Over / Under: The Boondock Saints

May 3, 2008

The Boondock Saints

For an introduction to this weekly retrospective column titled Over / Under written by Matt Goldberg, please visit the first post in the series.

The Boondock Saints is a cult movie for people that crowd around crappy movies. It's like they passed by all the good cult movies and staked out a claim on a piss-poor imitation that should have been forgotten in the dust-bin of Tarantino imitators. When people mention Pulp Fiction-wannabees, Boondock Saints should be Exhibit A. And yes, it came out in 1999, but it was actually picked up in 1997 by, who else, Miramax. There's hardly anything that isn't derivative, sloppy, and half-baked in Troy Duffy's first and only film.

Everything that's memorable about the film seems like it came out of some sixth-grader's composition notebook under a page labeled "Wouldn't this be fucking awesome?!?!?" He then proceeds to include protagonists that speak any language, recite an overly complicated and contrived prayer (something Duffy may as well as proceeded with a conversation about fast food chains and their menus in Europe), a transvestite detective, and a shootout so labored it hurts. The only random scene that works is when the cat gets destroyed. That's something that's worth watching back and in slow motion.

I can understand the love for films like American Beauty and Forrest Gump. I don't agree with it, but I understand it. Here, I just can't help but wonder why people don't take the single step over to Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction instead. Shit, do one better and watch the films that inspired Tarantino. It's not like he makes a secret out of which films he used in crafting his own. Troy Duffy may have Quentin Tarantino's ego, but not even a fraction of his encyclopedic knowledge or talent.

The only good thing that ever came from The Boondock Saints is the documentary Overnight which is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of that film and an in-depth look at the bastion of delusional douchebaggery that is Troy Duffy.

Over / Under: OVERRATED!

The Boondock Saints

Next Week: Running Scared

Find more posts: Film Retrospect, Opinions



Agreed. Boondock Saints has a couple pretty cool scenes, but most of it is uninspired tripe. "Everything that's memorable about the film seems like it came out of some sixth-grader's composition notebook under a page labeled "Wouldn't this be fucking awesome?!?!? That sums it up just about perfectly. The sad thing is, I like both Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus. They are both pretty decent actors whose work in this film isn't that bad. What really bogs it down is the ludicrous story and the eye-rollingly terrible preformance of David Della Rocco. I hate his character so, so much. Also, how could anyone defend the actions of these men? I know the appeal of vigilante justice, but how do you justify killing guys who are jerking off in a porn house? Maybe not the most tasteful of recreational activities, but one that warrants a death sentence? Gimme a break.

Kelly B. on May 3, 2008


Wow, I didn't think there would be anyone that agreed with me on this. Not to the extent of hating the movie as Alex is, but I was completely underwhelmed by BDS. After I watched the movie once, I just deposited it on the shelf to collect dust forever. I didn't like the any of the main characters (aside Dafoe) and they were equally not convincing as tough guys. I think Mark Walhberg played the part accurately sans Irish accent in Four Brothers.

L on May 3, 2008


This movie was so bad I only watched half of it and then sold the DVD the next day.

Unlived on May 3, 2008


i thought it was a great movie.. and this dosent make me like it any less

blake b on May 3, 2008


Couldn't agree more. There are a few semi-witty snippets of dialogue, but for the most part this one is a Cleveland Steamer.

Brian G on May 3, 2008


Wow. You're not even trying anymore, are you? You just take a popular movie and launch a volley of something akin to ad hominem attacks and call it a day. Lazy.

Korinthian on May 3, 2008


I bought this movie many years ago after watching it and enjoying it. Many years later after watching Overnight I revisited the movie. It does not hold up at all and it kinda sucks. The only reason to ever consider keeping it is the performance of Mr. Dafoe. He looked like he was having a lot of fun with the role. I think the last 20-30 min. are decent but I was shocked at how 10 yrs and an amazing documentary changed my views on this film.

Chris Tanski on May 3, 2008


I really enjoyed this movie. The Greenly jokes, the "Fuck!.....Ass!..." statements and cat scene had me laughing quite a bit. It did have a style reminiscent of Pulp Fiction, and isn't quite on the same level. But it's a decent low budget movie. I like it alot Jen nay. IMO

James on May 3, 2008


You're all r-tarded.

Chrisbo on May 3, 2008


THANK you. Finally. Everyone I know loves this movie.

