A few years ago, in one of the more fun interviews I’ve done in my professional career, actors Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell told me that TV is the new movies. In their theory, the best stuff being produced today is for TV and not movie theaters. While I disagree, the point is a good one. The alphabet channels aren’t doing much that rings my bell, but the premium channels and a few others are producing some incredible, well-written, beautifully acted and almost addicting programs.
So why — then — do so many of the producers and actors of those programs want to pack up and move from the comfortable confines of your living room to the silver screen? Most TV sitcoms — past and present — venturing into theaters have been awful. Recent alphabet channel examples are The Lone Ranger, 21 Jump Street, Batman and The Muppets. Then there’s specialized stuff like Sex in the City. It totally tanked.
The conclusion: TV done at the movies is rarely good.
Key word: rarely. The HBO entry Entourage is an exception. The immensely popular program ran from 2004-11, and for those that don’t know, is loosely based on the early movie star life of Mark Wahlberg. This is a quality piece of work and is packed with terrific acting and a seriously fun plot. Plus, about half of Hollywood, a few celebs and some of the nation’s top sports stars do cameos.
Perhaps half of Hollywood is a bit of an exaggeration, but I quit counting cameos at 30.
Oh. The movie. Vince does a new movie and convinces Ari — who now heads a studio — to let him direct. A long time later, when the movie ought to be done, it isn’t, and Vince needs more money. Ari has to go to the producer — a rich Texan and son done played by Billy Bob Thornton and a grown-up Haley Joel Osment — and ask for more money. It causes a whole lot of trouble for everyone and sets in motion the kind of fun fans of the TV show loved.
Never seen the show? No problem. Series creator and writer/director Doug Ellin does a great job of getting you familiar with the characters and their stories. Gather your own entourage and catch this one.