Visitors to this website over the past four weeks may have sensed a certain anticipatory fervor for a project variously described as “the cinematic event of a lifetime” and “what could be the greatest movie of all time.” Those same visitors may have written off said descriptions as “insane hyperbole” and the “champagne-drenched delusions of a madman with impeccable taste in the arts.” No matter your opinion of how we’ve chosen to spend this last month before the cinematic game was changed forever — go ahead and picture someone propping open his eyelids with 24-carat gold toothpicks as he marathons 96 episodes of the finest, most spiritually corrupting Hollywood lifestyle porn that HBO GO has to offer, you won’t be wrong — two things are certain:
- The Entourage movie is finally here.
- And we have seen the Entourage movie.
To be sure, there will be doubters. There will be the people you’ll overhear in the multiplex lobby, furrowing their brows as they stare uncomprehendingly at a poster exhorting them to “DREAM LARGE” and “LIVE LARGER,” asking pointless questions like “Who wanted this?” instead of answering its clarion call to life-improving action by buying a ticket.
Who wanted this, indeed? How about Mark Wahlberg, the irresistible force upon whom the decade-spanning Entourage epic is based, who made this movie a reality through the same force of will that transformed him from a humble underwear model into an equally humble — but unimaginably wealthy — A-list actor and producer?
How about commerce, the immovable Hollywood object against which all those crazy-large dreams — ideally involving preexisting and proven IP — are tested for financial feasibility before receiving that coveted green light?
How about the universe itself, thrown perilously out of balance by the four-year absence of an entertainment product involving Vince and the boys, in an attempt to fill that yawning void?
Does that answer their questions?
Probably not, if they’re even asking them in the first place. But it’s not our job to formulate a satisfying theory about the Entourage movie’s existential mystery.1 It’s our job to help each potential ticket-buyer make the best possible decision about whether the Entourage movie is the right choice for this weekend. At a time when a trip to the multiplex offers a dizzying array of tempting options — George Clooney in a feature-length commercial for a theme park subsection,2 a docudrama where the Rock watches millions of helpless souls tumble into a tectonic abyss, that sequel with all the singing — it’s a job that’s more important than ever. Let’s get to it.
Every time we consider it, we’re overcome with visions of these ancient, indecipherable symbols: $$$$.
Which is, like Grantland, owned by Disney. Sorry, Walt!
Oh, but one last thing before we begin.
Do you miss Entourage?
The Entourage series finale aired in September 2011, nearly four years ago, firmly within the era that critics often call the Golden Age of Television — or, at minimum, the New Golden Age of Television — as they heap deserved laurels upon so-called prestige offerings like The Wire, The Sopranos, and The Mad Men.
Entourage is rarely, if ever, mentioned in the same breath as other Golden Age shows, despite 13 wins and a staggering 96 nominations for various awards, some of which you may have even heard of, including the Emmys, the Golden Globes, and the Teen Choice Awards. Have the more traditionally recognized stalwarts won more trophies? They have. And they also share one other crucial trait in common:
They are all gone forever. Never to be spun off. Never to find their way to a second life on the big screen. Never to offer a new story to their disconsolate, still-grieving fans.
The Entourage boys, however, are back.
They love you enough to return. They love you enough to pull the limo up to your front door, pile you in the back with the well-stocked bar Johnny Drama and Turtle have only half-drained, and drive you to the theater, where a never-before-seen, one-hour-and-forty-four-minute episode is playing, just for you and several hundred of your closest friends. Tony Soprano’s not going to do that for you. Stringer Bell’s certainly not going to do that for you. Don Draper’s ghost might be haunting the person behind the concession stand handing you a two-gallon tub of Coke while humming a timeless jingle, but he’s not coming back, either.
But Vince, yeah. Ari, yup. E and Turtle and Drama, you know it. They’re here for you. They know you missed them. They built it, and now you must come.
SEE IT. The boys MADE THIS FOR YOU. The least that you can do is DEMONSTRATE YOUR APPRECIATION by showing up to watch what might be considered the TENTH-TO-FIFTEENTH BEST ENTOURAGE EPISODE OF ALL TIME. They made 96 — wait, now 97 — of these. The Entourage movie is SAFELY WITHIN THE TOP TEN-ISH PERCENT. And it is THE LONGEST EPISODE by a COMFORTABLE MARGIN. In Hollywood, LENGTH COUNTS FOR SOMETHING.
