Entourage 5.12 – Return to Queens

Apart from the end of last season, I can’t think of a lower point in Vincent Chase’s career than where it stood at the beginning of tonight’s episode. After being fired from “Smoke Jumpers” only to discover that the entire film was being shut down due to the fact that it was “over budget and overcomplicated,” Vince went on “vacation” to New York and is now living at home with his mother. Though Vince isn’t taking the whole “out of work actor” thing as seriously as he probably should be, Ari and Eric are still busy trying to find him another job. When Vince’s mom tells him that Gus Van Sant is looking for a replacement for the new movie he’s shooting in town, Eric suggests he audition for the part. Ari, however, is quick to inform them that he’s already spoken with Gus, and though he likes Vince’s work, he doesn’t feel that he’s right for the role.

Never one to take rejection so easily, Eric heads to Gus’ office to meet with him about reconsidering. He’s even managed to convince Ari to have Dana Gordon send over some dailies from “Smoke Jumpers” for Gus to check out, but though the director seems sincere about the fact that he really does like Vince as an actor, he still doesn’t want him for the role. Clearly embarrassed and feeling like a failure in front of his friends, Vince blows up at Eric for not trusting Ari, and relieves him of his duties as manager. Personally, I don’t think Vince had any right blaming Eric for his problems, and he came off looking like an ass for doing so. Eric may have made some mistakes in his days, but they’ve been trivial when compared to the things he’s done (or at least tried to do) for Vince’s career. Heck, it was Eric who tried to warn Vince about “Medellin,” and look how that turned out.

Entourage 5.12

Eric has better things to do than sit around and take that kind of shit from Vince, so he heads back to LA to take care of his other clients – namely Charlie, who’s still shopping his pilot around town. I actually thought they already found a studio to produce the show, but maybe things fell through after Charlie sucker punched Seth Green in the waiting room. Whatever the case, it’ll be interesting to see where this subplot goes next season, as it certainly has the potential to take Eric’s career to the next level. Unfortunately, he’s not around for the big news that Ari brings with him to New York, and it’s in the form of a very important phone call that he just knows Vince is going to want to take. And no, it’s not Gus Van Sant on the other line, but – wait for it – Martin fucking Scorsese!


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Entourage 5.11 – Play’n with Fire

Anyone who’s been watching “Entourage” for a while knows that the show portrays Hollywood as a sort of suspended reality, but there’s no way that any director in the movie business is even half the crybaby that Verner is. For the last two weeks, it’s been unknown whether Verner simply didn’t like Vince or actually had a viable argument about his ability as an actor, but after the two disagree over Vince’s performance during the filming of a pivotal scene this week, I’d lean more towards latter. In fact, Verner doesn’t even seem to hate Vince so much as the idea that the actor was forced upon him, but if he knew that Vince was attached to the project before he signed on, why did he even agree to do the movie?

I wish that Vince would have called him out on that, but instead, he just points out that Verner is acting more like a dictator than a director. Maybe it has something to do with the language barrier. Regardless, Verner takes the comment one step further by firing Vince from the film. Of course, he doesn’t really have the power to make such a decision, and before you can Super Jew, Ari is on the scene to settle the dispute. When asked what he could possibly do to help Vince’s situation, Ari coolly replies: “Because the Jew has arrived and he doesn’t like Germans.” Plus, Dana Gordon owes him big after he hooked her up with that sweet gig at Warner Brothers. I just wonder how long Ari will be able to milk that connect before Dana gets tired of returning all the favors.

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It’s her first big movie as head of production and she’s not about to let anyone ruin it for her, so she calls a meeting with Verner and allows Ari, Vince and Eric to tag along. What she doesn’t expect, however, is for Verner to turn into the world’s biggest crybaby right in the middle of the office. When Ari tries to trick Verner into thinking he’s just been replaced by Peter Berg, however, the German goes ape shit and starts running through the building looking for John Ellis to plead his case. The fact that this was all happening with Rammstein’s “Du Hast” playing in the background only made the scene even funnier. Verner would have been better off not opening his big mouth in the first place, though, because instead of getting his way, Ellis just shuts down the whole movie. The consolation is that it appears it wasn’t Vince’s fault at all – in fact, Ellis thought Vince was great in the few scenes he had filmed – but with no money and no prospect for another job, Vince decides to head back to Queens.

