Posts Tagged ‘HBO’

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The Defiant Ones (2017) & Friends From College: Season 1 (2017)

August 11, 2017

The Defiant Ones (2017), HBO – This is four part documentary series on HBO that tells the stories of famed record executive Jimmy Iovine and gangster rap pioneer Dr. Dre. It’s a must watch for hip-hop fans and really anyone that truly appreciates music would probably enjoy it. It covers a lot of the stuff we already saw in the 2015 film Straight Outta Compton, but fills in some of the holes and tells a much more authentic story. And really, this is an era of music that I grew up on and love to death, so I don’t mind revisiting its roots multiple times. Jimmy Iovine’s story adds variety to the hip-hop stuff as he has also worked with artists like Bruce Springsteen, Marilyn Manson, and No Doubt to name a few. But what both of these moguls did was push the boundaries of what was thought to be acceptable – or even possible – in the music industry and have reached levels of success that are astronomical and extend far beyond merely making music. The Defiant Ones is very engaging for the viewer and quite a breeze for a four part series. Highly recommended.

Replay Value: I would watch this again like… tomorrow.
Sequel Potential: N/A
Oscar Potential: Not sure where this would fall in the Oscar categories, but it should have some Emmy potential, which I’m far less familiar with.

Grade: 4.5/5 (Close to a Must Watch)

Friends From College: Season One (2017), Netflix – A Netflix original series starring Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele), Colbie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother), and Fred Savage (The Wonder Years) about a group of old friends that reconnect as adults and… act like total assholes 100% of the time. There are multiple affairs, abundant drug and alcohol abuse, and basically every major character makes horrible decisions – and honestly, I’m not even sure this is a comedy. There are definitely moments that are meant to be funny and most of the actors have a comedic background, but the tone of the show comes across as serious and dramatic a lot of the time and I have to say it doesn’t really work. It doesn’t help that none of the characters are likable, with maybe the exception of Billy Eichner’s Felix. I’m not one to start a show and not finish it, so I made it all the way through the whole season, but if you look at this cast and think the show should be funny and enjoyable, you will probably wind up as disappointed as I was. I guess I’d watch a second season, especially if it’s only another eight episodes, but it would be more akin to looking at a car accident as you drive past it than something I’m actually looking forward to. The first season wasn’t good and there’s a lot of wasted talent in this series.

Replay Value: None.
Sequel Potential: The show hasn’t been renewed yet and if the rest of the world felt like I did, it might not get a second season.

Grade: 2/5 (Not Recommended)

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Entourage Season Six

August 20, 2010

I’ve been hearing some talk that Entourage has jumped the shark and I don’t really get it. It was never a great show to begin with. Entourage is the equivalent of the mindless, summer blockbuster, guilty pleasure at your local cinema. The story has never been riveting, the acting has never been great (outside of Jeremy Piven’s Ari Gold), and no one is ever going to ever laud Entourage for its intricate writing. The allure of Entourage is similar to why people like reality T.V. shows. The only difference really is the characters in this show are mostly fictional. I say “mostly” because Entourage is loosely based on actor Mark Wahlberg’s own experiences as a movie star. With that said, as long as Entourage delivers ridiculously hot (and often naked) women, a healthy dose of humor, and a look at what it might be like to be famous, I don’t see how fans can be disappointed.

While maybe not as strong as previous seasons, season six delivers more of the same. It does attempt to get a little heavier than normal, however. Vince struggles briefly with loneliness, E continues his bitch ass ways with women and can’t seem to shake ex-girlfriend Sloan from his memory, Drama runs into trouble after a successful run on his show Five Towns, Turtle experiences problems with Jamie Lynn-Sigler for the first time, and Ari deals with an affair within his agency that could cause major problems. Whatever.

What’s missing, for me, from this season is Vincent Chase as a movie star. He apparently starred in a big hit based on the book The Great Gatsby directed by Martin Scorsese and has resurrected his career after a couple of flops… but we really don’t get to see anything about Gatsby. I don’t even think we ever saw Vince act a single scene. I still remember how cool I thought it was when the show created an entire sequence for Aquaman. Season six focuses on Vince’s actual film career the least of any season to date. We have Gatsby in the past and his next project as a race car driver in the future… in between, we have season six, which seems to focus on all the secondary characters. Granted, these characters are all vastly more interesting than Vince, but still, Vince as a movie star is still the force that drives the show and I want to see more of it.

Thankfully, the show is not a total loss like some might suggest it has become. While Vince may be between movies, that doesn’t stop plenty of hot chicks happily dropping their panties for him and we still get envy his ability to have any woman he wants. Drama and Lloyd are still hilarious and I think this was still a strong season for the Ari Gold character. Even if someone hated this season, they had to enjoy Ari’s scene in the finale with the paintball gun. C’mon now! Season six also has solid cameos from Tom Brady, Mark Wahlberg, and Matt Damon.