Have you never seen Entourage?
While the Entourage movie is unquestionably made to satisfy its most dedicated fans, the boys have taken great pains to make it accessible to the general population. They even invited broadcasting legend Piers Morgan to handle the backstory duties early on in the film, via a talk-show segment in which he awkwardly introduces every important character as he interrogates erstwhile super-agent and new studio chief Ari Gold — he’s a studio chief now, did you not read the countdown? — about his rocky, if brief, tenure. You’ll be caught up in no time at all if the world-establishing, exposition-laden opening party scene proves too disorienting.
SKIP IT. Look: Your bro Piers could help you figure it all out and potentially ENJOY THIS AS A STAND-ALONE WORK OF CINEMA. But why bother? You’ve ALREADY OPTED OUT of the Entourage experience. If you’re not going to SQUEAL WITH DELIGHT because you noticed the PAINT GUN MOUNTED ON THE WALL of Ari’s office, don’t waste the GENIUS SET DECORATOR’S time. Go see PITCH PERFECT 2 and REEXAMINE THE POOR LIFE CHOICES that led you to ignore Entourage for eight seasons.
Are you a fan who’s already confused about the Ari Gold job thing we just mentioned?
You’re in luck! A luxury automobile manufacturer was generous enough to commission this four-minute commercial that explains what Ari’s been up to since quitting his agency and “retiring” to Positano with Mrs. Ari, who considered that move a precondition to continuing their troubled relationship.
TRIGGER WARNINGS: BIZARRO ARI GOLD WITH A MAJESTIC HEAD OF HAIR, BIZARRO ARI GOLD SPEAKING IN TERRIBLY ACCENTED ITALIAN, REGULAR ARI GOLD WEARING A LUSH CARDIGAN.
SEE IT. You’re not going to BELIEVE THIS, but that car also SHOWS UP IN THE MOVIE. Welcome to the new, medium-spanning ENTOURAGE CINEMATIC UNIVERSE. This question SPONSORED BY CADILLAC.
Do you like yachts?
Who doesn’t like yachts? Except for (1) people who’ve never been on a yacht, or (2) people who feel that stepping foot on a yacht is such an unattainable goal that any yacht-boarding dreams quickly curdle into self-defeating, anti-yacht sentiment. Get your yacht thoughts in order, people, you can’t find a single thing wrong with a yacht once you toss your personal yacht-baggage off the party deck.
SEE IT. THERE’S A YACHT IN THIS, like, RIGHT AT THE BEGINNING, before you even have time to get impatient about WHEN THEY’RE GOING TO BRING OUT THE YACHT. There are ALSO JET SKIS and OTHER SMALL WATERCRAFT that denote HIGH STATUS.
Do you like naked people?
The Entourage movie features many naked people. Naked people on yachts; naked people grinding away on top of diminutive talent managers who are perhaps enjoying their newfound sexual freedom a little too much, especially considering their ex-girlfriends are about to give birth to their babies at any second; naked people just enjoying the naked-person Hollywood lifestyle one can glimpse from any double-decker tour bus circling Los Angeles.
SEE IT. And don’t worry, all the NAKED PEOPLE are VERY ATTRACTIVE WOMEN, because what are they going to do, suddenly reverse course 48 hours into this thing and OBJECTIFY DUDES WITH THEIR JUNK HANGING OUT?
Are you heavily invested in the ups and downs of E and Sloan’s romance?
When last we saw E and Sloan, they were boarding their own Vinnie Chase–chartered private jet to work on their turbulent (pun unintentional, nonetheless graceful) relationship following the series-finale-leading revelation that she is pregnant with his child. You probably fell asleep after reading “E and Sloan.”
SKIP IT. Literally NO ONE CARES what happens to E and Sloan, even if they dedicate a good 20 percent of a feature film to RESOLVING THEIR TIRESOME COPARENTING ISSUES, which quite frankly were not helped by a SUBPLOT ABOUT HOW E GETS LAID TOO MUCH NOW.
