The “characters of Entourage…”
Welcome to the “Georgia Wasp…”
The name of the blog alludes to the Carolina Israelite. (Get it?)
Note that I’ll do mostly film reviews, and also good reads, good music, and – from time to time – politics and politicians. (For a recent post of musical interest see “On Pink Floyd….”)
In the meantime:
Mi Dulce and I went to see the new film Entourage. (Mostly because she wanted to.)
Let’s put it this way: If we’d gone to the Carmike and paid the $6.75-apiece matinee price, it might have been worth the price of admission. Instead we went to the more-expensive AMC mall theater, and paid their more-expensive $10.75 apiece. (Mostly because she wanted to.)
With that in mind, I’d say the film wasn’t worth the price of that admission. (Let alone the added $13 for popcorn and soda.) On the other hand, when reviewing a film I’ve always tried to say something nice, even if I didn’t like it. That started back in the 1970s when I did reviews for my college newspaper. Back then I followed a “one-third, two-thirds” rule. A good film got good words for two-thirds of the review, “not so good” for the remaining one-third, and vice versa.
So here’s the positive third: Entourage is to Hollywood what A Few Good Men was to the world of the Marine Corps and Birdman was to Broadway actors:
Birdman is to Broadway actors what A Few Good Men was to the Marine Corps and the military justice system. It gives a fascinating, inside view of the world of [those] Broadway actors. (Which alone makes it well worth the $10.68 that “we” paid to get the tickets, but not worth the extra $13.29 for the one large soda and large popcorn…)
See On “Birdman,” the movie. (Which could be another way of saying that theater “treats” – like popcorn and soda – are just way over-priced.) But the strange this was that by the time the movie ended, we almost felt like we’d gotten our money’s worth.
Which is another way of saying the first half-hour of the film challenges your intelligence.
Note first that according to Wikipedia, “Entourage is a 2015 American comedy-drama,” a sequel to the “HBO TV series of the same name,” featuring the same stars:
The series … chronicles the acting career of Vincent Chase, a young A-list movie star, and his childhood friends from Queens … as they navigate the unfamiliar terrain of Los Angeles… Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson served as the show’s executive producers, and its premise is loosely based on Wahlberg’s experiences as an up-and-coming film star. The series deals with themes of male friendship and real-life situations in modern-day Hollywood.
So like I said, Entourage was to Hollywood what Birdman was to Broadway actors.
The plot turns on Vince and his “former agent-turned-studio head Ari Gold” working together on a new film, a “risky project that will serve as Vince’s directorial debut.”
You should know that according to Rotten Tomatoes, only 30% of the critics liked the movie, while 80% of the audience liked it. (Wikipedia said the movie “received generally negative reviews from critics, and has grossed over $17 million,” since it’s release on June 3.) The “RT” consensus was that the film “retains many elements of the HBO series, but feels less like a film than a particularly shallow, cameo-studded extended episode of the show.”
Which brings up one big thing that was enjoyable.
Remember the old Alfred Hitchcock movies where he appeared in a cameo? (See List of Alfred Hitchcock cameo appearances – Wikipedia, including the image at left.) The fun part was watching the beginning of his movies, to see when he “popped-up.”
There’s a lot of that in Entourage as well. Wikipedia listed some 50 such cameos, including but not limited to Tom Brady, Warren Buffett, Gary Busey, David Spade, George Takei, Russell Wilson, and Mark Wahlberg. The cameos alone were enough to keep you from falling asleep. (Which I did when we saw the movie Aloha the week before last. But I woke up in time to mumble, “He’s gonna blow it up.” That was right before the scene where “Brian and Ng hold hands as the rocket is ruined and explodes.”)
Did I mention that I was a film minor in college? (See About than “Wasp” name.)
So anyway, the Mark Wahlburg cameo brings up ‘Entourage’ Star Mark Wahlberg Reveals His Own Real-life Entourage. Basically, his entourage kept him grounded, he said:
The former rapper and model credits his own real-life entourage for his success in Hollywood, saying “I wanted people around me whom I could trust.” He says: “We’ve enjoyed this great friendship and camaraderie over the years. It’s good to be faithful to your roots. It keeps you grounded and reminds you that even though you may have more money and a certain stature, your friends will always know who you really are.”
Of course it must be added that this was after a “chequered history, including drug addiction, crime and emprisonment.” On a positive note, Wahlburg doesn’t try to hide that history…
But we digress. The point is that an entourage is defined as a “group of attendants or associates, as of a person of rank or importance.” Synonyms include retinue, following, cortege, escort. And the point of the movie is that an entourage is a good thing to have.
So, borrowing from Rotten Tomatoes, the thing to remember is that the film is rated R for “pervasive language, strong sexual content, nudity and some drug use.” (As an artist, I must say that I personally enjoyed the “celebration of feminine pulchritude.”) Or as one reviewer said:
There’s precious little effort made to adapt a Hollywood that is evolving away from the era when bros would be bros and women existed mainly to stand around in tiny bikinis.
Which is another way of saying: Sure it’s fluff, but it’s enjoyable fluff.
And one final word. The movie starts slow and pretty much insults your intelligence. Then too, the film’s denouement was pretty lame. Vince and his buddies spent most of the movie worrying about getting financed by the Billy Bob Thornton character and his idiot son. But as it turned out, when Billy Bob pulled the plug, they had enough money on their own to finance the “risky project that will serve as Vince’s directorial debut.”
But by the end of the movie – in an exercise of pure American stick-to-itiveness – both my partner and I found that we liked it. (We’re both saps for happy endings.) Somehow, some way – maybe it was the cameos – the plot held together enough to make it all work.
I just wished that I’d paid the Carmike matinee price…
A former badass who turned his life around…
The upper image is courtesy of the TV series of the same name link in the Wikipedia article on the film. The caption: “The main characters of Entourage. From left to right: Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), Eric ‘E’ Murphy (Kevin Connolly), Vincent ‘Vince’ Chase (Adrian Grenier), Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and Johnny ‘Drama’ Chase (Kevin Dillon).“
Re: price of admission. See also pay to play.
Re: Hitchcock cameos. The full caption in the Wikipedia article was: “In To Catch a Thief (1955), Hitchcock appears as the bus passenger on the right.” See also Watch Alfred Hitchcock Make Cameo Appearances in 37 of His Films.
For other views, see Entourage (2015) – IMDb and “Entourage” the Movie – Who Cares?
Re: Mark Wahlburg’s “chequered history.” See Mark Wahlberg – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, which noted that he is an American actor, producer, former model and rapper, to wit: “frontman with the band Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.”
Wahlberg was addicted to cocaine and other drugs by age 13. He was later charged with attempted murder, for separate assaults on African-American children and two Vietnamese men. He pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced to two years in Suffolk County Deer Island House of Correction, but ultimately served only 45 days. There were other incidents as well, but after “going to prison for assault, he decided to improve his behavior.”
“I was there, locked up … and I realized it wasn’t what I wanted at all. I’d ended up in the worst place I could possibly imagine and I never wanted to go back. First of all, I had to learn to stay on the straight and narrow.”
The lower image is courtesy of Mark Wahlberg: ‘My faith in God makes me a better man’, an article in Christian Today. (Not to be confused with “Christianity Today.”) Christian Today is a non-denominational Christian news company, with its international headquarters in London, England.” See Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Recent articles of possible interest include Why the Duggars serve as a warning against fundamentalist Christianity, and Is it OK to be angry with God?