“Although of course you end up becoming yourself.”
May 27, 2015 8:23 AM   Subscribe

The End of the Tour [YouTube] [Trailer]
The End of the Tour is based on the true story of David Lipsky, a Rolling Stone reporter who interviewed legendary author David Foster Wallace for five days in 1996. Lipsky catches up with the author as he’s about to hit the final stop on the book tour for the release of Infinite Jest, then and now considered one of the great novels written in our lifetimes. Over the course of the next few days, the reporter develops a complicated relationship with the icon.
posted by Fizz (34 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Aw jeez.
posted by Sokka shot first at 8:28 AM on May 27, 2015

The idea of this film is both terrifying and exciting at the same time. I want to believe in Jason Segal's respect for David Foster Wallace. The trailer is hopeful though. Will have to wait and see.
posted by Fizz at 8:51 AM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Will there be footnotes?
posted by basicchannel at 8:54 AM on May 27, 2015 [11 favorites]

I will see this and no doubt I will both enjoy it and hate it at the same time.
posted by Lutoslawski at 8:58 AM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

The worst part might actually be the title. Why take an incredible title like 'although of course you end up becoming yourself' and change it to 'the end of the tour.'
posted by Lutoslawski at 8:59 AM on May 27, 2015

Why take an incredible title like 'although of course you end up becoming yourself' and change it to 'the end of the tour.'

posted by Fizz at 9:00 AM on May 27, 2015

Can't find word on whether this will have an international release as well or not. (Also, when.)
So I'll probably watch this as soon as VOD options appear.
posted by bigendian at 9:10 AM on May 27, 2015

the book was good....we'll see
posted by thelonius at 9:17 AM on May 27, 2015

From the Wikipedia article: "The David Foster Wallace Literary Estate has not endorsed the film, stating that Wallace would have never agreed to any filmic portrayal."

This was my first thought. The man was compulsively self-conscious. A dramatic portrayal of himself would have given him the howling fantods.
posted by dephlogisticated at 9:21 AM on May 27, 2015 [10 favorites]

He would have probably recognized the quote "To be dead is to be prey for the living", though.
posted by thelonius at 9:22 AM on May 27, 2015 [5 favorites]

I saw it a few months ago at EbertFest and highly recommend it. Segal gives an amazing performance and director/screenwriters do a great job of not hitting most of the normal bio-pic tropes.
posted by octothorpe at 9:37 AM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

There is a borderline mopey-precious-indie tone in this which I'm dreading. I hope DFW comes out as a much more rounded human being in the full film. I hope it's not a literary version of Garden State.
posted by Omon Ra at 9:42 AM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

no doubt I will both enjoy it and hate it at the same time

Thus perfectly capturing how I feel about DFW.
posted by chavenet at 9:45 AM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I remember when I first saw a photo of Segel, that goofball from Freaks and Geeks & How I Met Your Mother, dressed up in what felt like Wallace-drag, like cosplay. It felt almost obscenely awkward. At once mawkish and calculated. I recoiled—not out of some desire to be establish intellectual superiority over the film, but precisely because that kind of mawkish calculation was exactly what it seemed like his fiction was trying to find a way through and out of, and I cared about this guy too much to see fucking cosplay of him—

well anyway

Having now watched the trailer twice and listened to Segel's extremely apt version of Wallace's drawling midwestern cadence, I'm not sure anybody else could have played him. Feels like maybe this film has a chance.
posted by Sokka shot first at 9:57 AM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Cautiously optimistic.
posted by Flashman at 10:07 AM on May 27, 2015

The trailer got me a little with "Strange Currencies," I'll give them that.
posted by Hey Dean Yeager! at 10:21 AM on May 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

After initially thinking that the trailer was for a documentary, and then thinking OK, Jason Segel as Wallace ... maybe it might work ... hmmm, seems like it might not be too bad ... and then Everybody Hurts kicked in and I thought Oh Christ, deliver us from a life-affirming let's both discover ourselves while driving in an old Volvo to the Mall of America and revealing deep and meaningful truths about ourselves and this great containing-multitudes nation whilst the junior road trip partner finds love biopic.

I'll probably still watch it, though.
posted by Len at 10:51 AM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Everybody Hurts

It's not that song. It's this one.
posted by chavenet at 10:55 AM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

chavenet: It's not that song. It's this one

I stand corrected and a little embarrassed. I think once I heard that initial guitar arpeggio my mind just went to Everybody Hurts and blocked out what song it actually was. That said, it still felt pretty emotionally manipulative (which is a trailer's job) and intended as a signifier of what type of film this is supposed to be.

And now we're in the territory of dissecting the pop cultural elements of a thing rather than dealing with its substance, a rhetorical tactic that Wallace might argue was all because we don't want to deal with the substance ...
posted by Len at 11:07 AM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

i'd hope for my dinner with andre meets jeff, who lives at home :P (with long reflective unbroken silences from gerry!)
posted by kliuless at 11:25 AM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I saw it at the SF Film Festival a few weeks ago. As a fan of both DFW and Jason Segel, I thought it was quite good. Unsurprisingly, it's quiet. It captures a lot of things about the book quite well. I think Jesse Eisenberg is the weak spot - he plays his typical Eisenberg self, and I actually think it's too neurotic and not correct somehow for the Lipsky character, who I think should appear better with people overall, a charmer and a striver, adaptable in different situations. The music is good (particularly a Tindersticks cover of a Pavement song). As a 90s nostalgia piece there are some good bits, though not overdrawn as such.

I really think Segel is good, but I actually always though Segel was a brilliant choice, in part because the lumbering physicality is so spot on. I think Segel pulls out the addictive personality where that addiction is channeled to junk food and junk culture. I also think Segel pulls out the sweet and conflicted side of DFW, more than the hyper-intellectual side of him. I think it's possible that some will complain of this fact, though I think it's more revelatory that way.

