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.
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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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.
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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I’m on the second day of my L.A. Film Festival break (partly inspired by not getting into a key screening tonight), and trying to catch up on other work, so posts today will be smallish. I will be doing a mini box office preview later today for tomorrow’s release of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” (Just because I don’t care about it doesn’t mean it’s not a big deal, right?)
However, this may strike some as a bit overly “meta,” but I think some attention should be paid to the announced acquisition of Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood blog by Mail.com Media Corporation (MMC). As mentioned by THR, the move appears to be about expanding the reach of the kind of muckraking showbiz journalism that’s made her such a fact of life, like her or not, for those in and around the picture business.
Finke promises that this is no sell out. Also, the addition of a New York-based reporter is, all in all, good news for those of us interested in show business being treated with at least the same seriousness and depth as sports. They’re both big businesses and the fact that most entertainment coverage is either commentary (like what I do), trade journalism (which by its very nature is supportive of the industry and not particularly interested in investigation), or gossip is not sufficient. I’m still waiting for an entertainment equivalent to “Sports Center” to show up on my TV screen, but in the meantime this may be a very good start for expanding the base of real entertainment journalism in a niche way.