The rest of the guys jump on the plane with him, and poor Turtle is forced to say goodbye to Jamie-Lynn, who he’s just spent the weekend with after she called him up looking for a booty call. Turtle thinks he’s just being used at first, and he’s totally okay with it, but as the day goes by, he finds out that Jamie-Lynn is actually interested him. Go figure. Here’s hoping the “Sopranos” star sticks around for a little while longer, because she really brings out a side of his character that we rarely see. Plus, we finally learned why he goes by the name Turtle – because his real name (Sal) is more embarrassing. Unfortunately, that relationship might have hit a dead-end now that the gang is back in New York, but even though Vince can’t get a job, Eric and Drama still have careers waiting for them in LA. How long will they stick by Vince’s side while he tries to put his life back together, and now that Turtle’s finally been given some well-deserved character development, how long will we have to wait for more?

  

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Entourage 5.9 — Pie

It’s a big day for the boys. More accurately, it’s a big day for Vinnie as production opens on “Smoke Jumpers,” marking the first time in more than a year that he’s been on a movie set. No wonder he’s a little nervous, skipping breakfast and screwing up his lines when rehearsing with E. Even worse is the fact that his German director (I think his name was Vernon…?) likes practice about as much as Allen Iverson (“We’re talkin’ ‘bout practice.”) and informs Vince that he shoots the rehearsal. Bad news for Vinnie’s nerves, but co-star Jason Patric loves Vernon’s approach. He also, it seems, loves poaching Vince’s lines, and after he steals a couple of Vince’s pivotal scenes, it’s time to take action.

It won’t shock anyone to know that I’ve never been on a movie set, so I don’t know how these things typically work. But it seems to me, if it’s the first day of shooting and some douchebag steals my key lines, I’d say something. As in, right then and there. Maybe that’s not kosher, and maybe Vince handled the situation the right way initially by assuming it was an honest mistake and letting it slide. Granted, he tried to talk to Patric about it after the fact but never actually got around to addressing the issue. Vinnie’s co-star, it seems, is a black belt and probably isn’t someone you’d want to piss off. Fine. Meanwhile, you run the risk of being scenery in what stands to be either your comeback film or your death knell. I know Vince is the cool-under-pressure one in the group so it’s not surprising to see him try to shrug it off at first, but it was maddening watching Patric’s thievery without Vince asking someone “what the hell is going on?”

Of course, he did eventually ask Vernon about the situation, and the director claimed that he knew what Patric was doing but he was choosing his battles with the fiery actor to keep him happy. Sounded like a copout to me, and Vince agreed, telling the guys he thought Vernon was a bigger pussy than he was. Actually, it turns out Vernon is the snake on the set, handing Vince’s lines to Patric and then blaming the actor for it. Why? The smart money says Vernon isn’t a fan of Vinnie’s work and he wanted to run as much of the movie through Patric as possible. Maybe he had other motives, but the look on Vince’s face after Patric told him what Vernon had done suggests that he came to the same conclusion. And if that’s the case, what’s the long-term effect here? Did Dana Gordon shove Vince down Vernon’s throat because she promised Ari the role? If so, things could get ugly for Vince.

Speaking of Ari, this certainly wasn’t the first time he’s provided the most interesting storyline for an episode, and we should all be thankful that it won’t be the last. One of the readers of this blog has noted several times that Jeremy Piven is the only true “actor” on the show and that the others should all just watch and learn. While I wouldn’t go that far, he is without a doubt the show’s most talented actor, and tonight he proved once more why he’s also its biggest draw. Some were surprised that Ari turned down Warner’s $10 million offer last week but, to me, it spoke to the kind of emotional depth that Piven and the writers have given Ari over the years. Tonight, we saw even more of it when Ari met up with his old buddy Andrew Klein, a literary agent who’s fallen on some tough times in the wake of the writer’s strike. Turns out Klein, played brilliantly by Gary Cole, was on the fast track with Ari before their old firm split. Klein has since carved out a nice little career for himself, but nonetheless it’s a career (and salary) that drastically pales in comparison to the life that Ari now leads. And since Ari knows it could have just as easily been him working in Encino, he feels guilty.

