Take a Drink: the first time you see Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace with his bandana on.
Take a Drink: when you see Jason and Jesse Eisenberg eat copious amount of convenience store junk food.
Do a Shot: when you see Jason and Jesse rock out to Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughta Know.”
Do a Shot: when their bromance seems to reach a standstill.
Do a Double Shot: when their bromance kind of almost rekindles by the end.
By: Rob Perez (Two Beers) –
Based on taped transcripts for a Rolling Stone article that was never published, The End Of the Tour is a film about Rolling Stone editor David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg), assigned to interview David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel). Set in 1995, Lipsky begs his editor (actually throws a tantrum, feeling he’s better than filing 500 word copy about boy bands) to let him profile the new, hot shot young writer Wallace, who has just written the universally acclaimed book Infinite Jest. With his wish finally granted, Lipsky embarks to Illinois where he meets the somewhat apprehensive Wallace at his home before they embark on the last leg of the Infinite Jest book tour in Minneapolis.
Warming up to him, Lipsky discovers that Wallace, for all his genius, education and newfound fame, that he is in no way the person he expected to meet. Wallace is a “regular guy” who likes junk food, listens to current music, dances at church socials- the complete opposite of snooty New York writers, such as Lipsky. Yet, Lipsky does discover that Wallace, despite insisting that his life is in order, is still haunted by some inner demons although there are no outright signs of it. He would be proven right, sadly, in 2008, where the film opens with Lipsky receiving the call that Wallace had committed suicide. If watching a film about what is essentially a job assignment between a reporter and his subject for over an hour isn’t your bag, then get ready to be surprised by The End Of the Tour, a film that proves that it’s possible to have fun with two men at the same time.
For five days it’s Lipsky interviewing Wallace on his trusty Sony tape recorder, inserting tape after tape as the two discuss everything- Wallace’s life, his fame, family, his schooling, his depression. Wallace is big strong guy, but the film also looks into Wallace’s vulnerability, worrying about how this interview will turn out because of the number of articles written about his suicide watch, and the misinformation about him and how this interview will further make the world perceive him. Lipsky assures him this article isn’t an exploitation piece (although his editors have made it clear to Lipsky that he must get Wallace to discuss his heroin use or the story won’t run).
When Lipsky brings it up after a tension-filled trip back to Wallace’s home on their last night together, Wallace tells him he never tried it but it basically doesn’t matter what the truth is since it will always be a part of any article he’s the subject of. The tension of the scene is really felt, but it’s Lipsky who finds himself at a crossroads; does he report the story knowing that the heroin use was not true, or find a way to include it in anyway as his editors would want? However, at the heart of the film is seeing two respected writers, one of whom will never be the equal of the other, and yet being pleasantly surprised that at the end of the tour both feel a mutual respect towards each other. Despite some ugly moments, such as Wallace getting angry that Lipsky-with his girlfriend in New York City-is hitting on his former girlfriend in front of him, they come away enjoying the experience and almost bonding, despite the fact the two will never meet again.
The film is an all too short 106 minutes of two great young rising actors (Segel and Eisenberg) portraying two great young rising writers in Wallace and Lipsky, respectively, discussing in guy speak the meaning of everything from girls to technology to depression. It’s not a back and forth of two respected writers trying to outsmart one another or getting into a great debate or argument . . . it’s just two dudes shooting the shit, acting as friends, then seeing one another as colleagues, then going back to their lives. We can’t tell with Wallace, but we do see Lipsky reacting with tears in his eyes speaking at a memorial for Wallace, showing he did value his meeting with the wunderkind author. This is truly a film that stays with you long after it ends.
Even if you never heard of David Foster Wallace or David Lipsky, or read Infinite Jest or Lipsky’s book of their five day encounter Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself (which the film is based on), this film is an entertaining, thoughtful, and endearing look at five days in the lives of two young gifted writers at the top of their profession and passionately devoted to their craft. It’s well-written, well-edited, and will have you wanting to watch it over again.