Anyone who watches “Entourage” knows the career of Vincent Chase as well as any other actor. “Head On”, “Queens Boulevard”, “Aquaman”, “Medellin”, et al are classic films of the last decade loyal viewers practically know by heart. If only we had actually seen them.

I’ve heard enough people say they actually want to “see” a Vincent Chase movie. Not Adrian Grenier, but Hollywood’s biggest star himself. But no production company would pick up the rights to something like “Gatsby” or resume production on “Smokejumpers”. No, it takes too much initiative.

"Fuck commerce!" -Billy Walsh

So to ease the burden, I decided to humor everyone and amuse myself temporarily by speculating (this isn’t fan fiction, dammit) what to expect from the film that launched Vinnie into superstardom, “Queens Boulevard”. I used limited clues from the show itself as well as other bits of inferred information, so it could be completely wrong. Or it hits the nail on the head. See how it compares to your own vision. But first let’s review…

What We Know

Script found by E.

Also apparently featured Ethan Suplee, Zooey Deschanel, and Robert Duvall.

Stars Vincent Chase, part-Hispanic actor native to Queens.

Directed by Billy Walsh, who has been said to be based on Vincent Gallo.

The intended cut is in black and white.

May/may not be a scene with a homosexual encounter.

Presumably “about a man on the run from the law” according to Wikipedia.

End with Vince declaring, “You kidding? I AM Queens Boulevard!” and walking away.

Thoughts on what the show’s offered

The show always depicts “the old neighborhood” in Queens as being an older, lower-middle class community. A plausible neighborhood (e.g. one with a presence of Italians, Hispanics, and Irish) would be Ozone Park. I only went to Queens once, for a Mets game, but glancing around Google and Flickr suggest the area is gritty enough for a streetwise plot. The only problem is that Queens Boulevard runs nowhere near that part of town. In fact, searching through the street’s Wiki reveals it runs through several affluent neighborhoods until its terminus in Jamaica.

Ozone Park. Shitty enough for ya?

This area offers a wealth of ideas. It hosts the campus of St. John’s University, has a large population of both African-Americans and Hispanics, and before seeing a resurgence in the 1990s was a crime-ridden spot ravaged by the crack epidemic. So while the script might not have been accurate for the scene in 2004, it’d work as a recollection of how things were.

Second, the series establishes that E has an eye for quality above all. He was right to think Queens Boulevard would launch Vince into the next stratum just as he was correct in his opinion that Medellin was a huge mess. If he thought Queens Boulevard would showcase Vince’s acting mettle, he must’ve found it to be off-kilter from Ari’s commercial standpoint. And while nothing suggests Queens Boulevard was avant-garde, it certainly had to be something edgy, and not a massive thriller a major studio was willing to spend millions on.

Third, my impression of Billy Walsh is that he wanted nothing more than to emulate the auteurs of the 1970s such as Coppola, Cimino, or Bogdanovich. The man is a perfectionist, egotist of a director intent on putting his own stamp on the picture. Obviously it’s hard to draw a conclusion as to what Queens Boulevard would look like since nobody has ever seen a Walsh film, but if he’s looking to the likes of The Godfather, The Last Picture Show, or The French Connection for influence, it’s a starting point.

So let’s make a plot…

Nick Fuentes (Chase) has, to this point, lived a modest if not somewhat meager life in the Queens neighborhood of Ozone Park. Raised by a single mother, Nick was brought up with a streetwise sense but has managed to stay above the poverty and addiction that has plagued many of his friends. He now works full time as a day laborer and was even able to get out of the house he grew up in- to the walk-up right next door. His life is decidedly lower class, but given his resources, it’s the best he could build.

Given these lower accommodations, it’s easy to see the post-9/11 economy ravages Nick and his community more than others. His mother Naomi (Lupe Ontiveros) is forced to swallow her pride and begin asking her son for money. His best friend Tommy (Ethan Suplee) is faced with eviction and in and out of the house when he needs a place to sleep. The increase in neediness is troubling to Nick, who himself has always only had enough to get by and now seen as a patriarchal figure.

So after a new paycheck comes, and knowing he’ll have none of it left for savings, Nick goes out drinking with Tommy and a handful of other neighborhood guys. It’s here that Tommy, always a confrontational fellow, begins picking fights with guys in the bar who aren’t from the neighborhood. Nick, in a show of support for his friend and his block, puts up an impressive show in a brawl that extends to the street and makes a quick getaway when they attract police attention.

So, you played Boo Radley and stuff?

The next morning, Nick reluctantly answers the door to a man he’s never seen before. He identifies himself as Paul Larson (Robert Duvall) and explains he was impressed with the show Nick put on at the bar. He makes note of the shabby living arrangements, and subsequently invites Nick to a gathering he’s hosting on the beach if he’s interested.

Not knowing if it’s a set-up for something his friends are involved in, Nick ventures down to a beach house, weary but nonetheless intrigued. After a crowd scan reveals many Irish and Italians whom he has no knowledge of, he’s quickly greeted by Paul. He explains everyone here also came out of Ozone Park and now living all over New York. But he doesn’t want Nick to mingle- he wants to potentially conduct some business. Paul is upfront in the fact that what he does is somewhat illegitimate- he aids in drug trafficking between the Caribbean and America. He isn’t asking Nick to handle anything, though. He just wants a nondescript-looking guard when deliveries are made at a corner off Queens Boulevard in Jamaica, a neighborhood just to the north. Nick is highly unsure, but Paul asks him to think about it.

It is unfortunate for Nick then, that after his meeting he meets and immediately befriends Paul’s daughter Cerie (Zooey Deschanel), who works “across the river” at a publishing house in Manhattan. Her allure, and because Tommy and his friends have begun siphoning Nick’s savings with increasing frequency, motivates him to give Paul a call.

