Vincent Chase is the coolest actor in Hollywood.
The only thing I can think of to Grrr about HBO's "Entourage" is that at 30 minutes, the show's not long enough. Perhaps filming twice as many episodes and showing back-to-back new ones every Sunday would satisfy my appetite a little better, but I don't foresee that happening anytime soon.
So why do I love Vincent Chase and his entourage so much?
It's like I tell Mrs. Grrr: If you want to know what men are really thinking in most situations, watch "Entourage" regularly. Suddenly, men become a little easier to understand.
It all comes down to two very important things for all men: Sex, and size. It's really that simple.
Even in situations that don't directly involve the act of sex, men are thinking "How do I come out of this situation looking like a guy with whom gorgeous women wouldn't mind having sex?"
Especially in situations where one's manhood, or pride, is challenged.
Ari Gold, played as so incredibly volatile by Jeremy Piven, does not like when he can't use his vast Hollywood power to get what he wants. He fires underlings with relish. He regularly steals other agents' clients or their parts for his own clients. And he steps on people as they tumble back down to earth.
But there's a soft side to Ari Gold that belies the usual bravado.
Like the time he refused to let his gay assistant Lloyd "take one for the team" with a successful screenwriter who has a penchant for gay men. Even though landing the guy would mean big commissions for Gold, he can't let Lloyd go through with it and loses the client.
Or the time when Ari's son is rejected admission into Bevely Hills' elite private schools because his own reputation as a self-serving jerk precedes him, and he has to swallow his pride and plead with the headmaster he is at odds with for mercy.
In a rare moment, Ari even sheds a tear.
Of course, it being Hollywood, the promise of an agent position at Ari's agency for the headmaster's own son is apparently enough of a cure for Ari-itis.
Vince, as portrayed in the show by Adrian Grenier, is exactly what real Hollywood celebrities are all about. He's a younger George Clooney.
Guys want to be like him because of his loyalty to his buddies (think "Ocean's 11, 12, 13") and his charisma.
Women want to be with him because of his charisma and his looks — which is another reason why guys want to be just like him.
In essence, the guys of "Entourage" are like the Chicago Bulls of the Michael Jordan era. Everyone knows his role.
Vince is Michael Jordan, the star. E, Vince's manager, is Scottie Pippen, the set-up man. Turtle, his faithful driver, is clutch player Steve Kerr. Johnny Drama, Vin's older, less successful but always unpredictable actor-brother, well of course, he's Dennis Rodman.
And agent Ari Gold is Phil Jackson — but he'd have to be recast as a cross between coaches Jackson, Pat Riley and Bobby Knight.
For the hundreds of millions of fans who are hungry for celebrity news whether they admit it or not, "Entourage" sheds some light on the place that makes (and breaks) so many stars.
And in the Hollywood of "Entourage," every single decision that is made has to do with money. Or more to the point, "How much money will I stand to gain from this decision?" (Note to casting directors Georgianne Walken and Sheila Jaffe — I work for scale.)
And fans of the show get a little glimpse behind the scenes. For instance, they know why getting films into festivals is so important.
One, it allows starlets to wear their cute ski outfits (even though they don't ski), and two, it allows the men of the film industry to schmooze while staring at said starlets.
But there are moments on "Entourage" that are so sad they're not even funny. Like the episode in which old-time movie producer Bob Ryan, played by the legendary Martin Landau, portrays a once-successful Hollywood producer from a bygone era who is tolerated out of politeness, but never taken seriously by the power players.
God knows there are hundreds of one-time success stories just like Ryan (think Robert Evans, David Brown, Barry Spikings) — Oscar-winners all, who were mercilessly left behind by the new Hollywood.
The problem is not that Hollywood is cruel. The real issue is guys like those make quality films that are just too expensive and too risky in our sequel-driven, YouTube generation. Pet projects are a thing of the past.
But the best thing about "Entourage" are the cameos by people who appear as themselves.
James Cameron famously directed "Aquaman." Peter Jackson of "Lord of the Rings" and "King Kong" fame just called E about having Vince appear in a video game. "A Beautiful Mind" producer Brian Grazer improvised gamely when Piven's Ari Gold passed him on Canon Drive and yelled out that they should get together to discuss putting Vinny Chase and Russell Crowe in a movie together.
There was betting on soccer at Dennis Hopper's house, and Ari getting the verbal smackdown by Sarah Silverman backstage at "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"
I even asked "Crash" director Paul Haggis at the real Oscars last year if he was going to direct "Medellin," the fictional epic about Pablo Escobar Vincent Chase made this season (it went to fictional director Billy Walsh). Haggis laughed mightily and said "No, I hear that project is going to someone else."
It's very rare when real people play along in a fiction about themselves, but somehow, the brilliance of "Entourage" has made it happen. It's like when it became a mark of "making it" when one was lampooned by "Saturday Night Live" or nowadays, "The Daily Show."
And perhaps I am oversimplifying things here, as I am wont to do (see below for an example), but the bottom line is, I love this show.
I was never a spectator sports fan. Growing up, it escaped me why men were such football or baseball fans. Why did fathers clear their schedules every Sunday for even the most mundane of NFL matchups? I could never understand it.
And then I got married. Now I know what those three hours of uninterrupted game day viewing is all about. It's about ALONE. And somewhere along the way, all women were taught that husbands and fathers and brothers and sons would get three or four hours, 17 Sundays a year. And it was accepted
And God created football.
Like I said, I am wont to oversimplify things.
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