Blame Quentin: In 1997, a loudmouthed 28-year-old bartender named Troy Duffy sold his ultra-violent vigilante script The Boondock Saints (“Pulp Fiction with soul”) to Miramax for something like a cool million. Harvey Weinstein was so impressed that he even bought the West Hollywood dive where his new genius worked, and Duffy’s sense of his destiny was further inflated when Madonna’s record label signed his band, the Brood, unheard.
Mark Brian Smith and Tony Montana, two Duffy cronies, were around to document the hysteria as the new Tarantino quickly OD’d on braggadocio. (“Who’s that idiot?” Duffy asks of Jerry Bruckheimer.) Drunk with overconfidence, charmless Duffy lords it over his friends and family, punishing them with know-it-all lectures and blustering references to his “deep cesspool of creativity.” Then the turnaround: Duffy is dropped by Miramax and stiffed by Maverick. It’s into the bunker to browbeat his band and agent: “Failure is not an option.” Unfortunately, he’s right. A year later, Duffy makes a version of his movie with Willem Dafoe as a gay FBI man. When it runs a week and goes to video, he knows who’s at fault: “Harvey Weinstein is afraid of me.” “Appalled by” might be more like it. Even a Slobodan like Weinstein would find Duffy’s feature-length monologue grim going.