Tuesday, November 30, 2010
DVD BlitzCraig: Entourage - Season 5, The Simpsons - Season 8, The Expendables
Entourage - Season 5
Fallen movie star, Vincent Chase (Adrien Grenier), desperately attempts restart his career after the utter failure of his independent film, Medellin. Meanwhile, Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), is given the opportunity of a lifetime, but it would mean quitting as Vince's agent.
This show is beginning to feel like that guy we all knew back in college who partied all night and slept all day, which was endearing back then, but now he continues that same lifestyle even though he graduated college ten years ago. So now when you hang out with him, you feel kind of embarrassed, and slightly sad. That's what I felt watching this show.
Now, don't get me wrong, it isn't necessarily bad, per say. The one thing Entourage has always been good at is pacing. Despite my reservations about the series, or the characters, I've always found myself riveted by the seasonal story arcs, not to mention the satirical look into the inner mechanics of Hollywood. One got the impression that Mark Wahlburg, as executive producer of the series, put a lot of his own personal experiences into the show. What makes this season better than the last one is that we finally get to see another side of fame besides the bling - we see what happens when one becomes a Hollywood pariah. Despite his good looks and acting ability, Vince cannot get out from under the shadow of his massive failure. Vince is normally a very calm, easygoing character, but this inability to get work begins to steadily chip away at his mellow demeanor as the season goes on. Hmm, what an interesting concept for this show - the characters learn from their mistakes and change? No fucking way!
Which brings me to my main gripe with this series as a whole: the characters. Since the beginning, these characters got on my fucking nerves, with the exception of Ari, but even then, he's very much a one dimensional character. Vince is way too nonchalant regarding his career. He makes impulsive, risky choices for no other reason but because his friends say so. Instead of making Aquaman 2, and keeping in the good graces of a major studio (not to mention making a nice paycheck), he burns his bridges there to make an indy film called Queens Boulevard. Lucky for him, the movie turned out to be a hit. Now, because of this same idiotic attitude, he's up shit creek because, instead of listening to people who know what they're talking about, he listened to his buddies, who don't know shit. They want what's best for Vince, not what's best for Vince's career. Then, just when it seems Vince is on the verge of making a major change in the way he runs his life, we have a deus ex machina ending, and all is right with the world.
So, has anyone learned anything? Fuck no.
Which brings me to his buddies. I can't tell you how much I hate Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon). Johnny was amusing at first, but now he's the personification of a joke that has been played out. Yes, we get it, he's an incompetent, former TV star from the 90s! I swear, in any given episode, Drama will always have a line like this: "It reminds me of when I filmed (POPULAR 90S TELEVISION SHOW) and I fucked (POPULAR 90S ACTRESS) in the (UNCONVENTIONAL LOCATION FOR HAVING SEX or BODILY ORIFICE). I tell you fellas, I never looked the same way at a Derby Pie again." Then, after this, the camera cuts to Vince and one of his friends exchanging amused looks and laughing, like: "Here he goes again!" Meanwhile, Turtle continues to be as useless as ever, just there long enough to bust Johnny's balls (or vice versa). Honestly, the only thing Turtle got to do this season was fuck Jamie Lynn-Sigler, which is a feat so unbelievable that I threw up at the thought of it. Finally, Vince's best friend, and manager, Eric, or "E" for short, continues to try to get his management business off the ground. So far, despite having only two or three clients, E seems to be well on his way to success. If anyone seems to have grown at all since the beginning of this series, it seems to be E.
Anyway, I've spent enough time writing about this show. Look, it's basically a good a show, with plenty of genuinely funny moments. It's also a very shallow show, with nothing much going on beneath the surface. If there is any point to the show besides "money is good, and chicks are for fucking", I'd be shocked. So, if you're a douchebag, then you'll worship the show like it's Lost or something. If you're somebody with a fully evolved brainstem, then you'll find the show an amusing diversion, but ultimately forgettable.
Verdict: Meh, S'alright...
The Simpsons - Season 8
Well, this will be a short review, because I've already seen every episode of this season a million times, and only watched these DVDs to relive the brilliance of them all. Once again, this is another Golden Season of The Simpsons, back when the show was like an unstoppable Juggernaut of comedy. Every single episode is hilarious and, what's more, incredibly imaginative.
