Monday, 8 June 2015

ENTOURAGE: One. Damn. Fine. Flic.

A new movie opened last weekend. 
Here are some key moments.
A young man woos a woman who is a professional boxer/trainer. She deems him worthy of attention only when she can knock him out in the ring. 
(She does.) 
One of the movie’s most significant story lines concerns a man who has decided to help his ex-girlfriend through her pregnancy (she is pregnant with their child) even though they are no longer a couple. Just before his ex-girlfriend has her baby, the man has promiscuous sex with two strange women in a day. The women he has sex with ridicule him. He decides to reject promiscuity and — in the romantic climax of the film — re-unites with his ex-girlfriend to raise their newborn baby girl. 
The film finishes off with a gay marriage between an Asian man and his white boyfriend, presided over by a rabbi in a traditional Jewish ceremony. The Asian man is ‘given away’ by his ex-employer, a man who was once homophobic but now has come to see the error of his ways.
What might this be? An avant-garde feminist experimental film? A gala opening at Toronto’s Inside Out Festival?
Nope. These are some of the major plot points in the movie version of HBO TV show Entourage.
So what the heck is going on? 
I was a big fan of the HBO series, eagerly awaiting the release of the film. I tried to find a review in the Toronto newspapers last Friday. No luck. Then I went to Rotten Tomatoes. The film received got a rating of 40%. I  went to Now magazine, and  Radheyan Simonpilllai wrote: “Writer/director/creator Doug Ellin has filled the feature-length film’s vacuous space with misogyny, dated satire and as many cameos as a Muppets movie.” 
First: the cameos. Doug Ellin can certainly be forgiven for the Mark Wahlberg cameo, since Wahlberg is the producer of Entourage, and the series is based on his life story. As for the other — yes, numerous — cameos, well I guess I’m a bit too old to be really up on my pop culture, because frankly, I didn’t even know who most of these youngsters were. In some so-called cameos — like the Billy Bob Thornton appearance — the stars were invisible and very well-integrated into the film as fictional characters. In other instances, sure, the stars played themselves — because the boys of Entourage are in Hollywood, after all. 
What about misogyny? Excuse me, but what misogyny? Where? Oh yes, in one brief  scene a model is performing cunnilingus on another for the amusement of a scumbag movie producer. In another scene — during ‘E’’s brief flirtation with promiscuity — ‘E’ enjoys an explicit sex scene with a young naked woman. And finally, yes, there are several moments where ‘the boys’ comment about how much they would like to ‘do’ certain women.
Call me crazy. But don’t we get a bit more misogyny than this in the nightly rapes on Game of Thrones
Honestly, are straight men not allowed to enjoy looking at straight women anymore? Are they not allowed to voice their appreciation amongst themselves? Are they not allowed to want to have sex with women they consider beautiful? Since when did lust become a crime? And anyway, who can look inside their own heart, and say they have been without lust? Men lust. So do women (and plenty of women lust in this movie too!). These are the facts. Is there any reason we should ignore these truths?
But I think it’s Simonpillai’s second (and most ridiculous) criticism that really gets to the heart of why the entertainment establishment has it in for this movie. Entourage is not what movies are supposed to be anymore. Movies are not supposed to be smart, contemporary, challenging, moving, and filled with detailed, relatable characters. Most importantly, they are not supposed to have a point. The major satirical point made in this film is not dated at all, but in fact fiercely relevant — Entourage is about a star who wants to make a movie that he is passionate about, instead of Hollywood superhero trash. Entourage is critical of the Hollywood establishment, and that is the problem.
Is it a co-incidence that Entourage is competing against a bunch of extraordinarily tedious, mind-numbing masterpieces of movie crapola, i.e.: San Andreas, Tomorrowland, Mad Max, and The Avengers (and don’t forget!!!! ANTMAN opens soon!!!!)
Unfortunately audiences only seem to want unchallenging pap these days — stupid, boring, violent, non-intellectually-threatening garbage. And apparently people don’t go to see X-rated films anymore — because you can’t bring the kids. The only movies people seem to care about are the bland techno-orgies that make big bucks.
Keep in mind you won’t hear this anywhere else. Because there is nothing but idiocy being spewed about this movie.
So let me say it here, once and for all.
Entourage is: One. Damn. Fine. Flic.