A manic pixie dream girl for all social classes.

Paul is thrilled and assures him the work will be easy and not put him in harm’s way, in exchange for a very nice payday. With this, Nick now has a night job driving vans, loading at various locations and unloading in Jamaica, home of Paul’s most loyal customer, Beanie (Hassan Johnson). Nick slowly establishes a rapport with Beanie, whose exhibited certain bisexual qualities and advances toward his delivery man. Nick though, doesn’t want to get too associated with the ruthlessness of his organization, which he’s witnessed perform especially brutal acts on many of the impoverished denizens of the area.

Location scouting in Jamaica.

After the passage of a couple months business has gone well for Nick. His jobs have gone off without incident, he has far more money in the bank, and he’s beginning to realize a romance with Cerie that brings him further outside Queens than he ever imagined. However, after enough deliveries he begins to get greedy when he discovers the money he gets is only a fraction of the revenue sharing Paul and Beanie divide. Knowing how much better he could be doing and that he holds the keys to a lucrative supply of drugs, he one night ventures off on his own to another part of Jamaica and begins dealing for himself. He offers product at rates far discounted from Beanie yet still pockets a sum far larger than anything Paul’s doled out. After a mere couple days of dealing, his friends back in Ozone Park are astonished at the money he now holds and the vast makeover he’s put on himself and his home, paid for by business he’s attracted from all over Queens through word of mouth.

So as Nick rapidly establishes a reputation of undercutting prices, it isn’t long before Beanie sees deliveries occurring with far less frequency and finds Nick to be responsible. He goes to Nick himself, because he likes him and wants to reach a peaceful resolution. He offers Nick a chance to “properly” enter the game, and that he’ll share the supply until Nick establishes himself on his own turf in Ozone Park. At first they appear to be in agreement, however when Beanie makes an advance Nick stabs him, leaving him bleeding to death.

In case you're wondering who the hell he is, he also played a dealer on "The Wire". Typecasting!

Beanie’s death leaves Paul kicking down Nick’s door, telling him he’s in way over his head and that very much unwanted heat is about to descend on them. Nick threatens him at gunpoint, telling him business will continue uninterrupted and he’ll now take over Beanie’s share in Jamaica. Paul cooperates for the time being, and stands by as Nick assembles his indebted friends, Tommy chief among them, into an army for the neighborhood.

Business continues and Nick continues to evolve into a strong-armed kingpin with a gradual reputation for being even more brutal than Beanie’s crew. The hard-nosed personality begins to pay dividends though, as Tommy and company become more independent and transitioning to living the good life in the old neighborhood. As weeks and months pass, business goes swimmingly until NYPD detective Glen Leonard (Kyle Secor), who is investigating Beanie’s death, confronts Paul. Cell phone records led him to Ozone Park he says, and demands to know this old white man’s relationship to the deceased. Paul, feeling panicked and betrayed, tells him Nick is the culprit, a story Glen promises to investigate further.

With a person of interest identified, police presence around Queens Boulevard is high. Nick begins acting more ruthless than ever for his own security, and it’s affecting his personal life. His mother has reported threats, Cerie is contemplating leaving him because she has no idea what he’s doing or where he is, and his friends are starting to get hurt. It’s the  eventual arrest of Tommy however, that drives Nick up a wall. He’s kept the business details under wraps, but police having info on his friends leads him to conclude there’s a snitch.

Nick returns to Ozone Park to confront Paul. He confirms it was he who gave info to the police, and wants to know why he’d roll over so easily. Paul says he agreed to cooperate in what’s become a sting against Nick because he’s getting too old and wouldn’t want to spend his last years in prison and that he felt slighted by Nick for giving him a chance at redemption and yet he hijacked business and took his daughter. Nick, disgusted and knowing it will catch up to him very soon, kills him.

Now having killed two high profile associates, Nick is smart enough to know he could be caught very soon and makes plans to leave the city. He leaves a cut of his fortune and details of the business to Tommy, now out on bail, and announces plans to take his loot and leave town, presumably to resettle overseas, only leaving the investigators with his former associate’s body. Tommy hardly recognizes his best friend anymore, yet reluctantly asks if he’s ever coming back. Nick, defiant and seemingly ungrateful for his meteoric rise to the top, declares “You kidding? I AM Queens Boulevard!” and walks off.

Final Thoughts

Admittedly, this isn’t the perfect exactly-as-intended plot. I think there’d be some extra-cinematic factors within the show that’d play a role as far as how this film is made and what it’d be about. Maybe Billy Walsh, given his personality, would add a few more eccentricities into the story. Perhaps for a film that won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, more social consciousness would be injected. And I can fully understand criticisms that some elements of this would parallel something like “Scarface”. But for faults such as those, I feel like it’d work on more levels. It’d showcase Vinnie Chase’s acting ability to the world and that he’s ready to be a star. It makes use of lower class environments to create a streetwise sensibility. The soundtrack by Saigon would fit in. I could even conceive it as a film that’d see a wide release as possible awards bait for a studio. So of course some things could be changed, added, or subtracted. But for now, it’s a start.

Marc

Photo credits: http://www.blogcdn.com/www.tvsquad.com/media/2006/08/queens-boulevard.jpg, http://www.forgotten-ny.com/STREET%20SCENES/lief/35.antennaking.jpg, http://www.filmsy.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/robert-duvall-vt-4-19-07.jpg, http://media.egotvonline.com/files/2010/01/zooey-deschanel.jpg, http://www.fadingad.com/blog/jamaica/jamaica_bread.jpg, http://www.topnews.in/files/images/Hassan-Johnson2.jpg