Tag: Smoke Jumpers (Page 1 of 2)

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!

Now, there have been some pretty cool cameos on “Entourage” over the years, but no one even comes close to Scorsese’s appearance on tonight’s episode. And if that wasn’t enough, the Oscar-winning director is actually calling to offer Vince the lead role in his upcoming re-imagining of The Great Gatsby. Apparently, Gus Van Sant forwarded Marty those dailies of Vince from “Smoke Jumpers,” and he was so impressed that he decided to offer him the role. Huh, I guess Vince isn’t the terrible actor that Ari made him out to be. Vince is quick to thank the super agent for whatever voodoo magic he used to convince Scorsese to choose Vince over Leonardo DiCaprio, but Ari actually gives credit where it’s due: “Don’t thank me, thank E. For once in his life, the little McNugget came through.” And that’s all Vince needs to hear before he’s on a plane to LA to apologize to Eric and hire him back. It’s a good thing he did, too, because Vince’s entourage just wouldn’t be the same without his best friend at his side.

Vince isn’t the only one with a happy ending, either. Eric’s association with the project will no doubt earn The Murphy Group a little more recognition, while Ari is probably just glad to have his number one client back. Drama, meanwhile, now owns a local bar (appropriately named Johnny Drama’s), and Turtle’s big secret is finally out of the bag. The scene where Drama intercepted the call from Jamie-Lynn (“Hey Drama, it’s Jamie. We’re fucking.”) was classic, but the one where Turtle’s mom picked up while Jamie-Lynn and him were having phone sex was even better. Plus, did anyone notice the banner that was hanging at the family reunion the gang attended? It read: “Welcome Home International Movie Star Vincent Chase,” and then in small letters, “And TV Star Johnny Chase.” Good stuff.

All in all, those hoping for a more uplifting ending to an otherwise bleak season had their wish come true, but I can’t help but feel like Vince’s fall from grace should have been a little more difficult. That isn’t to say that I’m not happy with how things turned out – in fact, it was probably one of the best episodes of the year – but if the writers wanted to put Vince through the ringer before making his big comeback, why not just stick with the idea that he would earn back the respect of his careers with an award-worthy performance in “Smoke Jumpers”? The result is the same, and it wouldn’t feel so damn unrealistic. Nevertheless, it’s nice to know that Vince will be back to work when the show returns next summer, and it’ll be curious to see what kind of spoils (money, fame, awards?) brings him by working with the greatest director in American cinema.

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.

Entourge 5.11

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?

Entourage 5.10 — Seth Green Day

I wonder if Seth Green is a douche bag in real life too. If he isn’t, he does an excellent job of playing one on TV. We haven’t seen Dr. Evil’s lovechild since the boys brawled with Green and his buddies at a Vegas club a couple years ago, so it was a surprise to hear that Green was interested in working on a pilot written by E’s client Charlie (aka, Bow Wow; aka, Shad Moss). It wasn’t at all a surprise to hear that Green still holds a grudge for, as he remembers it, E sucker punching him. E claims otherwise, but Green says all will be forgiven if E can convince his ex Sloan to ask him to do the show. Bad news, considering Sloan was the source of all the tension between E and Green in the first place.

Was I the only one wondering why the hell E put up with Green’s shit tonight? If the studio was interested in the script, talk to them about finding someone else to do it instead of looking like a punk. Of course, maybe E really was using it all as an excuse to see Sloan, as he claimed. Regardless of his intentions, it seems likely that we’ll be seeing Sloan again soon, which I’m sure we’d all agree wouldn’t be such a bad thing. As for Green and the pilot, Charlie was the one throwing punches tonight and this time, there’s no doubt it was of the sucker variety. There’s also no doubt that Green had it coming to him after threatening to get E kicked off the project, then threatening to get Charlie kicked off the project, and all-in-all acting like a giant douche bag again.

As for E’s other client, Vince is having a rough go of it on “Smoke Jumpers.” After having his lines given away by his director (Stellan Skarsgard) on day one, Vince learns that most of his lines have been cut the following day. I wondered last week if this was a sign that Werner wasn’t a fan of Vince’s work, but the director claimed this week that he’s just trying to get the best possible performance out of Vince. It seemed that Werner genuinely liked Vince during their initial discussion in this episode, but after he picks Vince’s performance apart later, pointing out that Vince has a “head tilt” and a “lip quiver,” I take that back. (The previews for next week shine even more light on that subject….) At this point, you’ve got to wonder if Vince is even going to finish his “comeback movie.”

Finally, there’s Ari and his battle with Babs to bring buddy Andrew Klein on board. After getting some good advice from his 15-year-old daughter, Ari slathers on the nice when he meets Barbara that morning, saying “please” perhaps more often than he’s said it during the show’s previous four-plus seasons. Of course, his parting shot when Babs left his office showed Ari’s spectacular true colors: “Thanks Babs…you nasty twat,” which he followed with a hilarious impression of Beverly D’Angelo’s character. Ari did manage to secure a meeting with Babs for Andrew but the poor guy had a panic attack when he realized the deal was far from a sure thing. Um…way to prepare the guy, Ari. Maybe Babs is right – Andrew doesn’t seem cut out for Ari’s high-powered agency, but we’re going to find out for sure since Ari crashed Barbara’s “Powerful Women of Hollywood” luncheon, congratulated all the women in attendance for latching on to powerful men, threatened to split the agency Civil War-style if Babs didn’t agree to bring Andrew in, and then, once he got his way, left the women with this “apology”: “I would love to congratulate each and every one of you but, unfortunately, Barbara’s cock is all I can handle.”

So much for “Nice Ari.”

(So did E sucker punch Seth Green in that Vegas club? You be the judge….)

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?

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.

Entourage 5.8

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.)

In reality, Ari’s visit to John Ellis’ office wasn’t about him accepting the offer, but rather suggesting Dana Gordon for the job instead. It actually works out pretty well. Ari still gets to be Vince’s agent, Dana agrees to cast Vince in “Smoke Jumpers,” and perhaps most importantly, everything is back to the way it should be prior to the “Aquaman 2” fiasco that started this downward spiral in the first place. I still call bullshit on the fact that the real-life Ari would never turn down such an incredible opportunity, but kudos to the writers in making the best out of the situation.

The other major story of the night featured Turtle in his own subplot involving an unlikely meeting with Jamie-Lynn Sigler. Not only does he get her number after the guys return from their Hawaii getaway, but he also claims that she gave him a handjob on the flight back. Drama is more than skeptical (I loved how he kept referring to Jamie-Lynn as Meadow Soprano), and since Turtle refuses to prove that it really happened, Drama takes it upon himself to start asking around town. As it turns out, Turtle really was telling the truth, but when Jamie-Lynn discovers that Turtle was blabbing about it to his friends, he loses any chance he might have had of taking things farther. Still, you can’t feel too bad for the guy. Not even Vince has been so lucky as to get a first class jerk from Meadow Soprano.

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