Weekend Roundup + The End of the Tour review

Happy Sunday all! Summer in Minnesota is fleeting so we try to do outdoor stuff as much as we can. Suffice to say we barely had time to watch any movie, we were too tired for home cinema but y’know what, we’ll have plenty of time for home movies later in the Fall & Winter.

I did get a lot of script writing done this week, which is always a GOOD thing. The highlight of my weekend was attending the MN Irish Fair at Harriet Island. MNIrishFest2015

We purposely got there a bit later in the day but managed to catch a couple of great Irish bands: Young Dubliners and Wild Colonial Bhoys. We even saw a booth selling some Outlander merchandise, complete with a poster of Jamie & Claire 😀


Last Thursday I went to a press screening of The End of the Tour at Mall of America, with actor Jason Segel in attendance for the Q&A afterwards. He was cordial and really fun to listen to. I didn’t know much about him but let’s just say I have a new respect for the actor.

He shared some tidbits about filming in Mall of America, and it’s interesting that the exact theater we were in is also the same one they filmed one of the scenes in the movie!

Here’s my review:


I have to say I’m not familiar with the subject matter. I haven’t read anything by David Foster Wallace, nor did I know about David Lipsky’s book based on his interview with the famed author. The film opens with news of Wallace’s death, a suicide, which prompted Rolling Stone’s reporter David Lipsky to listen to the interview tapes and reminisce on the five-days they shared at the end of Wallace’s book tour.


The film mostly takes place in flashback, which took place in 1996 after Wallace’s groundbreaking epic novel Infinite Jest. The 1000+ page book takes place in North America dystopia, and deals with themes of addiction, recovery, entertainment and film theory, among others. It was Lipsky idea to interview Wallace and it certainly has become one of his most important reporting work in his career.

I must give kudos to director James Ponsoldt and screenwriter Donald Margulies for tackling such a challenging project such as this one. There’s not much happening in this film, mostly it’s just two people talking and so if you’re not engrossed in the characters’ journey from the start, most likely you won’t enjoy this film at all. Thankfully that’s not the case here and both Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg practically lost themselves in the role. Most especially Segel, who gained about 40 pounds to portray Wallace and he’s almost unrecognizable under that unflattering bandana.


The film consist mostly of conversations between these two men, it certainly helps that there’s a convincing chemistry between the two actors. They seem to get along well and there’s a mutual admiration, but there’s also inevitable tension. Humor also plays a part in making the exchange fun to watch, especially the parts in Mall of America, one of which involves them watching the action movie Broken Arrow in the exact same theater I was sitting in.


There’s something so natural in the way the dialog and scenes play out, as if the two actors have known each other for ages. It also feels as if we’re eavesdropping on their conversation at times, there’s a bit of a documentary feel to the way it’s filmed. For a film about a writer, and getting into the psyche of his writing process, I think the film did a wonderful job in inviting even non Wallace fan like I am to appreciate him for who he is. The existential quality of the conversation also offers interesting insights into what Wallace thinks about the entertainment world and fame.

I’m glad I got to see this film. As an aspiring writer myself, it’s always fascinating to get a glimpse of the life of a successful writer, and more importantly, what he thinks about such a success. If you’re slightly more familiar with David Foster Wallace than I am, then it’s a must-see. If not, it’s worth seeing to see comedic actor Jason Segel in a serious role, no doubt a career high for him that might even garner him some nominations come award season.


So what did you see this weekend? Anything good?

40 thoughts on “Weekend Roundup + The End of the Tour review

  1. I didn’t see much this weekend as I’m just kind of relaxing for a bit but I did see Hiroshima Mon Amour yesterday which was one of the recent purchases I got at Barnes & Noble’s Criterion 50% off sale. Just right now, I’m going to watch a short by Gaspar Noe for my Auteurs piece on him.

  2. Can’t say that I’ve heard of The End of the Tour or Wallace before but after reading your review I’m curious about it. I’ve seen some interviews with Jason Siegel, he seems likeable and I think that carries over into some of his performances.

    Hmm, I don’t think I watched anything this weekend but earlier in the week I watched Penny Dreadful season 1 … not bad. 😀

    1. Hi Eddie! Jason Segel is very likable, so it helps that he plays this role as Wallace doesn’t seem like a likable guy judging from first impression. He’s VERY good here, I’m impressed!

      I’ve seen some episodes of Penny Dreadful, man the production design is phenomenal. It’s way too scary for me though, even w/ my fave Timothy Dalton in it 😉

  3. I don’t know anything about Wallace and I don’t think I’m that interested in seeing The End of the Tour.

    I went to see Mission: Impossible 5 again at the IMAX theater, it’s the last the weekend they’re showing it there. I think I like it better the second time around and that motorcycle chase looked pretty awesome on the giant screen. Then I just spent time redesigning my movie site, I’m thinking of launching both the site and an app for it. Lots of work to be done but at least I’m back working on it again.

    1. I don’t know anything about Wallace either, but I always like films about writers so it was still enjoyable for me.

      Oh man, we really want to see MI5 on IMAX, bummer that it was the last weekend they’re showing it 😦 Ah well, we might look for a theater w/ Dolby Atmos then.

