The Troy Duffy Effect
If Harvey Weinstein had been murdered just before the big sexual assault and harassment broke and the police were to ask his widow if there was anyone who might have a personal grudge against her late husband, she literally would not know where to begin. If Weinstein were murdered, there would literally be thousand of people with an unbeatable motive to try to snuff out the life of a man/monster who destroyed so many people’s lives and careers.
I’m not even sure The Boondock Saints director, the subject of Nathan Rabin’s Happy Place first and final “Troy Duffy Day” would be at the top of that list, or even near the top of it, despite Troy Duffy also being the star/hero/anti-hero/villain of Overnight, a movie all about Duffy’s bottomless contempt for Weinstein.
One of the many crazy things about Weinstein’s high-profile fall is that so many people not only disliked but outright hated Weinstein with a deeply personal fervor over a period of decades, yet none of them were able to bring him down or end his reign of terror over Hollywood in general and a whole bunch of traumatized women in particular.
It took the snooping of Mia Farrow’s boy and some dogged, less famous reporters from The New York Times, as well as a cultural moment where powerful, abusive men were finally being held accountable for their sex crimes for what apparently was one of the biggest open secrets in Hollywood—that Harvey Weinstein wasn’t just a bully and an asshole but a serial harasser and assaulter—to become public knowledge.
Weinstein’s high-profile fall from grace will forever change the way that he’s perceived. It certainly will change the way that Overnight is seen. When I re-watched Overnight a few months ago, I was still able to take some pleasure in Duffy’s downfall despite seeing Weinstein as a raging asshole who would be the unquestioned bad guy in any situation that doesn’t involve Troy Duffy.
Weinstein’s fall changed everything. Overnight is no longer the story of an epic war of wills between two assholes, one incredibly successful and powerful and the other unsuccessful, powerless and also Troy Duffy. That is not the case anymore. Now Overnight is now the story of a war between a raging asshole and a prolific alleged sex criminal.
Weinstein’s fall doesn’t make Duffy look any better, but boy oh boy does it make Weinstein look much, more worse and that’s a big deal. In light of this scandal, people are going to assume the worst of Weinstein, when it comes to sexually terrorizing actresses and models for decades. That is how it should be.
After all, it’s increasingly aware that there was no separation between Weinstein between art and commerce, between what he did behind closed doors to the horror and mortification of the people behind him and the accolades he picked up in public. Weinstein’s relationship with Duffy is yet another one of seduction and power and anger and rage that played out both publicly and privately, only without a sexual connotation. We always knew Weinstein was a bully. The only surprise, and it wasn’t really a surprise, was that he was an even bigger, more toxic and destructive bully when it came to sex than he was in any other facet of his life.
When people are exposed not just as assholes but criminals, it tends to clarify our feelings about them. For example, I’ve always seen James Toback as talented but also a huge, narcissistic, misogynistic piece of shit. The achingly non-surprising news that Toback is a serial harasser of women who used his position as the maker of the most masturbatory movies in Hollywood to literally masturbate in front of women he found desirable, whether they wanted him to or not, pushes my opinion of Toback unmistakably and incontrovertibly into the “Not worth the ugliness that comes with it” category, alongside folks like Woody Allen and R. Kelly, whose work I loved at various points in my life until it became impossible to ignore the unforgivable nature of their transgressions.
History will not be re-written to make Weinstein seem like the bad guy. No revisionism is required. He was always the bad guy, we just didn’t know the full extent of his monstrousness and while I hope to god that Duffy doesn’t have skeletons of his own on par with Weinstein for the sake of the women of the world alone, I wouldn’t be surprised if that doesn’t apply to Duffy as well. After all, Overnight constitutes what Duffy wanted to show the world: I can’t even imagine how ugly things must have been when no cameras were around.
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