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10 Vigilant Facts About The Boondock Saints

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The Boondock Saints is all about perception. The film tells the story of fraternal twins Murphy and Connor MacManus (Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flannery) who, after killing two mobsters in self-defense, believe they’ve received a “calling” from god to rid the city of Boston of all its bad guys. Whether they are crazy murderers or the best thing that ever happened to Beantown is up to the audience, and FBI agent Paul Smecker (played by a scene-stealing Willem Dafoe). Make up your own mind about the MacManus brothers with these 10 fascinating facts about the 1999 cult classic.

1. THE SCRIPT WAS INSPIRED BY SEVERAL REAL-LIFE EVENTS.

Writer-director Troy Duffy based the story for The Boondock Saints on things he saw when he was working as a bartender in Los Angeles, including watching a drug dealer steal money from a dead body. The film also opens with the story of Kitty Genovese, a young woman who was murdered in Queens in 1964 and whose story has become a bit of an urban legend after it was widely (but inaccurately) reported that, despite her cries for help and dozens of witnesses, no one came to her rescue.

2. THE MOVIE WAS ITS OWN RAG-TO-RICHES STORY. 

In 1997, Duffy was working as a bartender in Los Angeles at the same time he was trying to sell his script for The Boondock Saints. The media loved the idea of a local bartender who had written what might be Hollywood’s next great film, leading the screenplay to spark a bidding war between major studios. The war ended when Miramax’s Harvey Weinstein showed up at J Sloan’s, the bar where Duffy worked, to offer him a reported $300,000 for the script and promised to buy the bar for Duffy.

3. TROY DUFFY WAS HIS OWN BIGGEST OBSTACLE IN GETTING THE FILM MADE.

Like most artists, Duffy had a very clear vision for the film. This led to some contentious meetings with potential collaborators, including getting into an argument with Ewan McGregor over the death penalty during their first meeting. Duffy’s volatile personality ended up costing him his deal with Miramax, leading him to have to shop the film around to other distributors. Eventually, the film was picked up by Franchise Pictures, despite the negative chatter now surrounding both Duffy and his movie.

4. A POPULAR DOCUMENTARY WAS MADE ABOUT DUFFY’S RISE AND FALL.

In 2003, filmmakers Tony Montana and Mark Brian Smith released Overnight, an unflattering portrait of the Duffy’s meteoric rise and fall. Though the documentary was made with Duffy’s cooperation, he (unsurprisingly) was not pleased with the final result. When asked whether he thought the portrayal of him in the film was fair, Duffy responded:

“Absolutely not. I don’t have to feel, I know, I was there, it was me it was happening to. That type of behavior that you saw in that film was the exception and not the rule. And I don’t think it was too fair of them to not provide any context of why is Troy upset, who’s he even talking to, what’s the situation. It was basically ‘Show me acting like an a**hole.’ After three years of shooting that would be a fairly easy thing to do. And through especially three of the most tumultuous years of my life.”

5. THE FILM’S THEATRICAL RELEASE WAS LIMITED FOR A VERY SERIOUS REASON.

The movie opened on U.S. screens on January 21, 2000, but it was shown in just five theaters and for one week only. The country was still reeling from the massacre at Columbine High School less than a year earlier, and 108 minutes of men who are open to killing any person they consider evil wasn’t the most popular concept with audiences. “Two boys dressed in black trench coats with guns hit a little too close to home,” actress Julie Benz, who played Special Agent Eunice Bloom in the sequel, told The New York Times in 2009.

6. CRITICS HATED THE MOVIE.

The Boondock Saints was panned by critics. Rotten Tomatoes, where the film holds a 20 percent rotten rating with critics, describes the film as “a juvenile, ugly movie that represents the worst tendencies of directors channeling Tarantino.”

7. THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HATED THE MOVIE, TOO.

The amount of violence in the script made it almost impossible for the filmmakers to find a church that would allow them to shoot on its premises. The church where the brothers attend mass in the opening scene is Boston's Union United Methodist Church. Duffy also allegedly received a letter from the Archdiocese of Toronto that detailed the church’s hatred of the film and called Duffy the “spawn of Satan.

8. AUDIENCES, ON THE OTHER HAND, LOVED THE MOVIE.

The film made almost no money during its very brief theatrical release, but sales of the DVD took off. Eventually, the movie managed to pull in $260 million in worldwide theatrical and DVD sales, largely due to positive word-of-mouth, and cemented the film’s reputation as a cult classic. In 2009, a sequel—The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day—continued the MacManus brothers’ story.