I’ve never cared for E’s character and he continues to be more of the same. His continued fascination with Sloan, while understandable, is obnoxious, even more so because he’s dating a perfectly good looking girl anyways. Just when you think E can’t sink to new lows, the season closes with him at his most ridiculous. I won’t spoil the surprise, but it’s brutal and doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. The biggest disappointment in season six is Turtle’s transformation into a simp. His entire arc in season six focuses on his relationship with actress Jamie Lynn-Sigler of Sopranos fame. No thanks, we already have one E and we didn’t like it when you pulled this stunt with Vince and Mandy Moore.

Entourage might not be as good as it once was… but it’s not like we’re talking about Weeds here. This show is still plenty watchable and has lots of fun moments. So before you start saying things like Entourage has jumped the shark, remember, it wasn’t all that great to begin with.

Grade: C+
Viewings: 1.5
Replay Value: Decent amount, but I’m personally glad I never invested in the series on DVD.
Emmy Awards: After a string of 3 straight Emmy wins, Piven hasn’t been nominated the past two years and Entourage could only muster one nomination in 2010: for sound mixing. Ouch.
Nudity? Tons! Yay!

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HBO’s Hung: Season 1

August 10, 2010

HBO’s Hung features Thomas Jane playing a high school basketball coach named Ray Drecker whose life is slowly unraveling. In the pilot episode we discover that he is divorced from his wife of twenty years, a woman that is now married to a much more financially stable dermatologist. In addition to this bit of information, we see a flashback to Ray’s house getting caught on fire and nearly burning to a crisp. Ray’s kids had preferred to live with him rather than their uptight mother, but after the fire, Ray finds himself all alone, living in a tent on his property.

It’s during these grim circumstances that Ray seeks some help and decides to attend a money-making seminar. At this point we’re introduced to Tanya (Jane Adams), a woman that Ray recognizes as someone that used to come into his class to read and teach poetry to his students. The seminar doesn’t really work for Ray, but one thing stood out to him: “everybody has one special tool that can help him succeed.” Ray can’t admit his revelation to the workshop, but he decides that he knows what his tool is: his cock. Apparently, the man is blessed and the rest of the season follows his shenanigans as he progresses into a male prostitute or, in the case of his business, a happiness consultant. Tanya jumps on the bandwagon as his pimp and together they dive head first into an industry they both really know nothing about.

The first season of this series isn’t particularly good. The characters are mostly uninteresting. It seems as though Ray is pining after his ex-wife (Anne Heche), but it’s hard to see what he finds desirable other than familiarity and family unity. She’s shallow and not particularly attractive. Dude can do better and does so… many times. I’m on the fence about Tanya… at times I like the character and other times I can’t stand her. Ray is given a decision later in the season to step up his prostitute game with a more resourceful potential pimp and it’s hard to see the dilemma: he needs money and the opportunity presented should be lucrative. On top of that, prior to their business arrangement, Tanya and Ray don’t have any kind of history aside from a couple of one night stands together. Any reasonable man would be like “look, you’re good people, but I need to rebuild my house and get my family back and this is simply something I can’t pass up. Sorry.” But this is a T.V. show and tension must occur, no matter how implausible. The one moment this show had to create an awesome moment, the writers decided they weren’t ready to tackle that particular corner just yet and pussied out.

The acting here is mediocre as well. Something about Thomas Jane screams ordinary. I’ve never seen him in anything that impressed me and many times through Hung’s first season, I found myself wondering if this guy was even acting at all (and not in the good way). The supporting cast is pretty lifeless too, with possibly the exception of Jane Adams as Tanya. In a series where it seems like everyone else is kind of going through the motions, she at least looks like she’s putting some effort into her performance. The acting highlight of the season goes to Natalie Zea who drops in for a four episode arc as Jemma, a mentally twisted client that Ray finds himself falling for. It’s never clear what Jemma’s true intentions are and that’s a testament to what Zea brings to the character. It was sad to see her go.

Hung isn’t a total failure however. The premise of an ordinary man diving into the world of prostitution creates several interesting situations and hot scenes. Ray soon discovers that there is nothing glamorous about selling yourself for sex as you can’t always pick your clients. In this business money talks, so it’s fun to see his reaction when he knocks on the door of a big-boned, 50+ eternal loner. Fortunately, the first season has Ray tangling with Tanya’s “friend” Lenore and the wife of his obnoxious neighbor, both ridiculously hot and fully naked. It’s primarily this reason why I’d continue to watch Hung, as plenty of good looking women happily shed their clothing. I’m also looking forward to seeing what happens when Ray’s family discovers what he’s now doing for a living. Not a particularly good show, but I can’t see too many straight men hating it too much.

Grade: C
Viewings: 1
Replay Value: Probably worth investing in a Mr Skin account instead of this DVD series.
Awards: Doubtful
Nudity?: Plenty! The saving grace of the series so far!