HBO // 2006 // 360 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Patrick Bromley // April 3rd, 2007
A lifestyle is a terrible thing to waste.
Entourage is back! Entourage is back!
Here are the episodes contained in Entourage -- Season Three, Part 1. Read no further if you're not yet caught up on the show, as there may be some minor spoilers throughout.
* 3.1 "Aquamom"
As the Aquaman premiere closes in, the boys struggle to find dates; Vince (Adrian Grenier, The Devil Wears Prada) struggles to convince his mother to fly out to California.
* 3.2 "One Day in the Valley"
Aquaman's release day finally arrives -- and with it, a series of rolling blackouts that threaten to eclipse the opening grosses.
* 3.3 "Dominated"
The boys get a visit from childhood friend Dom (Domenick Lombardozzi, Miami Vice, The Wire), who's recently out of prison and looking to insert himself into Vince's life.
* 3.4 "Guys and Doll"
To cash in on his Aquaman success, Vince finally gets the chance to star in his dream project -- a Pablo Escobar biopic called Medellin -- but that's put on hold when one of the producer's prized possessions goes missing.
* 3.5 "Crash and Burn"
Locked into a contract to make Aquaman 2, Vince and Eric (Kevin Connolly, The Notebook) are forced to create a window of time to still make Medellin; Ari (Jeremy Piven, Smokin' Aces, Chasing Liberty) continues to stress out over his daughter's romance with a teen star.
* 3.6 "Three's Company"
Eric is offered a threesome by his girlfriend, Sloan (Emmanuelle Chriqui, Waiting...); the future of Medellin -- and now even Aquaman 2 -- is jeopardized.
* 3.7 "Strange Days"
Eric is still shaken about his feelings for Sloan and her friend Tori (Malin Akerman, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle) following their tryst; Ari negotiates a severance package, but has to keep his new business plans top secret.
* 3.8 "The Release"
Vince's little-indie-that-could, Queens Boulevard (remember that from all the way back in Season One?) finally gets a release, but with some major "improvements"; Ari makes a huge decision regarding the future of his agency; Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon, Poseidon) auditions for director Edward Burns (She's the One).
* 3.9 "Vegas Baby, Vegas!"
The boys head off to Sin City to blow off some steam, and end up in a war with guest star Seth Green (America's Sweethearts) and his entourage.
* 3.10 "I Wanna Be Sedated"
Ari pawns off legendary producer Bob Ryan (Martin Landau, Ed Wood) on Eric, and the two discover what might be Vince's next project; Turtle (Jerry Ferrara, Brooklyn Rules) goes to sign his record contract, but can't find his artist; Vince spends the day shopping with a "normal" girl.
* 3.11 "What About Bob?"
Eric, Ari, and Bob clash while shopping around the Ramones movie; Drama runs into difficulty during his first day on the Ed Burns project; Vince and Turtle go on the hunt for some very rare gym shoes.
* 3.12 "Sorry, Ari"
After Ari screws up one time too many, the boys consider shopping around for a new agent.
I've had the fortune of reviewing (now) the first three seasons of HBO's Entourage for DVD Verdict, and until recently have enjoyed nothing but favorable feedback. People -- the ones who are writing, anyway -- seem to like the show. A few months ago, however, I did receive a rather negative piece of mail about my write-up of the show's first season. I'd like to quote from that letter now, withholding the name of its author for the sake of privacy:
"I bought this looking forward to seeing an interesting view of LA and the film industry. What I found was very sad, and horrible self obsessed creeps pretending to be useful -- which they are not."
The letter also went on to explain that while its author was a liberal-minded individual, he or she found the values in Entourage truly offensive and that I should have told viewers who the audience for the show is. After responding that I don't feel like it's my place to predict what a particular person will like -- that I can only report my feelings in the hopes of providing for an informed decision -- I went on to say:
"I am sorry that the show put you off. My feeling has always been that Entourage's real values are friendship and loyalty -- that it is actually, in fact, poking fun of the shallow, self-absorbed culture that you identify. This is, of course, only my opinion. We see two different things, which is the great thing about art. Something about one man's trash?"
