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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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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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