Did "Entourage" Predict the Success of Two Major Franchises?
In 2004 HBO first aired "Entourage", the show loosely based around executive producer Mark Wahlberg and his own entourage (who can be seen in "The Wahlbergers" on the A&E Network). The "Entourage" program is based on the LA Movie scene and four childhood friends who ride the coattails of the most successful yet insecure member of the foursome. It isn't a masterpiece but fast becomes a bingeworthy TV show.
Leading man Vincent Chase (played by Adrian Grenier) becomes a big shot Hollywood actor which quickly gives his character a sense of entitlement and narcissism. He splashes his money around like it's a never ending well of cash. This makes his character hard to like at first but after 3 seasons the viewer can't help but feel sorrow for Vince when things aren't going his way.
One has to wonder if creator Doug Ellin knew in advance that some of the storylines based around his character Vinny Chase would go on to become major hit franchises in Hollywood.
Predicting that this powerhouse DC Comic Book character was going to be a hit was probably a sure thing but the consistency of the character being mentioned in the early seasons of "Entourage" may have helped it gather momentum. In the HBO show Talent Agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) secures the lead role for Vincent Chase as Aquaman in the mega big budget blockbuster. It also includes James Cameron as director and Mandy Moore as the leading lady with both making cameos as themselves on the show. The movie is a hit and is automatically green-lighted for two sequels.
In real life it is hard to see James Cameron agreeing to direct an actual "Aquaman" movie. James would more than likely do "Batman", "Superman" or "The Justice League" if his past accomplishments in blockbuster films are anything to go by.
The Entourage/Aquaman storyline happened in 2006. Fast forward to 2018 and Jason Momoa stars as "Aquaman" in the DC movie universe. The superhero first featured in "Batman v Superman" in 2016 in which DC attempts to equal rival company Marvel and it's successful movie universe with it's own franchise. Jason returned in 2017 to reprise his role in "Justice League" and now has his very own "Aquaman" stand alone movie about to be released in cinemas. The movie was directed by James Wan who has had success with horror movies like "Saw" and "Insidious". It remains to be seen if Wan can compete with fellow director James Cameron when it comes to blockbuster film success and if the "Entourage" world is anything to go by, it's version of "Aquaman" was the highest grossing film of all time!.
Entourage on Amazon Prime
When Vinny Chase revealed that his dream was to play Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar, he and manager Eric Murphy (Kevin Connolly) acquire a script and decide to self fund a film based around the life and crimes of Pablo. The Director of Vince's successful indy flick "Queens Boulevard" Billy Walsh (Rhys Coiro) is recruited and for the very first time Vinny and "E" (Eric) actually have their own money invested in one of their films . The project is filmed completely in Columbia.
The movie entitled "Medellin" screens at the 2007 Cannes film festival and is a flop. Audiences could not be fooled by a poor script and Vinny Chase being hailed as "Aquaman in a fat suit". Vince's version of Columbia's most famous villian turns out to be more comedy then masterpiece.
In 2015 Netflix aired Season 1 of "Narcos". The "Medillen" story in TV show format about Pablo Escobar. The show manages to delve deep into the Cocaine King and his story and makes for intruiging television. The casting is spot on with Escobar played by Wagner Moura who is a much more convincing Pablo then Vincent Chase and makes the role his own. Powerful portrayals of the Drug Enforcement Agents who helped take down Escobar is also a strong point in Narcos.
It could be argued that the story is a shared one between DEA agent Steve Murphy and Escobar. Murphy's saga is highlighted by a great performance from actor Boyd Holbrook. Fellow drug enforcement agent Javier Pena (who has become the star of season 3) is played by "Game of Thrones" star Pedro Pascal which is also another big thumbs up for the program and it's casting. Narcos has gone on to become one of Netflix's biggest original hits.
Without doubt Pablo Escobar and his entourage had a bigger impact on Coumbia and Hollywood than Vincent Chase and his boys ever will.
"Entourage" could easily fall into the "generic comedy" category but these are the things that help it stand out from others.
Throughout the show Vincent Chase is rarely seen without brother Johnny "Drama" Chase. "Drama" (Kevin Dillon) puts in an MVP performance throughout the 8 seasons of the show and it is hard not to feel good when Johnny secures a role in TV or film. It is even more entertaining when things are not going good for Kevin's character and the anticipation for Drama's next meltdown is always building. His one liners and wisdom on such subjects as sex, fitness and substances are hilarious.
Johnny "Drama" epitomizes the stereotypical "B" grade Hollywood celebrity and his failures to secure a "leading man" role are proof of this. He always plays second fiddle to brother Vince but it is a heartwarming moment to see him win a Golden Globe for "best supporting actor" in Vinny's fictional movie (Hyde) in "Entourage" the movie.
Jeremy Piven portrays an ego driven heartless businessman perfectly in the HBO comedy. He plays his character "Ari Gold" so well at times you think this talent agent could be CEO of some of the biggest companies in the world (and he does eventually become a studio head). Ari's non politically correct treatment of assistant Lloyd and agency staff is vulgar, offensive yet manages to be totally hilarious at the same time. After a few seasons the Ari character actually starts showing some human emotions which adds an extra dimension to this already powerful, no nonsense character.
Celebrity cameos are plentiful and some of the better appearances are James Cameron, Mandy Moore, Anna Faris, Rhonda Rousey and Bob Saget.
Best of Entourage
Highlights of Entourage?
Janes Addiction are one of the greatest bands of all time but the song "Superhero" won't ever make any "best ever" lists. The tune is far from a classic and after 8 seasons of opening "Entourage" the tune is still more annoying than catchy. One highlight is the Dave Navarro guitar solo and riff but other than that the song is just painful.
The show also tended to skip over essential storyline progressions particularly between seasons . Major stories like character "Turtle" and his limousine company and "E's" break up with "Sloane" seemed to be played out behind the cameras.
"Entourage" was never going to be a masterpiece but it sure did predict the future for a few major franchise "home runs". It's strengths were that it was always fun, it showed that some friends stay buddies for life and once the show got going it was hard to stop watching.