Judge Patrick Bromley is still scanning Ebay for bootleg copies of Aquaman.
Our reviews of Entourage: The Complete First Season (published May 18th, 2005), Entourage: The Complete Second Season (published June 5th, 2006), Entourage: Season Three, Part 2 (published October 17th, 2007), Entourage: The Complete Fourth Season (published August 26th, 2008), Entourage: The Complete Fifth Season (published July 13th, 2009), Entourage: The Complete Sixth Season (published June 28th, 2010), Entourage: The Complete Seventh Season (Blu-ray) (published August 4th, 2011), and Entourage: The Complete Series (Blu-ray) (published December 10th, 2012) are also available.
A lifestyle is a terrible thing to waste.
Entourage is back! Entourage is back!
Facts of the Case
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"
• 3.2 "One Day in the Valley"
• 3.3 "Dominated"
• 3.4 "Guys and Doll"
• 3.5 "Crash and Burn"
• 3.6 "Three's Company"
• 3.7 "Strange Days"
• 3.8 "The Release"
• 3.9 "Vegas Baby, Vegas!"
• 3.10 "I Wanna Be Sedated"
• 3.11 "What About Bob?"
• 3.12 "Sorry, Ari"
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?
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