This season even has one of my favorite episodes ever, "Homer's Enemy", where a new employee named Frank Grimes starts working at the power plant, and all of Homer's clumsy attempts at being friends with him only drives Frank to hate him more and more. I wish I could post video of it, but Fox is pretty on top of keeping Simpsons clips from the Youtubes, unless it's in Spanish or German. Lousy copyrights...
Another favorite of mine is "You Only Move Twice", in which Homer quits his job and the family moves from Springfield so that he can work for Hank Scorpio who, unbeknown to Homer, is actually a James Bond-like super villain.
Once again, no videos to show you. Damn you Fox - first you canceled Firefly, and now you ruin my blog!
Anyway, the list of classic episodes just goes on, and on, and on. This is a solid season of The Simpsons, and I couldn't advise you more to relive this classic series.
Verdict: Fucking Awesome!
A mercenary team, lead by Barney Ross (Sylvestor Stallone), takes a job from the CIA to infiltrate South America and assassinate a ruthless dictator (are there any other?), who is being manipulated by a dirty CIA agent, played by Eric "The Master" Roberts. That's... pretty much it.
Which brings me to why I disliked this film: what the fuck was the story??? Initially, it's about these mercs doing this job, but they end up backing out of it because they realize it's a trap. Then Barney inexplicably decides to go back himself to save some Latina woman he met doing reconnaissance. I mean, I know what's it's like when one has gone a long while without sex, believe me I do - you do crazy things just for the small chance that some form of sex will result from it. I haven't infiltrated a hostile country to kill a dictator, but I wouldn't put myself above it. As of now, I am going about 8 months and counting since my last sexual encounter, so an assassination/rescue mission is looking mighty reasonable by this point.
Anyway, the plot doesn't really make much sense. The movie also suffers from the fact that we don't ever get to really know these guys. I thought the title was meant to refer to the name of the mercenaries, not to the supporting cast, but expendable they are. The only ones who manage to muscle Sly or Statham out of the spotlight at all are Jet Li and Dolph Lundgren. Even then, neither of those guys got a chance to really shine. Jet Li just kicks things and makes jokes about how short he is, while Dolph just mumbles insanely and tries to hang pirates. At no point in the movie do these guys get a chance to make their characters relevant, or in Dolph's case, redeem himself.
The rest of the cast got to shoot things and fight bad guys, but I couldn't remember the names of their characters if a million dollars was riding on it. Hell, I had to look up Sly's character's name on IMDB, and he got the most screen time! My point is, in an ensemble action movie like this, it might be a good idea to flesh out the characters a bit so that we actually, I don't know, give a fuck about them.
Also, enough with the action movie banter. Good god, the next time I start watching a movie like this, I'm going to just turn it right off if the characters have this exchange:
Guy 1: "You take the 3 on the right, and I'll take the 2 on the left."
Guy 2: "No, I'll take the 3 on the right, and you take the 2 on the left."
Guy 1: "You got a problem?"
Guy 2: "Yeah, you always kill an odd number of guys, and I always kill an even number. I want to switch up this time."
Keep in mind that during this conversation, every character on the screen has their weapons drawn and aimed at each others' faces. I know it's an action movie staple for the heroes to act nonchalant in a situation that most of us would shit our pants in, but now it's just getting goofy and predictable.
I will say this about this film though: this is what G.I. Joe should have been. That movie should have been a group of hardcore mercs, all with unique specialties and personalities, put together in a special forces team to take down a dictator, either Destro or Cobra Commander. That would have rocked much harder than the retarded piece of shit movie we got instead. A stop motion movie using G.I. Joe action figures would have been better than that piece of shit.
What was I talking about? Oh yeah, The Expendables. So, the movie doesn't necessarily suck, so much as it's just a huge disappointment. I was expecting every action star from the past two decades brought together on film at last, each one getting a chance to do something cool, and the movie being a celebration of action movies. Instead, the only legitimate action stars we get are barely on the screen for more than 5 minutes, and pretty much do nothing, while a 70-year-old man runs a lot. So, check the movie out if you just want to see shit get blown up for an hour and a half, but if you were expecting anything more than that, you're SOL, my friends.
Verdict: Meh, s'alright...