DCompose on May 3, 2008


Thank God. I feel like I've just found my long-lost family. I never understood why this hackneyed piece of shit was ever considered watchable. On the other hand, "Overnight" was a great watch. Really explained why BS was they way it is.

AJB on May 3, 2008


*COUGH* DUECHE BAG!! *COUGH* *COUGH* o man sorry, i think all of this bull shit is making me sick

Reece on May 3, 2008


Loved the film, not my most favorite movie, but I still enjoyed it none the less. The article hasn't pushed me into loving it more, or pushed me into hating it.

Garrett.king on May 3, 2008


Wow. Clearly someone is suffering from a case of too much pretentiousness. Grow up, cowboy. Real men don't sling shit around for the hell of it.

Mary on May 3, 2008


Out of curiosity, what am I pretending at? Also, what would be an acceptable level of pretentiousness? And I don't sling shit around for the hell of it. I do it for money and to create discussion about movies. I do a pretty good job on both accounts.

Matt Goldberg on May 3, 2008


dude everyone that writes for firstshowing sounds like a whiny little baby. it's really annoying. i used to love to come on this site. i'm just gonna stick to slashfilm from now on. sorry firstshowing. all you try to do is piss people off, and give movies bad ratings...farewell.

Jordan on May 3, 2008


This movie was brilliant, from start to finish. The combination of visual and audio, the orchestration of different characters(their mother, for all that she has such a small amount of screen time, is wonderfully screwy, and the character you refer to as the "transvestite detective" - this character, I believe, is some of William Defoe's greatest work - much, much better than the Green Goblin in Spiderman (although I will say I enjoyed that movie - and the two sequels - as well, although not as much as Boondock Saints)), the cinematography, the story itself - all brilliant both in composition and in execution. The shoot-out scene that is referred to, that is what I am talking about when I reference the combination of visual and audio. The whole movie experience. What I'm talking about when I say pretentiousness is that this entire post smacks of the type of review a reviewer makes to sound like they are "hip" and "with it." Throughout the whole article I got the sense you've been holding your nose. A good reviewer realizes that their own personal opinion is not the be-all and end-all of public opinion. Please be aware I am not arguing that you should like this movie. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But to lambast this brilliant movie in an attempt to - what, win points with someone? Earn a little bit more money? Well. Enjoy it while it lasts, slim. And for the record, yes I've watched Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs. Both films are brilliant also, and I am a huge fan of Quentin Terantino.

Mary on May 3, 2008


Normally i love over/under, but this one was just bashing of a so-so movie thats entertaining to watch. Its a movie you either love, or you hate. You have offically lost a reader, Matt.

Medicine on May 3, 2008


@Mary: It's some of Willem Dafoe's most scenery-chewing work. I like it when he gives a real performance like in "Auto Focus" or "Shadow of the Vampire". And no, the cinematography is bland unless it's going over the top. The story is threadbare and only exists for Duffy to make his "awesome" moments. The shoot-out scene? It's a bunch of bullets in slo-mo. The movie is an experience like watching dinner theatre is an experience. And yes, I'm "hip" and "with it" because I'm pointing out an over-rated film that's almost a decade old. Later, I'm going to go look in the mirror and tell myself how cool I am. And I don't think my opinion is the end-all, be-all of public opinion. But sometimes the public is wrong. You can disagree with that, but every time you or someone else takes an ad hominen shot at me, I win. I win because you can't defend your film so you pretend like you know who I am. I get a bonus point because it confirms my suspicion that people who like said film aren't thoughtful film viewers but fanboys who take a criticism of a movie personally. @Medicine: The loss of your readership will haunt me till the end of my days.

Matt Goldberg on May 3, 2008


Actually, I thought I defended the film rather well. Here's some more: The shoot-out scene is choreographed. Yes, it's slo-mo. No, that doesn't detract from it. It's choreographed to the soundtrack. It's a brilliant look at Defoe's character, and how that character works. This character is not afraid to go where he needs to go to get something accomplished. This character also has a lot of anger, a lot of pent-up frustration, and that comes out in this scene. And no, it's not scenery-chewing. The scene in the first half of the movie, when the detectives have found the bodies of the russians, and Smecker deflates the windbag-of-a-detective that's pulling a theory out of his arse? Brilliant. The later scene, where Smecker is pouring his heart out to the priest in the confessional (and the juxtaposition of the priest being held by Rocco, who is in his turn being held by one of the brothers) - also brilliant, both in the composition and in execution. When they film head-on, then switch to the over head shot to show the juxtaposition...beautiful. And I'm done. Because I stand by everything I have written here, and this movie. And because an alternative opinion is here, in juxtaposition to your own. And because now I've got other (and better) things to do.