Now, in all fairness to the reader, I did receive a very nice letter back and we reached a kind of amicable, "agree to disagree" middle ground (not that it was ever heated in the first place, but you understand). While I don't share the opinions of the reader (and expressed as much), they are completely valid. That's actually the reason I chose to include the letter in this review -- because I suspect that this reader is not alone in his or her feelings about Entourage. And because if that's the case, then I feel an obligation to suggest that there may be more to the show than these individuals are giving it credit for.
As I explained in my response (and have gone on record as saying in previous reviews of the show), I've always thought that Entourage is about the friendship and loyalty between four boys first, and about how fun it is to be a movie star second. Though the series' premise may test that friendship -- is it hard to maintain your dynamic when one of you is famous and the rest of you aren't -- I give credit to the writers for not going through the tired exercise of "testing" the boys' friendship from week to week. The fact that they're best friends is a given at this point, and not something that needs to be proved over and over again. The fun is in seeing them work as a team, not in making the team work.
As for what the show has to say about Hollywood? There may not be much new to be said on the subject, and Entourage is happy to accept that. That doesn't mean that the show shies away from poking fun at Tinsel Town, or that it has nothing to say about how movies are made. In fact, Season Three is perhaps the best yet at dealing with this business side, and at examining the reality of not just enjoying celebrity but maintaining it, too. Ultimately, the show may carry no greater insight into "the business" than the idea that life is easier when you're famous, but I'd argue that's a valid point. Not too many shows have the courage to be that casually, winningly honest.
This may just be the best season of Entourage yet. It finds just the right balance between the business and the personal, the trivial and the significant, the fun and the really, really fun. It doesn't make the mistake of stranding any of its characters in thankless roles and stories (as previous seasons have), or reducing anyone to clownish comic relief (Turtle and Drama in Season Two). All of the characters are given their due, and are allowed to grow personally and professionally this season. Season Three, Part 1 is also fiendishly clever in the way that it dangles the biggest box office success of all time (James Cameron's Aquaman) before its characters, then spends the rest of the season inventing ways to delay the enjoyment of that success. The show is great at creating conflict within an otherwise "perfect" universe. On any other show, a character being offered a threesome with his beautiful girlfriend and her equally beautiful friend would be the best day of that guy's life. Only on Entourage, where life is already that good, does it present a problem.
Entourage -- Season Three, Part 1 arrives on DVD just in time for the second half of Season Three to premiere on HBO (it will be running after episodes of The Sopranos' swan song). The 13 episodes are spread out over three discs, and are all presented in an anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The image looks great, serving the show's sunny, sugary photography and too-cool gloss well. The audio mix is equally impressive, handling the rapid-fire dialogue clearly and never drowning it out with the ever-present thump of the background music. Only a handful of extras have been included, but they're (mostly) valid: in addition to a handy Season One and Two recap, there's three commentaries by series creator Doug Ellin, Jerry Ferrara (Turtle), and Kevin Dillon (Drama). The conversations are all over the place, but are all a lot of fun -- it's easy to see how shooting the show could be so enjoyable. And, as if to prove just this point, a brief featurette has also been included that covers the cast's trip to Las Vegas for the filming of one episode. I guess if you can't actually be Vincent Chase, then being on Entourage is the next best thing.
It's kind of annoying how HBO has taken to splitting up their season-length box sets into multiple releases. They did it with Sex and the City and The Sopranos, and now they're doing it with Entourage. I will say that at least the price tag on Entourage won't kill you, and that there are enough episodes contained in Season Three, Part 1 to warrant its own release. Oh, and it's a really good season of a really good show. Did I not mention that?
Review content copyright © 2007 Patrick Bromley; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 360 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Three Audio Commentaries with Creator/Executive Producer Doug Ellin, Kevin Dillon, and Jerry Ferrara
* "Vegas, Baby, Vegas!" Featurette
* Official Site
* Season One Review
* Season Two Review