      Best of luck w/ your site Ted, can’t wait to see it live! 😀

      1. Yeah Man from UNCLE opens this weekend on IMAX so they have to move Mission 5 out. But looks like the Icon theater will keep showing it at their Atmos theater, I thought maybe they’ll move it out since Man from UNCLE was recorded in Atmos. I guess they’re Mission 5 because it’s still making money and UNCLE probably won’t make that much this weekend.

  4. Love this review. I enjoy watching Segel and reading Wallace but I’m really anti-Eisenberg lately and am not sure I could tolerate so much of him.

    1. Hi Jay! I hear ya about Eissenberg, I don’t care for him either but he’s quite good here. The star is really Segel who transformed himself for the role. If you’re reading Wallace you should get more out of the film, too.

  5. Tom

    Oh I’m so jealous you’ve seen this one! I’ve had a keen eye on it for the reasons you mentioned at the end — seeing Segel tackle a serious role will be really rewarding I think. He’s really growing into a well-rounded actor. I’m not as much a fan of Eisenberg — far from a detractor of course, but I can’t call myself a fan of him, but I’ll really be eager to see this hit the market around here (if it does). Great review Ruth. That festival looked like a good time, too!

    1. Hi ya Tom! Seeing Segel in a serious role was one of the main draws for me, but I always appreciate films about writers. Segel is so likable too, which helps make the character more fun to *hang out with* for 2 hrs. I’m not a fan of Eisenberg either generally but he’s good here (as he was in The Social Network), I think in certain roles he’s watchable.

      Btw Tom, are you in Salt Lake City now? I remember you said you’re planning on moving there??

      1. Tom

        Agreed 100% on Eisenberg. give him a good role and he’s great.

        I am not yet in SLC, it is on the map for me in the next year or two though. I must find a way to build up some savings and make the move. 🙂 I would love to attend Sundance in the coming years, that’s the plan.

  6. I’m interested in catching this one, mostly to see how Segal fares. He’s gotten great reviews and a lot of people are suggesting a Supporting Actor campaign come awards season.

    I’ve pretty much been watching a slew of 1955 films, personally, in order to compile my Fisti Awards for the year.

    1. Hi Drew! Segal fares very well, better than I expected. But the character is not entirely devoid of humor. I think the kudos he’s been getting is well-deserved. Looking forward to your Fisti Award post!

  7. Hey Flixy, thank you SO much for letting me tag along to see TEOTT. Been a fan of Segel since Forgetting Sarah Marshall (he wrote both the script AND soundtrack, how versatile is that?!). He gave the very best Q&A I’ve ever seen, so enthusiastic and cordial. And the Mall of America scenes in the movie were certainly the icing on the cake 😉

    1. Hey thanks for coming with me! I’m glad I saw the movie and got to see Jason Segel. He’s such a nice guy too, yes best Q&A ever from an actor.

    1. Hi Mark! Yeah that was cool to see Jason Segel doing the best Q&A ever after a film. He’s very cordial and polite, and brilliant too! Go see the film!

    1. I read your post yesterday, how awesome that you got to take writing class from Wallace himself, wow!! But you are an excellent writer yourself Cindy.

      Btw, been having issues getting to some WP sites, including yours, will comment as soon as I can get to it. I’ve been having issues getting to my own Dashboard too lately 😦

  8. This sounds very intriguing. Those images of Segel really cracked me up, but then reading what it’s about added a different flavor. Really hope to check this out.

    1. Hi Keith, this is such a different role for Segel but he tackled it w/ aplomb. He’s a better actor than I give him credit for, seeing this (and him during Q&A) increased my respect for him tenfold.

        1. Nope no interest whatsoever in that one. I read your review, I can see why you gave it a low rating. It just looks terrible and your review confirmed my dread, Keith.

  9. eclecticscribe66

    I am so intrigued by End of Tour. I hope to watch it soon. When I do, I’ll be back to read your review. 🙂

  10. I’m totally into Buffy at the moment. I’m nearly at the end of the fourth series. I do need a break from it though. True Detective series 2 coming up I think. And Segel really does look so different!

    1. Oh Buffy! I never got into it for some reason, I did like this vampire show on CBS called Moonlight but it was canceled prematurely 😦 Haven’t got around to True Detective either, I usually prefer British shows so I’ve been watching Downton Abbey & going to start on The White Queen 🙂

  11. Great review! I didn’t know much about David Foster Wallace, but this film keeps getting better the more I think about it. Segel AMAZED me, and so did Eisenberg, to a lesser extent. For the first time with either actor, I saw their characters on screen. I didn’t see Segel or Eisenberg, which was refreshing, since each has a certain degree of similarity amongst his performances. They nailed these roles, and I’m hoping the film gets some awards attention. 4/5 for me, too, but I’m close to a 4.5/5.

    1. Glad to hear you also wasn’t familiar w/ Wallace but got a lot out of the film, Josh. Yes, Segel was amazing indeed, hopefully his name pops up come award season and the film/director as well.

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