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HBO Bids Adieu to “Entourage” After Eight Seasons

To be completely honest, “Entourage” probably should have called it quits a few seasons ago after Vincent Chase reemerged from the failure of “Medellin” to reclaim his spot among the Hollywood elite. But now that the final season is just around the corner, I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t excited to see how it all ends. Even with the chance of a potential big screen adventure, it’s hard to imagine that creator Doug Ellin won’t want to provide at least some kind of bookend to the series – particularly one that’s a little happier than the way he left off things last season.

With perhaps the exception of Eric, whose rekindled relationship with Sloan led to the pair getting engaged, the rest of the guys ended Season Seven on a low. After bringing in Mark Cuban as a potential business partner for Avion tequila, Turtle was seemingly pushed out of the deal with nothing to show for it; Drama gave up a plum job on network TV only to wind up settling for a new animated show conceived by Billy Walsh; Ari managed to save his career but not his wife after she walked away from their marriage; and Vince was thrown into cocaine rehabilitation following his arrest for possession of cocaine.

Fortunately, the only place to go from there is up, which means that even if Season Eight doesn’t cap off the series with a completely happy ending, it’ll at least have a much brighter outlook than the previous season. Though everyone involved is holding their cards pretty close to their chests in regards to what we can expect to see, HBO has released a few promos and snippets of information that tell us a few things. For starters, the season will begin with Vince being released from a 90-day stint in rehab and eager to get back to work. But when he finds it difficult to land an acting job due to his recent tabloid-worthy exploits, he decides to write a starring vehicle for himself.

The rest of the guys will also continue to try and forge their own careers now that they’ve severed their dependency to Vince, with Turtle launching a new business venture to open a Hollywood location of the New York-based Italian restaurant, Don Peppe; Drama beginning production on “Johnny’s Bananas” alongside Andrew Dice Clay (presumably as one of the other voices); and Eric opening a new management company with Scotty Lavin. Interestingly enough, it also looks like his engagement to Sloan has hit a snag, while Ari will dedicate his time solely to winning back Mrs. Ari following their separation.

It all sounds promising enough, as long as things don’t get too serious. That was one of the main problems with last season, which often forgot it was a comedy at times by focusing all of its energy on the darker and more dramatic moments. And with only eight episodes for its grand finale, Ellin and Co. will have to be especially mindful of staying true to the story they want to tell while still delivering the show that fans know and love.

The eighth and final season premieres July 24th at 10:30 pm EST on HBO.

NOTE: Starting this season, my “Entourage” blog will be moving from Premium Hollywood to the Bullz-Eye Blog, so be sure to go there on Sunday night or Monday morning for all the latest episode recaps. You can also follow along on BE’s “Entourage” fan hub where the latest entry will always be posted.

You can follow us on Twitter @moviebuffs and on Facebook as well.

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Entourage 7.10 – Lose Yourself

There’s been a lot of talk recently about how much darker this season of “Entourage” has been, and while I’m not against the show flexing its dramatic muscle or exploring heavier material, tonight’s episode felt a little too serious, with almost no comedic moments to balance any of it out. That was clearly the point, however, as the season finale was a wrecking ball of destruction that tore through many of the characters’ like paper-mâché.

We’ve seen Vincent Chase down and out before following the aftermath of “Medellin,” but it was never quite as bad as this. The guy has been acting like a first-class jerk for weeks, and after making a scene at Sasha’s photo shoot that ends in him getting the boot, he comes home to discover that the guys have staged an intervention. Vince continues to deny that he even has a drug problem, but despite dumping that entire quart-sized bag of coke that Lloyd found down the sink as proof, his body language isn’t very convincing. The fact that he even had the nerve to then try and flip it on his friends was downright shameful, adding as he stormed out of the house, “I know you all need me, but I’ll call you if I need any of you.”

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Why anyone continues to be his friend is beyond me, but he finally gets a taste of his own medicine when Eminem kicks the shit out of him after he insults the rapper at his own party. Granted, his bodyguards did most of the work, but ‘ol Marshall Mathers did get the first punch in, and it was a doozy of a right hook. And when the guys rush to the hospital to see how he’s doing, instead of being thankful that his friends haven’t abandoned him yet, he blames his behavior on them. Like I said, what a prick, and I’m glad the police officer found that cocaine he was carrying. Now he can go spend some time in federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison and think about how he managed to fuck up a good thing – and all because of a porn star.

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Entourage 7.9 – Porn Scenes from an Italian Restaurant

I’ve been focusing so much on Vince’s downfall this season that I’ve pretty much ignored the possibility that Ari’s career might be in trouble as well. I figured he just dodged a bullet after Deadline Hollywood ran a story about his not-so-kind treatment of his employees, but Ari might have opened his big mouth for the last time. After making a scene in front of his embarrassed wife, Amanda Daniels, and some of the NFL board members (a classic Ari Gold rant that included plenty of insults and even a few borderline violent threats) Ari discovers that it wasn’t Amanda who leaked the tapes, but rather her assistant – a former employee with a grudge.

Apparently, Amanda was just interested in teaming up with Ari to bring an NFL team to Los Angeles, but now that opportunity is gone for good. It definitely wasn’t Ari’s proudest moment, but I’m sure he’ll survive. Of course, the suggestion that Amanda would suddenly be willing to work with Ari after threatening to ruin him only a few episodes ago seems ludicrous in and of itself. I mean, why the sudden change of heart? It’s not like they were ever friends, and Amanda clearly still isn’t over Ari’s sabotage of the Warner Brothers gig that ultimately went to Dana Gordon.