Have you always wondered about the film-financing consequences of Vinnie Chase going over budget on his first directorial effort?
The Entourage movie was not directed by Vinnie Chase. (It’s directed by Doug Ellin, the creator of Entourage; as real as he seems, Vinnie Chase is a fictional character incapable of helming real-world movies, even those about his auteurist ambitions.) But Vince does leverage his relationship with Ari to direct his first feature, Hyde, a modern retelling — as far as we can tell from the footage grudgingly revealed as a plot point — of the Jekyll & Hyde story involving mutant DJs, phosphorescent vials of super-molly, and extremely unfortunately timed depictions of people throwing Molotov cocktails at police officers. Vince’s inability to realize his vision under the austerity-measure constraints of a $100 million budget is the Entourage movie’s chief narrative engine. Cofinanciers Billy Bob Thornton and Haley Joel Osment3 spend nearly two hours of screen time deciding whether or not to withhold the relative pittance that would get the movie finished and into theaters, where it would inevitably become the kind of critical and financial juggernaut that only Vin Diesel dares dream about.
As we correctly predicted long ago, the best thing in the film.
SEE IT IN IMAX 3-D. If you’re interested in WATCHING BILLY BOB AND HALEY JOEL HAGGLE OVER MONEY, you are ABOUT TO BOARD THE FILM-FINANCE THRILL RIDE OF THE CENTURY.
Do you worry that Billy Bob Thornton is too committed to the roles he plays?
Billy Bob Thornton is one of the finest — and often most intense — actors working today. But it’s nice to see a guy take a scene or two off, you know?
There are still the grace notes of craft if you look for them: the far-off look in the eye of a professional who’s mentally prepping for other work, the cocksure grin of a veteran who knows the entire Warner Bros. film archive isn’t going to burn itself down if he momentarily slips out of the skin of a thinly drawn Texas money man who’s more belt buckle than balls. Billy Bob knows what he’s doing up there. Billy Bob knows how to pace himself.
SEE IT. Haley Joel might be the one CHEWING THE SCENERY, but it’s Billy Bob who generously SITS THERE AND PASSES THE BOTTLE OF A.1. STEAK SAUCE. He knows that sometimes YOU GOTTA LET THE KIDS EAT.
Do you need to watch Johnny Drama make breakfast one last time?
Did you think they would do an Entourage movie where Drama doesn’t make breakfast? Don’t be stupid. The Entourage boys know where their brioche toast is buttered, and they know who slathered it onto those perfectly browned slices with Le Cordon Bleu–trained-brunch-chef precision.
SEE IT. Johnny Drama maintains his position as THE KING OF HOLLYWOOD BREAKFAST PREPARATION. One day we will all gather at midnight showings of the Entourage movie AND THROW FROZEN EGGOS AT THE SCREEN WHILE SCREAMING “I MADE YOU SOME WAFFLES, BRO.” We will also BRING SOME FRESH BERRIES AS GARNISH, maybe SQUEEZE UP SOME OJ TO HELP WASH IT ALL DOWN.
Are you unnerved by the idea of Turtle getting in shape?
The Entourage boys share your concerns, and they’ve taken pains to lessen the cognitive blow of witnessing the end product of Turtle’s startling, four-year transformation from “flabby stoner who drives Vince’s car” to “suddenly rich alcohol-company magnate who seems to have also invested in a personal trainer” by mocking his svelte appearance at every possible opportunity. Fat Turtle, skinny Turtle, that guy can’t win!4
Except for the “tequila millionaire who now also owns a massive beach house where he throws yacht-quality screening parties” thing.
SKIP IT. Turtle IS SHREDDED and it is a GRAVE VIOLATION OF THE DUMPY-SIDEKICK COMPACT. The Entourage boys are NEVER SUPPOSED TO CHANGE, no matter what EASILY SURMOUNTED OBSTACLE — DAD-BOD-RELATED CHALLENGES INCLUDED — they overcome on the way to UNIMAGINABLE SUCCESS.
Do you like celebrity cameos?
