The story of a stereotypical unstable author who says early on that he doesn’t want to be portrayed as a stereotypical unstable author. Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg do the bulk of the work here. We follow a writer for Rolling Stone magazine, Eisenberg, as he interviews a slightly manic author, Segal. The author is David Foster Wallace, who has just published his masterpiece Infinate Jest, and the writer is David Lipsky. Over the course of five days, we watch as Lipsky works out a complex bit of jealousy, envy, and hero worship as he interviews Wallace.
The film opens with the news that David Foster Wallace has killed himself, which leads David Lipsky to rummage through his closet for his old interview tapes. We listen to a tape and then shift back in time eight years. Seeing as both writers are whiny, insecure, and self-centered, they hit it off immediately.
Lipsky always has his tape recorder in hand and is always making notes about the mundane and routine things that Wallace does. Wallace, being a literary author, tends to wander off into long soliloquies, which he always ends by telling Lipsky how clever he was for getting him to open up.
There is a lot of talking here, which is fitting for a film about two writers spending five days together. They joke that the best part of being on a book tour is the chance to get laid, but when they meet a couple of groupies, they take them to a movie and not a motel. Later they go back to one of the women’s places, where they talk for a bit and then watch TV. David Foster Wallace is addicted to TV.
One odd bit is when Lipsky reminds Wallace, twice, that he agreed to do the interview. Did he really agree to have this guy move in with him for a week and take notes on his every move and utterance? This is less an interview and more a CIA operation. Lipsky completes his violation of Wallace’s trust at the end as he runs through the house making notes on everything he sees.
I know nothing about either author and had never heard of DFW or Lipsky. The film did make me curious and I may tackle Infinate Jest sometime soon. The End of The Tour was funny and touching and I liked it.