The ”Entourage” season finale: The Cannes premiere
Mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money. The season finale of Entourage was all about the greenbacks. And that wasn’t the only thing that came back: Almost every player involved in the creation of Medellín had a cameo during the episode — bankroller Nicky Rubenstein, Harvey Weingard (a.k.a. the Fake Harvey Weinstein), and even our favorite Middle Eastern Money Man, Yair Marx. All in all, an episode that had blasts from the past, tons of cash, and an eagerly anticipated movie that crashed.
So let’s start this wrap-up of the end of the season at the beginning. Hollywood is worse than high school in terms of the myth becoming the reality. It’s why Patrick Dempsey was able to transform from geek to chic in Can’t Buy Me Love and why movies can be sold for millions before anyone has a chance to actually see a single frame. If people believe something is true, then it becomes the reality. Thus Yair, a.k.a. the MEMM, was willing to toss $35 million on the table to buy Medellín a day before the premiere. He bought the hype. The boys arrived in Cannes ready to rumble. Ari was prepped to pimp out the movie, garner some favorable buzz, and emerge from the festival with a sale to a big studio. That was the plan until the MEMM intervened. He barged into the boys’ hotel and invited them to attend a party on his boat and listen to his offer to buy Medellín. To assuage Vinnie’s concern about his wife (last time the pair connected, Vinnie was told a quick shtup would guarantee financing for the movie — an offer Vinnie passed on), the MEMM said, ”She not here. We are through” But his sentiment was that bygones were bygones and he still had interest in Medellín.
An offer from a non-studio ? Not an option for the boys. They wanted big bucks and a wide release to snag the Oscars that the movie was sure to deserve. Then Ari checked in with the man who wrote the check for Medellín. Nicky R. was stuck back in L.A. under house arrest with an ankle bracelet monitoring his every move — ”The judge won’t even let me remove it to get rid of this rash,” Nicky told Ari — and cash in hand sounded much better to Nicky than any potential awards down the road. So off to the MEMM’s party boat, circa 1996. Well, it had to be 1996, right? Is anyone else still dancing the Macarena? Turtle was offered a gratis round of oral sex to keep him busy. (Yes, I now agree that this show has crossed the line in its depictions of women. Funny is fine. This wasn’t funny — or attempting to be. Just rude and degrading.) Then the MEMM brought the boys below deck to talk business. Seems he was about to announce the start of a new $100 million venture and wanted Medellín to be the first acquisition. To prove his new company was serious, the MEMM had hired Pixar’s head of marketing! My favorite line of the night: ”You know, the girl who did Nemo.” the MEMM asked. ”I love that fish! I am very real.” But the boys weren’t biting.
Vince laid it out over lunch. ”It’s never been about the money!” he told E. Once again, Vince’s manager, business adviser, and friend pointed out the cold hard truth: The deal could recoup all the money they’d both sunk into the film prior to the premiere. But when Vince offered to buy out E’s share, friendship won out. The wee worrywart from Queens stuck with his buddy despite his misgivings about the quality of Medellín. What a good friend. What a moron. At least in retrospect.
The countdown was on. Ari had to get a better offer from a major studio, or Nicky was going to take the MEMM’s deal. As always, Ari pulled out the big gun: Lloyd. While enjoying a cruise that looked as if it were staged on the set of Caligula, Lloyd drank a mimosa from a phallic ice sculpture and began spreading the buzz through the assistants’ network. And the plan worked! Kinda. Ari lured Dana Gordon into considering an offer during the press conference before Medellín. ”You don’t really want someone else in control of this thing while you guys are producing Clouds, do you?” Ari asked her. And then she zinged back: ”It’s called Silo now, Ari. Or did you forget that’s the movie your clients decided to make?” But the seed was planted. And fertilized later that night with the type of stuff that really makes plants grown: crap. While Fake Harvey was bitchin’ out the boys for reneging on their deal to sell him Medellín back in L.A., Ari pretended it was a lovefest for the sake of Dana, who was stealthily watching. The result was the magic that Hollywood does best — an illusion that elicits an emotional response in the audience — and Dana brought forth an offer.
And that offer was good. Around $30 million — after Vinnie and E agreed not to take back their money until after the movie turned a profit — but that couldn’t compete with the MEMM. After Drama let it slip that the boys were about to sign with another studio, the man with pockets as deep as a pool table pulled out $75 million. A bargain for a movie that might be a worldwide blockbuster.
Except Medellín wasn’t going to be big. Not even an art-house hit. At least, not in the version seen at the premiere. As the lights rose on the screening, Ari was asleep, E resigned to being right the whole time, Turtle embarrassed, Vinnie clueless, and director Billy Walsh, a.k.a. Wally Balls, still in love with his opus. Dana was thrilled she hadn’t bought a turkey, and the MEMM was mortified. ”I never signed anything!” he said to Ari. ”Sue me. My company is based out of Dubai.” International business is a bitch, ain’t it?
Who would have thought that the White Knight of Medellín would be Fake Harvey? He agreed to buy the movie. For one dollar. Considering the reaction, he may have overpaid. But all is not lost for Medellín, as we may see next season. With Fake Harvey in control, the movie could still be a winner. And can we stop calling him Fake Harvey, now? Even Ari seems to have forgotten the line between fantasy and reality, remarking, ”You should have seen Shakespeare in Love before [Harvey] got his scissor hands on it.” Even, if the real Harvey has lost the company named after his parents, he has immortality forever on Entourage.
Oh, and Drama played the Ugly American to the hilt. Sigh. Kevin Dillon deserves so much better. ‘Nuff said.
Well, all those who thought E would be right all along deserve a round of applause. But what does this mean for the future of Silo? Is Walsh out? Is Vinnie in more trouble now than when he ditched Aquaman 2? I’m just glad Medellín was a stinker. Good to see Wally Balls taken down a peg. And finally Vinnie didn’t land on top. But where will next season go? You tell me!
Many thanks for sticking with me for this round of the best show about the wild and wonderful world of Hollywood. See you at the next premiere.