The End of the Tour

I stood in line at the Elmwood Café for twenty minutes in order to buy an apple pie.  I went to work and thought about the holiday.  By the time I left, some stores had already closed.  I bought a chicken burrito from Gordo Taqueria and went home to watch “The End of the Tour.”  It was a movie about two writers talking a lot.  One was Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace, and the other was Jesse Eisenberg as the Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky.  Wallace was recognized as a genius, and Lipsky had written a forgotten novel called “The Art Fair,” so there was a bit of “Amadeus” in this story.  It takes place mostly in 1996.  Wallace lives alone in a house with dogs.  He has an Alanis Morissette poster on his wall, and a Barney towel.  He liked “Die Hard.”  What separates a great writer from someone who is just a writer?  The Lipsky in the movie tries to get the details instead of the big picture, and he was annoying in bringing up a suicide watch and getting information from a woman.  Wallace taught a writing class, and his advice to his students probably wasn’t too helpful.  Your writing improves if you sit down to do a lot of writing, and perhaps some ways of getting better seep into your head.  Wallace was killing himself with Pop Tarts and McDonald’s food.  Jason Siegel has been a pretty good actor for years, and he was more interesting in this movie than in anything on television.  I have no idea if his portrayal of Wallace was even close to accurate.  I liked the scene where they end up seeing “Broken Arrow.”  Even an acclaimed writer can enjoy a movie in which John Travolta’s character meets a ridiculous end.  Wallace knew about Hedy Lamarr’s technical knowledge, so I guess there was a little bit of the reporter in him.  Joan Cusack appears in the movie as a driver in Minneapolis as Wallace winds up his book tour.  She points out that she has driven famous people like Shirley MacLaine and Peter O’Toole.  I thought about how long ago “Working Girl” was.  I felt a bit disturbed that Wallace was a person of my time, and now in this movie was shown as something of a historical figure.  I couldn’t watch this movie without thinking about the infamous gang rape article in Rolling Stone magazine that was mentioned in the news recently.  I used to like reading Rolling Stone from cover to cover, but the magazine lost its way, although I couldn’t tell you exactly when it jumped the shark.  Anyhow, it’s tough to make writers interesting on film.  This movie wasn’t about the process of writing but in throwing together two writers into an awkward situation.  There was a lot of tension towards the end, after Wallace’s angry confrontation.  I could imagine being in Lipsky’s place and feeling awful.  It would be unbearable to sit on the plane, ride in a car, and spend the night in the house of someone who is furious with you.  I thought this movie was going to be funnier than it was.  It touched on a lot of isolation, depression, envy, and anger.   This movie certainly isn’t of the blockbuster variety that brings in a lot of tickets buyers in China.  I wondered why Wallace agreed to an interview.  It seemed that he would have felt better if he had taken the J.D. Salinger route and stayed away from everyone.  Another movie I was reminded of as I watched “The End of the Tour” was “My Dinner with Andre.”  I sympathized with Wallace a lot.  I don’t think I could go to learn about interviewing for eight years.  Lipsky was about to leave when he discovered a basic fact he was about to overlook, about Wallace’s dancing.  It all goes to show that a brief encounter with another person isn’t really enough to know very much.  It was only five days.  You’re not going to gain much insight by looking into a medicine cabinet or making notes about a Botticelli calendar.  This movie is worth seeing for those who have interest in writing.  I can see some college students liking it.  It didn’t leave as much of an impression on me as “My Dinner with Andre” did thirty-five years ago.  I think it must be much harder to make an impression on the public with your writing now than in 1996.  Twenty years ago, not so many people were using the Internet, and they didn’t have cell phones.  The Pepsi cans looked different.  Today everyone’s words just get thrown out there, competing for attention with tweets and Facebook posts and a lot of other nonsense.  What has been the impact of David Foster Wallace’s work?  I have never read any of his books, and I don’t know how much of Trump’s America has.  I had an idea for a short story that was a blend of “Being John Malkovich” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.”  I don’t think it would turn out to be very good, but it could have a few funny moments.  I feel asleep and watched the first part of the movie again with the audio commentary.  I found it hard to watch the part of the movie after the Hedy Lamarr movie and the refrigerator.  The ending shows Lipsky at a successful book reading contrasting the reading of his first novel.  He was riding Wallace again.  I thought about “A Walk in the Woods” again.  Two of the songs on the soundtrack were “Never My Love” and “They Don’t Know.”  David Foster Wallace died by suicide on September 12,2008, at age 46.  He hanged himself.  I caught the sports scores.  The Warriors won big over the Lakers.  Ronnie Lott’s comments on a new football stadium in Oakland certainly were not encouraging.  My only plans for Thanksgiving were to defrost the refrigerator and go out to see “Moana.”  I don’t care if it’s a Disney movie.  Tim Burton worked for Disney.  Will the movie be any better in 3D?  Politics is not going to affect my Thanksgiving.  I don’t have a turkey, or relatives visiting.  I see that the Minnesota Vikings are playing the Lions this morning.  Aretha Franklin sang the national anthem.  I think she could have been more concise and not repeated some of the words two or three times.  She was wearing a Lions knit cap and a coat, and she played the piano.  I wanted to buy some Blu-ray discs from Target.  I wanted to see “Brooklyn” again, and maybe “The Peanuts Movie.”  Some of the people who died on November 24 include Diego Rivera (1957), George Raft (1980), Big Joe Turner (1985), Eric Carr (1991), Freddie Mercury (1991), Arthur Hailey (2004), and Pat Morita (2005).  Today is a birthday for Pete Best (75) and Oscar Robertson (78).

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