DID YOU READ

Troy Duffy Still Packs a Punch

Troy Duffy Still Packs a Punch (photo)

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There are really two reasons why you’d recognize the name of writer/director Troy Duffy. One, you’re a member of the energized fan base who can recite every line of his 1999 debut, “The Boondock Saints.” A John Woo-styled crime thriller that first trickled out in a perfunctory release, Duffy’s blood-soaked tale of Irish Catholic twins who go vigilante on some Boston mobsters slowly grew into a monstrous cult hit on home video. But if you haven’t seen it, the only other way you’d know Duffy is from the 2003 doc “Overnight,” a behind-the-scenes chronicle of the “Boondock” production, in which the novice filmmaker is depicted as an arrogant jerk who shoots his mouth off, alienating his golden-boy relationship with the Weinstein brothers, who pulled out of financing the movie before shooting started.

Finally getting the multiplex treatment, Duffy returns with “The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day.” Norman Reedus, Sean Patrick Flanery and Billy Connolly are also back — as, respectively, the vengeful MacManus brothers and their father Il Duce — who this time team up with a Latino criminal (Clifton Collins Jr.) and a flirty FBI special agent (Julie Benz) to take down a priest-killer with mob ties. The afternoon after the New York premiere, where the police had been called in to calm down the wild swarms of fans, I sat down with Duffy to discuss the sequel, what he thinks of other people’s opinions, and his uncensored reaction to seeing “Overnight.”

“Boondock Saints II” seems more a love letter to the fans than a necessary continuation of the saga. Would you cop to that?

I definitely made it for the fans, but here’s the way I look at it — we all know the sequels that have worked, the tiniest percent of a percent of a percent, have the same two aspects to them: They give you everything you loved about the first film, plus a brand new, unpredictable storyline. They don’t rest on the laurels of the first film. The cleanest example is “T2,” when Arnold was suddenly the good “Terminator” protecting Sarah Connor. We ate that up, we fucking loved it.

I tried to give “Boondock” fans a completely new story, so if it was a love letter, it was one with lots of effective prose to inspire and motivate the person I was sending it to. I threw as many curveballs as I possibly could. A female lead in “Boondock II,” are you shitting me? Clifton Collins, Peter Fonda and his whole character, with period piece flashbacks to 1950s New York to explain Il Duce’s history? We hopefully pushed the envelope further: more humor, more guns, higher body count, bigger stunts, all wrapped within a story that the fan base could never have seen coming.

The first film was made in the ’90s, when “bullet ballets” and slow-mo shots of dudes walking were a popular style, yet they’re here again in “Boondock Saints II.” Was this meant to have a retro feel or match the style of the original?

I don’t think about shit in terms of what the fuck’s popular or not. I make what I see in my head, and I mainly see myself doing gun scenes in that way, unless there’s a real good reason not to. A fucking cheeseburger can just be bread and meat and cheese, or you can put a whole bunch of crap on it and make a tasty fucking treat. I love to do that kind of shit. I learned from guys like Woo. I watched his movies and saw how effective it could be to dip to black in the middle of a gunfight, to give us that one moment of tension, come back up, and something else is going on. Masters like that, sure, I paid attention.

Considering the first film had such a crippled release, what qualities do you think made it such a success on home video?

When you talk to “Boondock” fans, you get a different reason every time. Some people like it because of the relationship of the brothers, the camaraderie, and some people go apeshit for the religious and vigilantism aspect. I just choose to call it a good fucking movie. If you make it, they will come. You’re right, this movie was effectively abandoned by Hollywood. Had it been given a chance, it would’ve been a gigantic fucking hit. That is no longer a matter of opinion.

10292009_Boondock6.jpgThere’s some weird magic in this film. It becomes a comfort film. Fans play it over and over again, they know every frame of this thing. If God could tell me the answer to that right now, I wouldn’t want to know. We got together, the kids took over the asylum, and it was just a beautiful fucking explosion. In all fairness, a bunch of people don’t like it intensely, who take the time to try to explain to people how bad this movie is: “Don’t you know why this is bad? A, B, C and D, I went to film school. I know this.” If you see a bad comment posted on “Boondock,” I guarantee the next ten comments are from fans, calling that guy a douchebag.

Have you ever heard any criticisms you felt were legitimate?

No. I mean, everybody’s got an opinion. I hear a criticism, I can show you a million fans that loved that. To me, it’s beyond critiquing, personally. With what this film has achieved, how it was plucked out of the muck by the fans and made successful, that tells me all I need to know it’s a good movie.

What about my gay colleague who took issue with “Boondock Saints II” for its homophobic humor?

We’re an equal opportunity offender. We will fuck with everybody. There was racial humor in the first one, there’s racial humor in the second one. We fuck with Irish, Mexicans, African-Americans, gays, everybody. If anything else rolled into the story, we’d tear that apart, too. If you can’t take a joke, go watch another fucking movie. People who actually look for morality in films and say it’s not real… Of course, it’s not fucking real. It’s a movie! Entertainment business. A lot of people have forgotten about that first word. You’re just supposed to be entertained.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.