My personal take: If you're interested in seeing it, you should definitely see it. I don't think it will get a terribly wide audience.
posted by vunder at 11:30 AM on May 27, 2015 [3 favorites]

I desperately wanted to simply hate this but instead I am sad and charmed and want to kick things over how angry I am that this guy is gone. I will see this film.
posted by mintcake! at 11:35 AM on May 27, 2015 [7 favorites]

I really think Segel is good, but I actually always though Segel was a brilliant choice, in part because the lumbering physicality is so spot on.

That's a great point, it's a very physical performance. I don't know how big Wallace was but Segal is 6'4" and he's often shot in this movie as looking very over-sized and not quite fitting into any space that he's in.
posted by octothorpe at 11:52 AM on May 27, 2015

Ok, I just watched the trailer: The trailer moves around a lot more than the film does. I mean, you can tell that the director needed to make the film less still than a My Dinner With Andre film, but I also feel like the trailer captures basically all of the movement in the film.
posted by vunder at 11:54 AM on May 27, 2015

Argh I really, really hate* Jason Segal. People now associate him with Rush, The Muppets and DFW. The worst bit is that he and I must have a lot in common. :(

* I wish him no harm, of course, just find his performances unwatchable.
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:54 AM on May 27, 2015

I wonder if James Franco is a little jealous?
posted by Flashman at 12:11 PM on May 27, 2015

I got dibs on writing the review titled "A Supposedly Fun Film I'll Never Watch Again."
posted by maxsparber at 12:22 PM on May 27, 2015 [10 favorites]

I'll take "Brief Interviews With Hideous Actors."
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:05 PM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't think I've told my David Foster Wallace story here yet.

He was doing a tour for Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. He read some things from it, including one of the interviews, which if you don't know all have the questions elided, so they just look like this:
interspersed with the answers, and part of the game is that you're wondering what those questions really are. I had wondered what he would do in these sections if he read from them, and he just said "Q." matter-of-factly and then went on to the response.

After the reading he took questions from the audience, and I really really wanted to stand up and say "Q." and sit back down. But I didn't, because 1) it was his show and not mine, and 2) I figured he probably got that joke at every reading and was heartily sick of it.

After that part he signed some books, and when I got to the front of the line I said, "I really wanted to stand up and say 'Q.' but some clown must do that all the time," and he said, "Ha ha ha, no, that's never happened, you totally should have." But actually it was better this way.
posted by dfan at 3:20 PM on May 27, 2015 [21 favorites]

So I just got a chance to watch the trailer and it's not really a very good representation of how I remember the movie. The trailer seems much more quirky and light hearted than the film actually is. There's a lot more dread and unease in the movie than the trailer lets on.
posted by octothorpe at 5:43 PM on May 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I will seek this out and I will watch this. Even if I hate myself afterwards.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:52 PM on May 27, 2015

Before I'd go see that movie, I'd just watch once again my favorite interview of DFW, on a German television station. That link is a real high-quality video, and I think also the first time I've come across it not sliced into ten or fifteen minute segments. Watch his mind click, he has those little verbal tics that came when he was really thinking seriously. I love it.

I like the KCRW Bookworm interviews also, the interviewer fawning but not bootlicking, absolutely knowing the honor he had spending time interviewing DFW. The Charlie Rose interviews, those are good. Just in clicking around, prior to writing this comment, I came across this page that's got just about all I've ever come across, and got it high quality, too. Seems this page was/is spawned by the movie, so I guess some good has come of it; I don't think much else will.

DFW gave us every goddamn thing he had to give. He was as honest with us as he could be. He had the talent, he could easily have hidden himself in his writing, he could easily hidden himself behind his words but he didn't -- I love that. His writing has cut across and into our lives, I mean everybody here at metafilter anyways.

One of the most charming things about this place is that you've got to love Watterson and you've got to love DFW; I suspect that many members here have huge tattoos of Calvin's body with DFW's head with a hippy hankie wrapped around it, a three day beard, a deep, thoughtful look on his face.

Go back and re-read The Depressed Person. He savaged that character, he tore her to shreds, not one shade of compassion. Gawd. That one was disturbing to me, it hit awfully close to home for me, and to me, plus I knew by then that it also hit real close to him. It was really cruel, it was accurate but so fkn cold, like a cancer surgeon who doesn't give a fuck about the person he's hacking, he's just doing his job as well as he can, seeing the cancer and excising it.

So he'd write that, and then he'd write something so fkn funny that it just makes me happy to be alive and reading it, and then a short story as real as that little boy who had hot water spilled on him.

I don't know where I'm going here, just that he could give us such amazing words and then get in front of us and give us himself, as clear a picture as he was able. Still hurts me that he had to hurt as bad as he did, I know considerable about mental illness and it's no fun. And here's this guy we all love and he suffered and died that way......

Blow off the movie. See the man himself, in these interviews, giving us himself. Start with the one from that German TV station -- they really were respectful of him as they could be. So see him, being him. No actor could ever give us DFW, sortof amazing to me that anyone is vain enough to try -- I'm like "Really? Really?? Come on ..." but the guy didn't ask me.
posted by dancestoblue at 8:43 PM on May 27, 2015 [7 favorites]

"The Depressed Person" was originally published in Harper's , and they got a lot of outraged email about how cruel and exploitative and compassionless it was. The poor bastard was writing about himself in it, which shouldn't have been too hard to see.
posted by thelonius at 7:29 AM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

The poor bastard was writing about himself in it, which shouldn't have been too hard to see.
I thought it was understood that he was writing about Elizabeth Wurtzel.
posted by vunder at 9:26 AM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

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