Movie Review: Compelling drama in HBO series Entourage

I loved the HBO TV series and I love the movie, Entourage, even more. The movie takes the saga of five close friends to a new deep level. Watching the movie is like binge watching the TV series, which is worth doing anyway. Jeremy Piven really knocks the series out of the ball park in this story based on the life on Mark Wahlberg and his buds

By Ray Hanania

RayHanania155x130I love the HBO TV series Entourage and I loved the movie even more. I can’t get enough of them, although honestly I don’t think the public appreciate’s the quality of the storyline or the performances of the actors and actresses.

Entourage, the movie, includes all of the same star characters Eric the movie manager played by Kevin Connolly, Vince the movie star played by Adrian Grenier, Johnny Drama (what a great character name) played by Kevin Dillon, Turtle played by Jerry Ferrara, the extraordinary Ari Gold played by Chicago’s own Jeremy Piven, Eric’s girlfriend Sloan played by Moraccan Jewish actress Emmanuelle Chriqui (Hey, I’m Arab and I love any actresses from the Middle East), and Ari’s wife played by Perrey Reeves.

The main characters of Entourage. From left to...

The main characters of Entourage. From left to right: Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), Eric “E” Murphy (Kevin Connolly), Vincent “Vince” Chase (Adrian Grenier), Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) and Johnny “Drama” Chase (Kevin Dillon). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s lots of sex, in a tasteful way (most of the time) but an fantastic and compelling plot that doesn’t miss a beat with the HBO Series if you have been watching it. It fits perfectly.

Piven is really the star of the movie and HBO TV Series. He puts the energy into the plot. His personality, based on the real-life high-powered super-Hollywood talent agent Ari Emanuel (the brother of viciously anti-Arab Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel — but you can’t blame a brother for the failings of a sibling).

Piven is on the mark every moment of the movie, as he is every moment of the HBO series. (Seriously if you have never watched the HBO TV series, you have to check it out on-demand. Binge watch it. You’ll love it. And then you’ll want to see the film.

Jeremy Piven

Jeremy Piven (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Marcus Movie Theater was pretty empty when I went to see it early Saturday afternoon, although the great weather might have been the competition. The weather’s been terrible iN Chicagoland lately so a great, sunny, warm Saturday with clear blue skies is just too hard to pass up in a movie theater.

But I fear the general public doesn’t appreciate this film as much as it deserves to be appreciated. It’s that good.

There’s a great character role played by Billy Bob Thornton (the wealthy financier of the Hollywood movie the entourage is making and Piven has to fight to defend. And phenomenal characters played by Rex Lee (Piven’s gay former assistant), Debi Mazur, the whacky Rhys Coiro. Being Hollywood-based, of course Wahlberg manages to bring in cameos played by famous  celebrities like Mark Cuban, Jon Favreau, Liam Neeson, Bob Saget, Gary Busey, Andrew Dice Clay, Pharrell Williams, Ed O’Niell, David Spade, Jessica Alba, Matt Lauer, and George Takai just to name a few — and I mean just a few. The movie is packed with celebrities you’d have to see it several times to recognize everyone.

But Piven is the star. I had the opportunity to chat with Piven a few years ago when I tried pitching an idea for an Arab-Israeli sitcom based on my Arab-Jewish marriage, after launching a successful comedy career after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. From Evanston, Piven has had a meteoric rise in Hollywood from his mother’s brilliant theater, called the Piven Theater. His talent is boundless.

Maybe the timing of the release hurt the film. The weather was too good. Not enough following from the HBO TV Series. I’m not sure.

It’s a great film and you should see it on the big screen.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and standup comedian. Reach him at [email protected])

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Blogger, Columnist at Illinois News Network Online
Ray Hanania is senior blogger for the Illinois News Network news site. He is an award winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist who covered the beat from 1976 through 1992 (From Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley). And, Hanania is a stubborn and loud critic of the biased mainstream American news media.

Hanania Chicago political beats and Chicago City Hall at the Daily Southtown Newspapers (1976-1985) and the Chicago Sun-Times (1985-1992). He published the The Villager Community Newspapers covering 12 Southwest suburban regions (1993-1997). Hanania also hosted live political news radio talkshows on WLS AM (1980 - 1991), and also on WBBM FM, WLUP FM, WSBC AM in Chicago, and WNZK AM in Detroit.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. He currently is syndicated through Creators Syndicate. He has written for the Jerusalem Post,, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star of Lebanon, the News of the World in London, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, The Saudi Gazette, the Arab News in Jeddah, and Aramco Magazine.

Hanania's Chicagoland columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald, the Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News and the Palos Reporter newspapers.

He is President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

His personal website is Email him at: [email protected]
Ray Hanania