Mary on May 3, 2008


Mary, your criticism reads like someone who has never seen a movie before (which helps back up my thesis, so thanks!) A shoot out scene set to the soundtrack! Oh my God! Troy Duffy is a cinematic genius! Hopefully the other (and better) things you have to do is see other (and better) movies.

Matt Goldberg on May 3, 2008


I liked Boondock Saints. It was entertaining, with colorful characters, swift pacing and vigorous action. I wasn't thinking about anything else while I was watching the film. That's the highest form of praise that I can give.

Joe on May 3, 2008


sorry matt but your an idiot, fs you gotta let this hack go or kill the column every week the same thing, pick a movie the majority loved and call it overrated, then pick one few people liked and say its underrated, hell give me a job i could do a better job of trashing movies or glorifying crap and this is far better than reservoir dogs or pulp fiction, now those movies are overrated

harrison on May 3, 2008


Matt, Boondock Saints isn't the best movie ever, but it was a fun movie to watch at the right time in my life. It's like the evolution of taste: When you're younger you like childish things now that I'm older I like adult things (this is from the Bible). This is a fun movie for a male teenager who likes vigilantism stories, and cheesy shoot-out scenes. This is what confuses me about you, you like BASKETball, but you didn't like Boondock Saints? They're both aimed at the same audience, with roughly the same maturity level. Overnight exposed what happened behind the scenes, and was an interesting story, but as far as documentaries go it was really VERY bad. One of the marks of a bad documentary: written sentences to fill in between scenes, when they could have someone SAY on film what happened between scenes. There were TONS of these in that documentary. Respectfully, Tim

Tim on May 3, 2008


I think Matt has shown that could do alot better then this... Even with his comments he is looking like a pompus chump. Instead of chit chatting about our view and starting a discussion, he has bragged that hes great at writing articles, that he makes alot of money, that he is smarter then us, and that his opinion of a movie means whoever likes it/dislikes it has no taste... Matt, i hope it does... Next time your asleep in your parents basement and wake up in a cold sweat... Remeber that it is because of this horrid stupid article. Now go buy some rogaine and get a chin job... Thanks!

Medicine on May 3, 2008


I agree that Boondock Saints is overrated although I admit that when I first saw it I was taken aback by how cool it was. I also noticed how similar it was stylistically to Tarantino's work. I left the movie entertained by it, but probably would have forgotten about it had it not been brought up time and time again by people at school. That's when everyone started proclaiming that this is their favorite movie and it could be the greatest movie in existence. Now it was entertaining and I enjoyed watching it, but greatest movie ever? Come on. When people start making that claim over a subpar movie I immediately have to stop them. It was a decent movie with a weak plot and pretty cool action sequences. Calling it the greatest movie ever when it really is just a fun action movie is pretty much the definition of overrated.

Zach on May 3, 2008


@Tim: Boondock and BASEketball are aimed at the same audience in the sense that they're aimed towards 15-34 year-old men. But they have vastly different goals. BASEketball achieves its goals while Boondock fails miserably in its half-hearted attempt at imitation. @Medicine: Ah, the parent's basement insult. Score one for originality.

Matt Goldberg on May 4, 2008


Matt..... I was not going to comment... but come on man.. let the people reem ya if they are fans, let them praise you if they are not... but please don't be a total jerk to defend yourself and these articles ... Because reading the article, I thought your piece stood on its own, but am realizing from your defense of it in comments(#15, 19, 21, 27) that it needed more meat... sorry.. just had to throw that out there. You got the comments going, that is for sure, but give us something to discuss, not just arguements over taste... you notice that the comments are not between the readers, they are all directed at you because we only have the option to agree or disagree, no historical references or further reading to substantiate your commentary. I don't agree with your article, but find little to discuss other than saying my opinion of the film is completely different and still enjoy it every time I watch it, cause that is my opinion since it seemed like all you did was present us with yours. Please keep writing these, I enjoy reading them, but when you come out punching, you know fans will punch back. I just don't think your editorial needs constant comment from you to make it stand on its own.

Dusty on May 4, 2008


no one likes you matt. we may or may not agree with your articles (i personally didnt like saints), but it seems that the general consensus is that you are an assclown.

Josh on May 4, 2008


Oh no. I'm unpopular on the Internet.

