Monday, March 17, 2014

Boondock Saints Retrospective: The Boondock Saints (1999)

The Boondock Saints
Director: Troy Duffy
Starring: Willem DaFoe, Norman Reedus, Sean Patrick Flannery, Billy Connolly, David Della Rocco
Rated R

There was a firrrreeee figggghhhht!
        ~Paul Smecker

Happy St. Patty's Day!  And I'm back!  Sorry for the delay between retrospectives, but I was pumping out almosts daily content for about 2 all were getting spoiled.  I've recently started a new job and been a bit swamped with my duties at Why So Blu?, so Naptown Nerd was on a little hiatus.  But, now I'm back!  And in true form, I'm celebrating with a holiday themed retrospective.  "Where the hell's my Leprechaun Retrospective, then?" some might ask.  Well, the new Leprechaun movie is apparently in the works and scheduled to release this year, so I'm gonna hold off and try to line up with that.  But, my pick is just fine itself.
Cult sensation The Boondock Saints was originally never going to be a cult classic.  It was intended to be a mass marketed big time hit.  But, due to some behind the scenes turmoil (we'll get into that in our next piece), the film it was intended to be never came to fruition.  Instead, it became a little film that did a festival and ultimately opened on 5 screens for 1 week.  It found its success on home video.  In fact, its done over 50 million in video sales alone.  It's had multiple editions on different formats and continues to pick up waves of fans.
For me, personally, I'm glad I saw this film when I did.  I was the target audience for it - a young college guy.  This film is purely a "guy" movie and high school-college guy at that.  I really enjoyed it when I first saw, but as the years pass by and I grow older it struggles to hold up for me and works a lot less.  But, I'm glad there was a time I really liked it, and it helps me to enjoy the film now through some nostalgia lenses when I do get around to popping it in again.  Its a film with a lot of gun blasting, cursing and doing everything in its power to look "cool" and "badass" at every turn.
The film feels like a series of fun execution sequences tied together by a very thin plot.  It's an interesting choice that Duffy makes as in these sequences there's really no sound effects and just music to watch the killing by.  The film's 2 main characters, the MacManus brothers, are nothing more than a couple "badass" stereotypes with zero depth, rendering them awesome at a younger age, but nowadays I find nothing really interesting about them.  They drink, cuss up a storm, look cool and violently kill people (repeat).  Their friend Rocco is entertaining mainly because the actor gives an "all in" performance.  And I must say, the cat sequence in the most is still to this day friggin' hilarious.
What keeps me going on this movie and still having some enjoyment is Willem DaFoe's Paul Smecker.  This is truly his movie.  He's the only person give any sort of depth and true character development.  Plus, he's an absolute joy to watch.  DaFoe goes uber camp and its quite the spectacle.  There's many angles to this character that make him sort of highly memorable and legendary.  I love that he's openly gay and the movie does it and have it pointed out constantly through ancillary characters, he just is.  There's a true joy to watching him piece together each crime scene and bust the balls of his colleagues.  DaFoe commands the screen and absolutely steals this film.  He's the reason I totally would recommend the movie to anyone, as its something you gotta see.
For most girls, this movie isn't really gonna work, its a total guy movie as I've said before.  The film holds an insane disparity on Rotten Tomatoes between critic score (20%) and audience score (92%).  Who's right in the matter?  Well, I have to say they're both wrong. I don't care who you are, the audience score is way too high on the film.  I'd say the score probably lies somewhere between the two.  But to the critics, this film clearly wasn't made for you, as I'm guessing they were much older professionals than the audience this movie works for.  The Boondock Saints is a solid film, even if it continues to hold up less and less for me over the years, it still has DaFoe owning it for me and that's really enough.  Happy Saint Patty's Day!

My friend Puff is a big big fan of this film, so I'm hoping in the comments he can provide some more insight from the fan perspective as to more merits for the film.

NEXT TIME: We look at the making of The Boondock Saints!

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