9. A THIRD FILM IS PRETTY MUCH CONFIRMED.

When asked whether a third film might be coming during a Reddit AMA last December, Norman Reedus, who played Murphy MacManus (and, more famously, is The Walking Dead’s Daryl Dixon), responded, “Yeah it’s on. In the works, happening.” Though no official announcement of it has been made, that hasn’t stopped some outlets from reporting on what it might look like.

10. THE MACMANUS BROTHERS MIGHT ALSO BE HITTING THE SMALL SCREEN.

In addition to the third film, Duffy is also in talks with IM Global Television to create a series that would serve as a prequel to the movies. The show will focus on the lives of the brothers in South Boston in their pre-vigilante days. Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery probably won’t return as the stars, but they may come on board as executive producers.

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Ernest Hemingway’s Guide to Life, In 20 Quotes
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Central Press/Getty Images

Though he made his living as a writer, Ernest Hemingway was just as famous for his lust for adventure. Whether he was running with the bulls in Pamplona, fishing for marlin in Bimini, throwing back rum cocktails in Havana, or hanging out with his six-toed cats in Key West, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author never did anything halfway. And he used his adventures as fodder for the unparalleled collection of novels, short stories, and nonfiction books he left behind, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, Death in the Afternoon, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea among them.

On what would be his 119th birthday—he was born in Oak Park, Illinois on July 21, 1899—here are 20 memorable quotes that offer a keen perspective into Hemingway’s way of life.

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF LISTENING

"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen."

ON TRUST

"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them."

ON DECIDING WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT

"I never had to choose a subject—my subject rather chose me."

ON TRAVEL

"Never go on trips with anyone you do not love."


Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. [1], Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INTELLIGENCE AND HAPPINESS

"Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know."

ON TRUTH

"There's no one thing that is true. They're all true."

ON THE DOWNSIDE OF PEOPLE

"The only thing that could spoil a day was people. People were always the limiters of happiness, except for the very few that were as good as spring itself."

ON SUFFERING FOR YOUR ART

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."

ON TAKING ACTION

"Never mistake motion for action."

ON GETTING WORDS OUT

"I wake up in the morning and my mind starts making sentences, and I have to get rid of them fast—talk them or write them down."


Photograph by Mary Hemingway, in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston., Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE BENEFITS OF SLEEP

"I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?"

ON FINDING STRENGTH 

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places."

ON THE TRUE NATURE OF WICKEDNESS

"All things truly wicked start from innocence."

ON WRITING WHAT YOU KNOW

"If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water."

ON THE DEFINITION OF COURAGE

"Courage is grace under pressure."

ON THE PAINFULNESS OF BEING FUNNY

"A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book."


By Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. - JFK Library, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON KEEPING PROMISES

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."

ON GOOD VS. EVIL

"About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after."

ON REACHING FOR THE UNATTAINABLE

"For a true writer, each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed."

ON HAPPY ENDINGS

"There is no lonelier man in death, except the suicide, than that man who has lived many years with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it."

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11 of the Most Extreme Junk Foods Ever Created
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iStock

It should come as no surprise that National Junk Food Day is traditionally celebrated on July 21—smack dab in the middle of the dog days of summer, when the streets run thick with ice cream trucks and county fairs boast the kind of fried treats that can only be described as “awesome” (both in the modern sense and the more dated, whoa, we are in awe of that usage). But National Junk Food Day shouldn’t be celebrated with commonplace junk food; oh, no, it deserves something far bigger and better. So save your potato chips and chocolate bars for another day, and get ready to try some truly wild treats.

1. THE KFC DOUBLE DOWN


KFC

Perhaps the most unexpectedly clever way to create a new extreme junk food item is to turn a non-junky foodstuff into something that just oozes calories and decadence. Fried chicken giant KFC knew that—and played it up to major effect—when they introduced the KFC Double Down to America back in 2010. The sandwich foregoes the most traditional aspect of any sandwich (the bread!) and substitutes two fried chicken filets. In between the two pieces of chicken? Bacon, two different kinds of cheese, and the Colonel’s “secret sauce.” There’s no room for a bun here, folks.