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Simply put, it would never happen, though I am warming up to the idea of Drama doing “Johnny’s Bananas.” I still feel like Drama takes the craft of acting a little too seriously to consider voicing a character on an animated show, but after a series of conversations with Eric’s secretary, Jenny – where we not only learned that the job would only take an hour or two a week to record, but that his condo has been foreclosed – it makes sense that Drama would finally decide to do the show, even if he is selling out as a result. It’s just a shame he didn’t come to that conclusion a little earlier, because it looks like Phil put a lot of effort in creating that presentation.

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Entourage 7.8 – Sniff Sniff Gang Bang

As has been the case with most of this season, tonight’s episode revolved around Vince’s downward spiral – not just professionally, but personally as well – as his relationship with Sasha continues to affect his life. Although the guys don’t think Vince could ever be serious with anyone, they clearly don’t know the new Vince as well as they think, because he’s falling for Sasha… hard. So when she tells him about an offer to shoot a new adult film, Vince gets a little overprotective, offering her the $200,000 she would have been paid for the gig not to do it. Of course, not only does Sasha plan to the movie (maybe a little bit out of spite, but mostly because she’s a freaking porn star), but she also informs him that it’s actually a five-guy gangbang. Ouch, for both involved.

And while Vince is busy trying to persuade Sasha not to do the porno by getting her a part in his new movie, Eric is desperately trying to keep Vince attached to said movie. That’s because the studio wants Vince to take a drug test, and he flat out refuses, claiming that he’s never been in any kind of trouble that would suggest he should need to be tested. Thankfully, Billy finally confesses to Eric that he did witness Vince doing some coke with Scotty Lavin at that party, and after ripping Scotty a new one right in front of a prospective client, he then confronts Vince about his drug use. But instead of apologizing to Eric for lying, Vince just acts like a giant prick, warning Eric to stay out of his personal business and practically demanding that he find Sasha a part in “Airwalker” or else.

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Personally, this behavior still seems a bit out of character for Vince (especially after everything he’s already gone through following the “Medellin” debacle), but he’s still attached to the movie when it’s all said and done. Unfortunately, Randall Wallace is not, who chose to walk away from the project after the studio bent to Vince’s will. The real question isn’t whether they’ll be able to find a new director, though, but just how in the world Vince is going to bounce back a second time when Hollywood becomes privy to this scandalous behavior.

It certainly can’t end well for him, but at least Ari is trying to mend his broken relationships as he experiences trouble on both home fronts. Not only has Ari promised a “kinder, gentler” workplace to his current staff just as old employees begin to come out of the woodwork to sue him, but Mrs. Ari feels embarrassed by the entire situation, going so far as to call an emergency therapy session to try and work out their marital problems one last time. Ari would probably tell you that there’s nothing wrong with his marriage, but Mrs. Ari wants some changes (including a no-Blackberrys-in-the-house rule and no more broken promises) lest she have to reevaluate their relationship. Though Ari seems a little hurt by the ultimatum, he eventually agrees, if only because he’s already late for an important meeting with Mark Cuban.

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Entourage 7.7 – Tequila and Coke

Anyone who thought that Vince’s thrill-seeking would eventually catch up to him was right, although not in the way most people probably expected. It seems that the back injury he sustained on the Nick Cassavetes movie has resulted in a pretty serious addiction to Vicodin, which has in turn resulted in Vince doing cocaine at one of his infamous look-at-all-the-naked-women parties. Of course, when Vince gets up for his meeting with Randall Wallace the next morning, he’s a complete wreck, and whether it’s from the coke the night before, the coffee he chugged before he left, or just plain nerves, he’s jittery all throughout the meeting. That sets off warning bells in Wallace’s head, and now the studio isn’t sure if they want to work with him on the upcoming “Airwalker” movie. Vince tells Eric that he didn’t do any coke, but of course he’s lying, and Billy Walsh knows it.

I’m not sure how long Billy is going to wait to speak up, but if he truly is Vince’s friend, he would have said something by now. Maybe he was scared because Scotty Lavin (who also partook in the snorting festivities) was in the same room, but that’s no reason to wuss out like that. Still, just like last week’s subplot involving Turtle and Alex’s shaved bush, I simply don’t buy Vincent Chase as a cokehead. Maybe the writers think they need to drag his character through a drug addiction (and eventual drug rehab program) before he can finally win an Oscar in the much rumored “Entourage” movie (honestly, where else can it go?), but despite Vince’s shortcomings as a responsible adult, he just never struck me as the kind of guy who would experiment with drugs. Blame the porn star girlfriend or just lazy writing.

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Speaking of Billy, it looks like he’s going to be hanging around for these last few episodes, and for once, I don’t mind. Though he was obviously more entertaining as a self-destructive prima donna, it’s nice to see him acting like a regular dude for once. Unfortunately, that also means that we have to endure this stupid storyline about him creating an animated series for Drama. Now, I’m no Hollywood agent, but how in the world could anyone think that “Johnny’s Bananas” – a cartoon about a “high-strung simian trying to make it in the human world” – is a good premise for a TV show? I always thought Eric had good taste, but if he’s truly intrigued by the idea of Drama voicing a cartoon gorilla, then well, I clearly didn’t know him as well as I thought. Then again, this was the second time in the same episode where one of the leads did something completely out of character, so maybe it can just be chalked up to lazy writing.

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