Now, whether or not he feels guilty enough to lend Klein $500,000 is another story. But when Ari takes a closer look at Klein’s books, he sees an opportunity to not only help a friend, but make a savvy business deal. After telling Klein that he doesn’t want to give him the loan, Ari instead offers to buy his company and give him the life he was meant to live. Klein balks at first, of course, and calls Ari out for feeling guilty about how everything has turned out. Granted, this was a simple and understated scene, but watching Piven and Cole as it played out was great. The highlight was when Ari reminded Klein about when he wanted to move back to Chicago to become a lawyer, and Klein talked him out of it by asking him, “Do you really want to die a loser fucking lawyer in Chicago?” Ari stared back at Klein for a few moments and replied, “Do you really want to die a loser lit agent in the Valley?” Harsh words, for sure, but sometimes harsh words need to be spoken between two good friends. And in this case, they worked – Klein agreed to the buyout.

Unfortunately, Babs isn’t on board. Oh, right – Ari’s got a partner in all of this, and she thinks Klein is too much of a “loser” to bring into the fold. Shit, now what?

  

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Entourage 5.8 – First Class Jerk

It’s been awhile since we’ve seen an episode of “Entourage” as good as the one tonight, but after weeks of pointless subplots, Doug Ellin and Co. finally delivered some of that old school flavor that has been sorely missing from the new season. But before I get into any of the specifics, first thing’s first. In last week’s blog, I made a comment about how it might be fun to see Vince represented by Adam Davies for a while, but what I meant to say was Josh Weinstein. I know that doesn’t make any difference in the grand scheme of things, but it’s still an important distinction – especially considering tonight’s episode revolved around exactly that.

Now, it didn’t pan out quite like I imagined it would, but it’s probably for the best. After seeing Weinstein sandbag the guys with a promise that Frank Darabont was interested in Vince for the lead role in an upcoming project, only to discover that it’s a TV show he’s executive producing, I’m more than certain that Weinstein (or Adam Davies, for that matter) wouldn’t be right for Vince’s career. They might get him the jobs he wants, but they’ll never care about him like Ari does. Which brings us to the biggest story of the night: Ari’s decision not to take the Warner Brothers job.

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At first, I was utterly perplexed by the decision. I mean, if most people were offered a promotion of that magnitude, they’d take it no questions asked. After all, isn’t the life of a Hollywood agent all about bigger and better opportunities? If it wasn’t, then no one would care who they were representing as long as they were good pals with their clients. One thing I didn’t considered, though, was that Ari didn’t like the consequences that might come with the new job – namely, less time with his family. When he finds out that Amanda Daniels is not only next in line for the job, but refuses to put Vince in “Smoke Jumpers” if Ari turns down the offer, however, Ari decides to take the job just to spite her. (On a side note, that shot of Amanda’s reaction as Ari left the office was great.)


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Entourage 5.7 – Gotta Look Up To Get Down

Lately, this blog has been getting a lot more comments than usual, and to that I say “thank you.” The debates might get a little heated once and awhile, but if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that we love watching “Entourage.” With that said, however, this week’s episode was a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, we have yet another totally pointless story about Vince falling for some model, and on the other hand, we have a subplot involving Ari that could potentially transform the series forever.

Let’s save the best for last, though, and jump straight into the other half of the episode first. It’s been a long time since Vince last worked in Hollywood, and in that time, he’s turned down an awful lot of opportunities to make some fast cash. Granted, some of them (like the “Benji” film) showed real integrity on Vince’s part, but why in the world would he turn down a one-day modeling gig for Dolce & Gabana worth $1 million? He may not care about money, but one of the reasons he’s suffering through such a job drought is because he ran away to Mexico for six months. That may not sound like a very long time to most people, but in Hollywood, it’s the equivalent to being gone for several years. That Dolce & Gabana gig would have gotten his face back out into the public (or at least the people that matter), and it would have gone a long way in helping to restore his image.

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Of course, he decides not to do it. Why? Because he likes the model that was fired, and instead of making a little extra cash and working on getting a job, he decides that hopping on a plane to Hawaii with a bunch of hot women is a much better idea. Under any other circumstance, it probably would have been, but Vince is supposed to be responsible these days and, well, that wasn’t a very responsible decision. He can party as much as he wants once he’s a star again, but honestly, why is he still being treated like royalty when he’s clearly far from it? Forget for a moment that the writers used this exact same storyline with Leighton Meester only a few weeks ago and ask yourself this: if it weren’t absolutely necessary to get Vince and Ari in the same room (or in this case, airplane hangar) together for the final scene, would this subplot have ever been written?


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