DVD Review – Survivor’s Remorse

What would Entourage look like if Vinny Chase had everyone he knew wanting a piece of his money and fame? That’s what Survivor’s Remorse tackles via Cam, a young, rich basketball player (Jesse T Usher) who’s suddenly about to realize that being in the NBA with a big contract means that everyone he’s related to is going to want a piece of him (and his money). He only has one person in the world he trusts, his cousin Reggie (RonReaco Lee), and the show begins with his journey to basketball fame and familial shenanigans.

A good way to look at this show is if you made Entourage about a burgeoning movie star and his friends … who instead of being his friends are all looking for their piece of the pie.

That’s what makes this much more interesting in story-telling terms than Entourage ever has been. Entourage was the glamorous look at riding the coattails of someone famous. Survivor’s Remorse focuses on a much grittier version of the Entourage reality. Cam’s reality is that with his big contract in Atlanta everyone wants a piece of the pie for various reasons …. and he has to figure out who’s there for him and who’s there for some of his money.

It’s an interesting take on the “making it” type of show because it echoes much more what athletes are coming out and saying about making it in any sort of high paying professional entertainment or sports field. This is a comedy but there’s an awful lot of truths coming out, as well, as there’s only so many times you can show how great celebrity life is for an actor or an athlete without the downside of everyone wanting to get their piece of that magic money pie. It’s why a film like Broke from the ESPN 30 for 30 series exists and why there are regular stories of athletes having exorbitant budgets for family members and hangers on. This is a show that has more truths to it about the nature of being young and rich, and without the inability to handle those who want a piece of it from you it can lead to an existence that looks glamorous on the surface but is far from it sometimes.

It works on the same level as the Doug Ellin created series, borrowing a lot from it in terms of style and camera work, but with a couple of differences. It’s more grounded in reality, departing from the base fantasy of Entourage in a handful of ways, for starters. It also embraces the more urban scenario of riches and celebrity gained via talent, with a main cast that’s almost entire African-American. It makes for a more compelling show because at its heart we can believe that Cam just got a max level contract after a handful of years of making the league minimum.

For all the fun that Entourage was the one thing that was always apparent is that Adrien Grenier would never be the sort of movie star Vinny Chase is. The one thing about Jesse Usher in the show is that he looks like he could be a professional athlete, physically. Grenier is a nice actor, and a terrific documentary film maker, but the closest he’ll come to being a movie star is playing one on television. Usher at least looks like he was an athlete on some level and carries himself as one in the show.

A meet the cast featurette is included.

Anchor Bay presents Survivor’s Remorse (Season 1). Starring Jesse Usher, Mike Epps, Tichina Arnold, Teyonah Parris, Erica Ash, RonReaco Lee.. Run Time: 164 minutes Not Rated. Released on DVD: 6.16.215

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