Greetings Loved Ones! Liu Is The Name, And Views Are My Game.
Today I’d like to talk to you all about The End Of The Tour, or as I like to think of it, what The Social Network would look like if you took out all the sex, drugs, and drinking, and actually made it somewhat realistic. Yes indeed! This drama/biopic is one of the few films out there that, in my opinion, does a very good job of representing the lives of artists and intellectuals accurately. It’s able to do this because it doesn’t portray our existences as glamorous, dramatic or sexy–we don’t see the protagonists sleeping with groupies, going to elaborate parties, or snorting cocaine off of hooker’s bodies, as we do in The Social Network, or Midnight In Paris. What we see them do is, well, what they actually do–write; talk; think. As a writer myself, I found it very refreshing to see a film that actually showed us for the simple, mundane, and even somewhat lonely people that we are, and not the pretentious, hedonistic assholes that Aaron Sorkin and Woody Allen imagine us as.
But what, you might be wondering, is this realistic film that does such a good job of representing writers about? Well, it’s essentially just a cinematic adaptation of Dave Lipsky’s memoir, Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, which recounts the few days he spent following the late David Foster Wallace on a book tour. 90% of it is just two people–Lipsky, portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg, and Wallace, portrayed by Jason Segal–sitting around and talking about stuff. And yet, it never once gets boring. There is some very well-written, thought-provoking dialogue here, and the performances are SUPERB. This is the kind of film that actors who want to show off their talent, or expand their repertoire, yearn for. Why? Well, for starters, it’s quiet. It gives the performers the chance to say a lot, and to express a wide range of emotions. It’s the kind of movie that really depends on its stars to carry the film, because it doesn’t have any explosions or eye candy to distract you. And, let me tell you right now, both Segal and Eisenberg do terrific jobs.
But, it’s not just the dialogue, the acting, or the realistic portrayal of writers that I like. I also like the fact that, when you watch this movie, you can tell that the person who wrote it really did his homework on David Foster Wallace. Very often when you see biopics, it becomes clear that the filmmakers didn’t do much research because they either wanted to tell a juicy story, or they wanted to glorify the people and events they’re talking about. Not here. Little details from Wallace’s life–like the fact that he played tennis in High School, or that he once dreamt of opening a shelter for abused animals–make their way into the script, weaving a nuanced, multifaceted portrayal of the man. They do talk about some of his flaws–like the fact that he was once an alcoholic–but they don’t dwell on these things, or make them the primary focus of the story, as with The Social Network. They do what all good writers should do when discussing real people–show him as a real, imperfect person.
And that, loved ones, is why I’ve decided to give The End Of The Tour an 9 out of 10. It’s well-written, it’s well-acted, and it does an excellent job of representing one of the most fascinating and thoughtful writers who ever lived. It’s a welcome departure from all the mega-blockbusters of the summer, and I know you all would enjoy it if you gave it a look. Check it out!