The Dirty Heads
When: Friday, July 17 | 6:30PM (Gates Open)
Where: Red Hat Amphitheatre, Raleigh
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Pat Benatar: she’s always been a rule-breaker and a trail-blazer, she remains a bold and distinctive artist both on stage and on record, and now, after more than three decades in rock ‘n’ roll, she’s a bonafide living legend. Songs like “Love is a Battlefield”, “Hit Me with Your Best Shot”, “Heartbreaker”, “Promises In The Dark” and “We Belong” are as unforgettable now as they were at the dawn of MTV, when Pat emerged, fearless, fighting and forging a path for other female rock stars around the world.
Benatar’s life was to change dramatically once again in 1979, when she was introduced to a fiery and inspiring guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, named Neil Giraldo, who shared the singer’s passions and used his skills as an innovative arranger and producer to help design, from its inception, the now renowned Benatar-sound. Giraldo and Benatar’s vision merged explosively on her 1979 debut album, In The Heat Of The Night, which, thanks to the feisty sass of Top 40 hits like “Heartbreaker” and the Giraldo-penned “We Live For Love”, ultimately went platinum.
Giraldo began his career in 1978, as a key member of the Rick Derringer band, after beating out 200 other guitarists for the position. It wasn’t long before Rick discovered Neil’s piano-playing prowess and quickly put those skills to work in the studio as well, while recording Guitars and Women.
As their thirty-five-year anniversary approaches, Benatar and Giraldo still hit the road every summer, thrilling audiences just as they always have. Whether, it’s in support of the vocal, or a guitar solo, or jumping from piano to guitar and back again, Giraldo’s gift is knowing how to always up the power in a song, increase the excitement and keep himself and Benatar as creative as they’ve ever been.
One of the darkest days in the life of a television fan is when their favorite show is at the end of its run and reaches the dreaded series finale. One such dark day occurred on Sunday September 11, 2011 as the HBO hit Entourage aired the final new episode. I found myself face to face with the stark reality that my time with Vince, E, Drama, Turtle, and Ari was coming to end. Where would I get my Sunday night, and sometimes Monday afternoon laughs from?
(Bow your head for a moment of silence please.)
Where I once had to mourn the passing of a favorite TV show, I now get to celebrate its return! Doug Ellin, the man behind the television show, has brought Vince and the guy back to us; this time on the big screen!
All fanboy antics aside, Entourage really does bring back everything that the television version brought to fans. The sexy women, the flashy cars, the extravagant lifestyle, the hilarious comedy, all there as they should be. In fact, the movie actually felt like a 104 minute episode of the TV show as it picks up right where the series finale left off. It was clear that Ellin did not want to stray from what made the show great when adapting it to the big screen.
The entire central cast; Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier), Eric Murphy (Kevin Connolly), Johnny Drama (Kevin Dillon), Turtle (Jerry Ferrara), and Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), all returned along with the supporting characters like Lloyd (Rex Lee), Sloane (Emmanuelle Chriqui), Shauna, (Debi Mazar) and others that made the show complete. The cast also features two new characters; Texas film investors Travis and Larsen McCredle, played by Haley Joel Osment and Billy Bob Thornton respectively. UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey is featured and plays herself as the love interest for Turtle. Everyone from the original cast, especially Jeremy Piven, was able to pick up right where they left off in providing laughs and all around fun.
Ellin’s story follows the formula that worked so well during each season of the show. Vince is part of a movie that faces all sorts of pitfalls that Ari has to fix while E has to deal with his relationship issues, Turtle chases down another seemingly out of reach goal, and Drama fights and claws his way to become a successful and respected actor. Despite the fact that the story followed the typical TV season formula it really felt bigger in scope. While the movie is only 45 minutes longer than a typical episode of the TV show, it felt like the story could have encompassed two or three episodes, but also did not feel like any part of it was really rushed or incomplete.
One of the things that made the TV show unique is the way it mixed in cameos from the worlds of sports and entertainment to poke fun at the entertainment industry and to add authenticity to the lifestyle that Vince and the guys were living. Episode after episode you would watch and have no idea who you would see next. The film version of Entourage took that same idea and dosed it with some Barry Bonds level steroids.
|Alyssa Miller||Emily Ratajkowski||Mark Wahlberg|
|Andrew Dice Clay||Gary Busey||Matt Lauer|
|Armie Hammer||George Takei||Mike Tyson|
|Baron Davis||Greg Louganis||Pharrell Williams|
|Bob Saget||Jessamyn Duke||Piers Morgan|
|Chad Lowe||Jessica Alba||Ron Gronkowski|
|Clay Matthews||John Favreau||Russell Wilson|
|Common||Kelsey Grammer||Shayna Baszler|
|David Arquette||Liam Neeson||T.I.|
|David Faustino||Maria Menounos||Terrence Jenkins|
|David Spade||Marina Shafir||Tom Brady|
|Ed O’Neill||Mark Cuban||Warren Buffett|
While I’m sure there are more, these are the ones I could verify after I got out of the theatre…
As a fan of the original show I was already predisposed to really enjoying the movie. That aside, I had fears that too much time had passed to make it really work and questions that always arise from television to film adaptations. Would the cast really be into it, or would they just be after a bigger payday? Would the creative team be able to stay true to the source, or would they try some new angle? Those questions, and others that I had going into the screening, were all put to rest as the credits rolled at the end of the movie and the audience erupted into applause.