“I love these boys. I’ve followed them since the beginning. From Head On to Aquaman to Medellin to Gatsby and now to Hyde. Oh I’m listing some of Vincent Chase’s movies throughout the series. For eight seasons, we’ve watched these four boys from Queens (and the big shot agent) navigate Hollywood, dealing with each other’s successes and failures, in their personal and professional lives. Vincent Chase (Adrien Grenier) is the big shot pretty boy movie star. Eric “”E”” Murphy (Kevin Connolly) is his best friend and manager, and sometimes producer depending on where you are in the series. Johnny “”Drama”” Chase (Kevin Dillon) is Vincent’s older brother, a fellow actor who’s had less success and a whole lot more attemps. And Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) who’s basically along for the ride. Oh and Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), Vince’s scene stealing agent. Inspired by and very loosely based on Mark Wahlberg’s initial LA experiences, the show ran for eight seasons.
I spent most of the past month rewatching the show so I could get it fresh in my head. As I remembered, the first season isn’t really the best. Most of the focus was on Vince and E, who are actually the least interesting characters. I love them, but I also find them a little offputting at times. Still, the first season was enough to start to make a breakout star of Piven, and by the second season, Ari started to get bigger, less Vince-centric storylines. The second and third was when things really started moving, with the whole Aquaman/Queens Blvd/Medellin stuff playing out. Johnny Drama started to get some meatier stuff to tackle as did Turtle (my favorite of the boys).
I remember that people weren’t as big fans of the later seasons, and I know that on the initial watch I was less impressed with them. Looking at it all again, without a year long gap in between, I think it gets a bad rap. The season long arcs did feel like the natural progression that things would have taken. Okay, so maybe Vince’s season where he was on drugs and dating a porn star was a little bit of a stretch, but I appreciate them trying to change up the game. Although I think his mid-series post-Medellin arc was a better shake up. Still, ignoring all the Eric/Sloan mess and Vince shenanigans, those later seasons are where Drama and Turtle really had their chance to shine. Dillon even managed to score a Golden Globe nod late in the game (Previously, only Piven had broken into the awards races, cleaning up a few years in a row at the Emmys).
Okay, but I’m here to write about the movie not the show. Say what you will about it, but I very much loved the chance to revisit with these boys.
I’m hearing it described as basically being a really long episode, but I felt it more like a really short season. Most seasons revolved around getting all the ducks in a row for a specific movie. Maybe it was the release they were solving, maybe Vince was chasing the role, maybe they were stepping out as producers. The point is, we watched that story unfold over the course of the season, while smaller arcs filled the B plots in each episode. For the movie, the film in jeopardy was Hyde. Not only did Vince star, but he made his directorial debut with this big film, and it was Ari’s first film as the head of the studio. Vince needed more money to finish the film, and Ari had to fight with his father and son duo financiers (Billy Bob Thorton and Haley Joel Osment) to try and make it happen.
Something else the show was known for was its celebrity cameos. In most episodes, some high B or low A lister celeb would stroll by and say hi to Vince. Sometimes they were quick throwaway bits, others they were actually relevant to the story. It was a fun way to add some believability (spell checker says I made up that word) and credibility, also serving as a reminder that hey this guy is a big deal. The movie was overloaded with these, maybe too much so. When it used to be once per episode max, now it was every few minutes someone else was showing up. Most were just superfluous throwaways, but a handful were a bit more consequential. Personally, I really liked Turtle’s arc around Ronda Rousey. Add her to the list of women I want to be when I grow up (alongside Tina Fey and Sofia Vergara).
Writer/director Doug Ellin has said that he hopes to make a trilogy of films, but if that doesn’t happen, this makes a really nice (if late) sendoff. The boys did some guerilla style filming at the Golden Globes this past year for some scenes that ended things in a really nice place. Personally, I would like it to keep going, which I didn’t realize was how I felt until I was in the moment. But if it doesn’t, I can be at peace with it. One last time, let’s hug it out.
Entourage – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n”