Entropy grew out of Joanous dissatisfaction with the film industry and a piece of advice given to him by U2 lead singer Bono, as recreated in the film, that he make something more personal to him. Resultingly, Entropy is fairly much Phil Joanous autobiography. There are many parallels between Joanou and the character of Steven Dorffs Jake both have directed U2 rock videos; both have a brother-in-law who is a screenwriter in real-life Scott Frank, who wrote Get Shorty (1995), Minority Report (2002) and other films; both had a French girlfriend named Stella; both on inspiration went to Las Vegas and married a singer (in Joanous case Kate Hyman) a matter of hours after they met backstage after a U2 concert; in both cases, U2 played video footage from the wedding ceremony during a concert; while Joanou also reportedly once punched out a producer. The autobiographical nature of Entropy leads to much fascinated speculation after seeing it upon which of his films was it that Joanou punched out a producer? In that two of Joanous films up to this point have had their leading ladies go topless Kim Basinger in Final Analysis, Teri Hatcher in Heavens Prisoners which of the actresses was it that gave Joanou a Polaroid of her breasts and demanded a million dollars? Expectedly, in making such a film about the industry, Joanou found some difficulty in obtaining financing finally doing so through Robert De Niros Tribeca Productions although even then Entropy did not receive a major release but instead played around the festival and arthouse circuit.
Phil Joanou is a fine stylist in all his films and expectedly Entropy is made with a slick visual cool. On the other hand, Entropy doesnt fully work. It may be a rule of thumb in writing classes that straight autobiographical material does not always make for something that works dramatically. While Joanou has clearly changed and condensed many things, he has still adhered sufficiently to autobiographical incidents and these do not always work as well as they would in a purely fictional film. Case in point being the making of the film within the film. The way that Entropy starts out with Mafia hoods indeed, Frank Vincent later went onto play a Mafioso in tvs The Sopranos (1999-2007) nightmarish interference, budget cuts and so on, one sits back expecting the film to emerge as a dark Hollywood comedy along the lines of Barton Fink (1991) or Swimming with Sharks (1994). Alas, Joanou never lets these elements play themselves out dramatically Steven Dorff is never destroyed by his producers, nor does he ever get comeuppance and the whole subplot about the troubles on the set of the film falls by the wayside and is forgotten as the story of Jakes personal life takes over. A straight work of fiction would have surely stayed in there and concentrated on putting twists on the situation.
The romance with Stella feels like it has this problem even more so she suddenly gets up and leaves Jake, his marriage to Kelly MacDonalds Pia takes over and Stella is largely sidelined and we never find out why it was that she left in the first place. In the dialogue that Joanou puts in the mouth of Steven Dorffs Jake, there is much self-loathing and a number of remonstrations upon Jakes part as to How could it come to this? Yet for all that it is hard to tell if this is a fault of Joanous writing or of Steven Dorffs performance there seems little of the feeling that life is going out of control present in the character throughout the film. Even though he is telling his own life story, one feels that Joanou stands at a little too much of an emotional distance from his character perhaps he just did not want to allow himself to appear too emotionally naked on screen. Certainly, the end that Joanou brings the film to where Steven Dorff turns and addresses the screen, telling us he made the film because of Stella, where one sees Jakes voice in effect blending into Joanous own, one can see that Joanou still holds her in his heart.
The other complaint might be that the title entropy appears to have no meaning in the film. Entropy is a term taken from physics, which describes the tendency of all energy in a closed thermodynamic system (ie. the universe) to move from a highly organised to a disorganised and inert state ie. of things to wear out and run down, of fires to burn out etc but to never travel the other way things to regenerate, ashes to burst back into unburned logs. Quite what it means in the film is anybodys guess if anything, with Jakes frequent remonstrations on how his life is running out of control, the appropriate metaphor from physics would be acceleration not entropy.
Entropy is included here for a very minor degree of fantasy content Jakes Siamese cat at one point starts smoking a cigarette and giving him romantic advice, while throughout U2s Bono takes on the role of almost being a guardian angel and is granted seemingly miraculous powers.
Film online in several parts beginning here:-