Matt Goldberg on May 4, 2008


and probably unpopular in real life if you speak like you write.

Jordan on May 4, 2008


You cut to the core of me, person I've never met. And to respond to Dusty, I jump into these discussion (apparently against my better judgment), because I like discussing movies but while everyone has the options to agree or disagree, I can only hope that you'll substantiate your argument. It speaks poorly of readers that so many can only direct personal attacks at me instead of actually talk about a film they can look at removed from release hype or awards bombast. But if they want to be like Jordan or Josh and try to insult me, I always enjoy the amusement.

Matt Goldberg on May 4, 2008


So the whole shtick of this guy is hating movies other people like? Wow, what a great writer! I don't even see any kind of breakdown as to why it is good/bad, just that it is bad. Yet the writer of the article is quick to cry about people tossing personal attacks. There is nothing else they can say, because you made no points in your waste of internet space.

Some Guy on May 4, 2008


The Boondock Saints is a god-awful movie. I've been trying to convince my friends (the ones with poor taste, that is) of this very fact for years. It's a 6th grader's conception of Tarantino. A terrible copy of a good copy. Overnight, on the other hand, is one of my favorite documentaries.

IA on May 4, 2008


Again, was not going to respond, but feel compelled to now... I enjoyed reading the comments of the FirstShowing readers up until you(Matt) chimed in on #15.. then they all became about you instead of the film. Unfortunately, I don't know that we will have more comments in this response forum about the film due to this... But incase anyone does wish to... Here are my thoughts... some things that I am willing to be ripped by other commenters about is the following::: 1. Dafoe - Platoon(brilliant), The English Patient(brilliant), Finding Nemo(voiceover if I remember right), Born on the 4th of July(brilliant) 2. Flanery - some MTV award nomination in 1995 for Powder (OK .. BAD Example.. hahaha) 3. Reedus - some random Festival Best Acting Performance back in 99 (Floating, another bad example) 2 & 3 - both in numerous TV and Movies 4. Connolly - He is a tool, but love his characters 5. Cat - Exploding 6. Gun play 7. Old Bartender with Coprolalia - yes 6th grade, but still love his timing, and good for the laughs I am not saying 'Movie of My Lifetime' - only that it is a fun movie to have while sittin round with a 'green' beer, a topic to BS with my Irish friends about or in the background on the TV while playing cards with the guys. NOTE::: Overnight - presented the side of Duffy that could have made this film AMAZING, not just fun to watch. NOTE Again:: I noticed another comment back on topic while I was writing this. Good to see.

Dusty on May 4, 2008


Harrison wrote: "sorry matt but your an idiot". LOL!!! "Your" and idiot. Oh the irony. Anyway, I enjoyed this movie. But is it great film making? No way. It's a guilty pleasure at the most. I'm on your side Matt. Keep you chin up. After your surgery that is.

Rob on May 4, 2008


These articles are stupid. All of the popular movies = overrated All of the unpopular movies = underrated That's all it's ever going to be.

Todd on May 4, 2008


Why can't there be a simple discussion about a movie without name calling or saying it's stupid?

Rob on May 4, 2008


People who love movies as much as I do and agree with me. I love you so much. I thought I was going crazy over here.

Nathan on May 4, 2008


I bought the special edition on the advice of alot of friends. I watched it, and felt like crap for buying the special edition. It was somewhat amusing and I remember parts I thought were ok, other then that I remember nothing about the movie other then the fact that I felt crappy for buying it, which pretty much to me means the movie was pretty crappy. I think the "idea" of Boondock Saints, modern-day-gritty vigilante Irish bad asses spouting prayers while killings bad guys. Sounds kinda cool, watched the movie, wasn't impressed.

Richard on May 5, 2008


Nice Opinion

It Doesent Matter on Oct 26, 2008


Well look at all the film aficionados here with their silly opinions. This film was fun and thoroughly enjoyable, the 2nd installment is just as fun and enjoyable as well. Stop taking yourselves so seriously, it's just a movie and I've definitely seen a LOT worse.

Izyk on Nov 8, 2009


And I'm aware that my comment is kind of late, but I just found this page. lol Oh and I find it strange that some people love the documentary of the making of a a film that they hate. Stupid people amuse me.

Izyk on Nov 8, 2009


Idiot fanboys amuse me. Willem Dafoe in drag probably turned you on.

grnsuxblurulz on Sep 7, 2011

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