio or distributor in Hollywood is interested in the least. So he decides to simply make the movie on his own and shop it at Cannes, but still, no one wants what he's selling. The movie ends up being bought by Franchise Entertainment (Blockbuster's now defunct straight to video distribution wing). All this takes years and those years are filled with all sorts of drama and peaks and valley's. Everyone involved is, at some point, both the villain and the hero of the story. Duffy has never made another film and the documentary filmmakers haven't either. Take advantage of this wonderful inside look behind the curtain of what it's like for so many in this industry. I thought it was simply fascinating.