”Entourage”: The making of ”Medellin”
Phew. That’s all I can say after this episode. It’s not so much that the official start of season 4 was a brilliant and creative way to get a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of Medellín. As the estimable Dalton Ross pointed out to me, ”The Simpsons did the whole spoof-documentary thing years ago. And better.” I just breathed a sigh of relief that we weren’t going to get stuck in the jungles of Colombia for three episodes before getting back to the concrete — and much more dangerous — jungle of Hollywood. So I applaud the idea of shrink-wrapping the entire shoot into one episode via a documentary. I wonder if the outtakes from the fake documentary will land on a real documentary on the Entourage DVD release. It’s so meta my head throbs.
But before I pop an aspirin and lie down, my highlight moments from tonight:
Billy Walsh Didn’t Billy Walsh/Wally Balls just run away with this episode? Channeling Apocalypse Now, Walsh went all cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs during filming, becoming obsessed with a local actress. (Fun facts: Sofia Vergara is actually Colombian and really a blonde! Also, she is smoking hot. That is also a fact.) But the lady was just a smoke screen, as was interrogating the entire cast and crew to find out who might be sleeping with her. In the end, it was about Billy the artist, and we saw a softer, gentler guy who was simply an insecure auteur needing some love. ”You know you’ve never given me a compliment before,” the director said to E. ”I never knew you needed one,” was E’s reply. And so the animosity between the two finally dissipated. Do you think the friendship will last? Or will E go back to wanting to knock down the eccentric director at every turn?
The No-Ending Plot Thread I suppose the fact that they started shooting the film without an ending was meant to be the nail-biter in this episode. But did anyone actually believe that Medellín wasn’t going to get finished? After all it took to get the movie off the ground, I didn’t buy for a second that it would crash and burn at the last moment. I did think it was clever when Billy’s writer’s block forced E to call in Academy Award-winning screenwriter Stephen Gaghan (Traffic) and the director pulled an all-nighter to complete the screenplay himself. And kudos to Gaghan for the best line of the episode: ”I’ve had people read my work and not like it. But I’ve never had anybody pay me not to work. It was nice, actually.”
Adam Goldberg as Nicky Rubenstein The once high-flying producer fell, and he fell hard. Busted for possession of cocaine, Nicky is broke (frozen bank accounts), has no passport (he’s clearly a flight risk), and is praying the $30 million he invested in the movie will somehow pay dividends. Or else….As he pointed out to the camera crew filming him in rehab, ”There’s no suicide watch here.” Highlight of the highlight: His lame excuse for trying to bring cocaine to Colombia: The bag had been in his car trunk for years. And then his resigned acceptance that ”the judge didn’t really buy that.”
Vince in Prosthetics At first, Vince’s transformation into Pablo Escobar via latex reminded me of when my high school performed the play Cyrano de Bergerac and our lead actor was forced to wear a fake nose that appeared to consist of Silly Putty and asbestos. But Vince’s mask grew on me, and as they say in Ocean’s Thirteen, ”The nose plays.” Was it perfect? Hell no. Not even close. It certainly wasn’t good enough for a real movie. But inside the fake world of Entourage, it was good enough. What wasn’t good enough was Vince’s accent. Woof. Was he trying to combine Al Pacino’s Scarface and Elmer Fudd? It just sounded phony and funny. Not ideal to play a scary guy like Escobar.
And finally, tonight’s episode had some of the best Drama-isms ever:
”Whenever you are about to shoot, you get butterflies, but if you’re prepared and take care of your instrument, what could go wrong? Tony Danza taught me that.” — Drama, on screen acting.
”I could read with. We could leave the kiss out…or not.” — Drama, offering to run lines with the hot local actress during her audition.
”I nailed one of my directors on Melrose Place….That was the year they threw me off, actually.” — Drama, discussing on-set relationships, while slowly realizing why he got fired from the prime-time soap.
”@#$% @#*@$# @#$%* @#@#@!” — Drama’s expletive-filled Spanish line in his one scene in Medellín.
So now that the film is completed, what’s next? There has to be a problem looming ahead, so what do you think it’ll be? And with the boys headed back to L.A., will E return to Sloane? And once again, an episode was very light on the Ari. Is he getting less airtime to Billy can get more? Is that a good trade-off?