2. PIZZA HUT'S HOT DOG STUFFED CRUST PIZZA

We may associate items like fast food pizza and hot dog-stuffed anything with all-American palates, but cheesy juggernaut Pizza Hut saw things a bit differently. In 2012, the chain introduced a pizza with a hot dog-stuffed crust to our neighbors across the pond, treating their UK customers to the kind of taste sensation some people might have had literal nightmares about. Is it a pizza? Is it a hot dog? Somehow, it’s both—and yet something much more.

3. FRIENDLY'S GRILLED CHEESE BURGERMELT


Friendly's

Once again, a wily restaurant chain took a normal food item—in this case, a hamburger—and amped up its junk factor by doing away with something as commonplace as buns, in favor of an entirely different (and, yes, very junky) item. In 2010, Friendly’s rolled out its very own spin on the Double Down, slamming a regular old burger between not one, but two grilled cheese sandwiches. Who needs buns when you can have four pieces of bread, gooey cheese, and unfathomable amounts of butter?

4. GUY FIERI'S CHEESECAKE CHALLENGE

Whiz-bang chef Guy Fieri has long drawn ire for his more wild culinary creations, but what sets his cuisine apart from that of other junk food aficionados is his steadfast dedication to the key elements of any extreme item: size and odd combinations. Fieri’s “Guy's Cheesecake Challenge” is currently on the menu of his Vegas Kitchen and Bar, but it’s easy enough to replicate at home: Just halve a cheesecake, throw it on a plate, and douse liberally with hot fudge, pretzels, and potato chips. (What, no bacon?)

5. DENNY'S FRIED CHEESE MELT


Denny's

In August 2010, Denny’s introduced the Fried Cheese Melt, a grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with fried mozzarella sticks. Yes, it was served with both French fries and a side of marinara sauce, because it’s important to eat vegetables with every meal.

6. DUNKIN' DONUTS'S GLAZED DONUT BREAKFAST SANDWICH


Dunkin' Donuts

If you’ve ever hit up your local Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast and found yourself stumped when it came time to decide if you wanted a donut or a breakfast sandwich to get your morning motor revving, Dunkin' Donuts came up with a brilliant culinary brainstorm in 2013: the fast food favorite unveiled a breakfast sandwich that used glazed donuts as “bread,” wrapped around bacon and peppered egg.

7. JACK IN THE BOX MUNCHIE MEAL

What Jack’s Munchie Meals lack in creativity, they more than make up for in pure, unadulterated size and content. Each Munchie Meal—there are four total—features a massive sandwich (from the Stacked Grilled Cheese Burger to the Spicy Nacho Chicken Sandwich, and all sorts of wild fried things in between) accompanied with two beef tacos, “Halfsies” (a combo of fries and curly fries), and a 20-ounce fountain drink. These intense snack boxes are still available at most Jack in the Box locations, but you’ll have to wait until after 9 p.m. to procure your very own.

8. PIZZA HUT CHEESY BITES REMIX PIZZA

Apparently, there’s nothing that Pizza Hut loves more than using its crust as a delivery system for other junk food items. The hut that pizza built may have crammed hot dogs and hamburgers on to their pie sides, but there was something special about the Cheesy Bites Remix pizza. It featured fried cheese pockets stuffed with three different varieties of extra junk, from spicy seasoning to cream cheese and sesame to mozzarella and parmesan.

9. DEEP FRIED BUTTER

County and state fairs have long been hotbeds (sizzling, oily hotbeds) of wild, deep-frying invention. Dunking things in batter and then tossing them into a vat of oil is a nifty way to turn almost anything into a delicious crisp pocket of junky decadence, perfect for utensil-free eating—but that doesn’t mean that everything needs to get the deep-fried treatment. While deep-fried Oreos may be a stroke of brilliance, deep fried butter is just plain madness. Here’s a quick test: If you wouldn’t eat something if it weren’t deep-fried, don’t eat it if it is deep-fried. When was the last time you ate an entire stick of butter? See? Point proven.

10. THE BACON BUN BURGER

Not content to have a bacon sandwich between two chicken filets? Is a grilled cheese bun replacement not for you? Then try making your very own hamburger buns out of bacon. Carbs are bad for you, right?

11. FRIED ICE CREAM SANDWICH

The Florida State Fair is the proud home of the first fried ice cream sandwich, a junky treat that bears a name that doesn’t even begin to explain what it holds between its buns. It’s not a fried ice cream sandwich so much as a bacon cheeseburger (technically a sandwich) topped with a ball of fried ice cream. It might be a good meal for multi-taskers—no need to worry about dessert—but it doesn’t sound like the kind of thing good for anything else.

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