Director: Doug Ellin
Writer: Doug Ellin
Cinematographer: Steven Fierberg
Producer: Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, and Doug Ellin
by Jon Cvack
NOTE: I wrote this a few months before diving into the series, which I actually loved, both as a combination of living in LA and having interesting characters/stories. So I’d probably have to revisit the film, but given how quickly the series hooked me in, I’m guessing the following would stand. I'm still not why sure why this was made.
I’m not sure what prompted my friend to send me the first forty-seconds of this film with Johnny "Drama" Chase (Kevin Dillon), Eric Murphy (Kevin Connolly), and "TurtleAssante (Jerry Ferrara) who’re cruising in a speed boat toward a massive yacht in the distance, where the vast majority of the people aboard are half-naked women in bikinis. In close up, we see Johnny lower some binoculars and say in his thick Brooklyn accent - “I should have jerked off first.”
I haven’t seen much of Entourage, though I believe I randomly went through a decent chunk of the third or fourth season, back when the nascent Netflix streaming service would have select seasons of a show. It played as though a continuation of Swingers (1996) should one of them have gotten big, complete with all of the ball busting, women chasing, and camaraderie that someone in their early twenties might have found so enticing. It presents an (male) individual’s wildest dream of what Hollywood stardom could be; where even if you’re not all that ambitious, talented, or good looking, or some combination, a person could make it big by being close enough to someone is.
This film might be closest to the line between pre and post #MeToo, as to think that this movie was made in 2015 just goes to show how quickly a movement has had an impact. This film is one of the most misogynistic films I’ve seen in recent times and I’m pretty sure I’d have to go back to the 80s to find anything comparable. The plot is almost comically absurd - Chase has directed his first film, went over budget, and the Texas investors want to significantly recut before providing additional mmoney (that is, something that could easily be the plot of a thirty minute episode). And it’s because of that plot that most of the film is about a bunch of now rich dudes are trying to fuck as many women with the least amount of resistance as possible (Turtle has launched a successful Tequila company and Johnny has worked his way into C+-level acting, including a part in Chase’s movie).
In one scene, during a major-rager party for Chase’s test screening, we see the vast majority of women in bikinis, while beyond the attractive half naked guys, most of the men are fully clothed; including the celebrity cameos that the show was known for, including: Mark Cuban, Tom Brady, Gary Busey, Jon Favreau, and others I can’t much remember. Going through the list of cameos further proves the point, as over 90% of them are from dudes, often featured in the debaucherous parties, drugged up, soused, and playing the worst - or Busey’s case actual - sides of themselves.
During the party, Turtle and Johnny find Eric in one of the room’s fucking a girl on the chair; who does nothing more than smile and laugh it off. They then confront their friend, asking how many girls he’s banged in the last week. He believes it’s at least three. This is in addition to his pregnant ex-girlfriend. Eric couldn’t be any less interested in the fact that he’s soon to be a father, and due to his daliences soon finds himself as father to yet another girl he hooked up.* This turns out to be fake and, come the end of the movie, he heads to the hospital after the water breaks and they have the baby, to which Johnny, Turtle, and Chase all show up to congratulate him, to which just minutes later, he leaves the woman who just gave birth to his child, to head off to another restaurant/bar/party.
My other friend mentioned how the characters are always going somewhere in the series. It often involves one of the characters showing up with the other three, to which they talk or argue, then hop in a car and drive around.
It all serves to provide an image of a life that 99.9999% could and will only dream about. Who wouldn’t want to wake up each day to a beautiful and perfect breakfast, either at home or at a pristine restaurant? Who wouldn’t want to constantly be surrounded by beautiful people, in which you could have your choice of any of them with minimal effort? Who wouldn’t want to have a job where the work is simply going to these drinking and hanging out with celebrities?
The show is purest escape, and while it’s definitely a show for men, I don’t think it’s probably all that different than what Sex in the City did for women; inviting viewers into a life that most will never live, but in a way that makes them feel as though they’re there. Beyond the most glaring offense in having the women play little beyond sex appeal or as cumbersome attachments to the males, it’s not worth pinpointing each offense. The show is too self-aware to care. It knows what it’s doing and given all the fans out there, I’m sure it does it fine. But in 2019, not being familiar with the rest of the series, I saw something that, while providing such escape, also felt from a different era. In some ways, it almost felt like the most extravagant close possible to the Bro Period of popular storytelling. To think that four years later, this would likely have had a fraction of the success it did should make anyone optimistic for how quickly culture can change. And yet somehow, even with how little I like the characters, I find myself interested in checking out the first season and how far they’d take things.
*It must be mentioned that this confrontation provides the film’s most bizarre scene, in which Eric goes to get breakfast with Johnny and Turtle, finds another girl he recently slept with who confronts him over the herpes he gave her, for the other girl (not his ex-girlfriend) to then exit with a coffee and pretend to wonder what he’s doing with yet another woman; only for the two girl’s to then reveal it was all a prank. This all happens in about forty five seconds, in which I had to actually rewind the movie to comprehend what just occurred.
BELOW: Never would thought having this 90 second clip shared would lead me vacuuming down eight seasons of television
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