There is nothing quite like the rush of seeing famous people portray themselves in a movie, a heady sensation of recognition that is only heightened when that celebrity is good-naturedly playing off his or her accepted public image. Merely appearing in the Entourage movie, however briefly, signals to the world that someone is “in on the joke” and “willing to have some fun at his or her own expense.”
Here is an incomplete list of celebrity cameos in the Entourage movie:5
- Armie Hammer6
- Mark Wahlberg Plugging His Various Non-Entourage Projects, Because He’s the Goddamn Boss, That’s Why
- Liam Neeson
- Jon Favreau
- Kelsey Grammer
- Bob Saget
- Johnny’s Bananas Costar Andrew Dice Clay
- Pharrell Williams
- Pharrell Williams’s Very Famous Hat
- Calvin Harris
- Avion Tequila’s Mark Cuban, Like 15 Times
- A Happy, Pre-Deflategate Tom Brady
- Gronk in a Sling, Doing a Beer Bong and Occasionally Screaming Things
- Ed O’Neill
- Arnold the Rottweiler
- Billy Walsh’s Full-Back Medellin Tattoo
- Warren Buffett
- Chad Lowe
- David Spade
- David Motherfucking Faustino, Yo
- Richard Schiff
This list does not include Ronda Rousey nor Emily Ratajkowski, who portray the fictional characters “Ronda Rousey” and “Emily Ratajkowski.”
He also plays a fictional character that shares his name, but he’s been demoted to the cameo list because we are genuinely concerned about the direction of his career.
SEE IT. Did we say WARREN BUFFETT? That’s right, we said WARREN BUFFETT. The ORACLE OF OMAHA is in the house, and he is RIDING AROUND ON A STUDIO-LOT GOLF CART FOR SOME REASON.
Are you afraid that Ari Gold might go to outer space?
Indeed, this seems a strange thing to worry about given that Ari has never shown any interest in the space program, but let HBO president of programming Michael Lombardo dispel any of your irrational fears regarding those theoretical interstellar aspirations:
“Let’s be clear, people want Entourage. They don’t want to see Ari Gold in outer space; they want Ari Gold doing what Ari Gold does, which is yell and go crazy and be bombastic.”
SEE IT. We can happily confirm that ARI GOLD STAYS ON PLANET EARTH. He does, however, LOSE HIS MIND MULTIPLE TIMES. He also GOES TO THERAPY to work on his RESURFACING RAGE ISSUES, deals with LLOYD IN AN EMOTIONALLY ABUSIVE MANNER, and DOES ALL THE OTHER HORRIBLE ARI GOLD THINGS ARI GOLD DOES. But don’t worry, NO OUTER SPACE BULLSHIT from Ari Gold.
Would you skip the entire Entourage movie if you knew that you could watch a short black-and-white film in which Ari Gold and his new assistant Kid Cudi play chess on a regular-size chess board as they both sit atop a giant chess board?
We had no idea this was an option when we signed up for the preview screening.
SKIP IT. Ari and Cudi Chess It Out, Bitch is ROUGHLY ONE HOUR AND FORTY-TWO MINUTES SHORTER than the Entourage movie. You could spend all that extra time PRETENDING TO READ THE ART OF WAR IN THE STUDIO COMMISSARY or dreaming up further HOW TO MAKE IT IN AMERICA CROSSOVER PROJECTS.
Do you wish that Entourage would go on forever?
“It’s a franchise that hopefully will never die until one of us does,” Vinnie Chase told the New York Times with an unexpected poignancy that has us suddenly contemplating not only this beloved crew’s mortality, but our own. Perhaps that chess match Ari is playing is with Death itself, and the stakes couldn’t be higher:
Win and we keep getting Entourage movies.
Lose and Johnny Drama goes face-down in a plate of delicious pancakes, bringing the saga to an irreversible finish.
We won’t tell you how the movie ends.
Nor will we tell you how the chess match ends.
But we will leave you with this:
SEE IT. All men must die, but all ENTOURAGE BOYS MUST LIVE FOREVER.
This piece has been updated to correct the nature of the toy gun mounted on Ari Gold’s office wall in the Entourage movie.