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He wants more than he has. I want precisely what he already has.
‘The End of the Tour’ is a deeply moving film chronicling David Foster Wallace’s last book tour with Rolling Stone reporter, David Lipsky. Here, Lipsky is still fighting to find his voice as a writer, still searching for the right story to set him up for fame. David Foster Wallace on the other hand, has already achieved everything Lipsky is working for and it doesn’t seem to make him any happier.
Jason Segel is best known for teen comedies like ‘Freaks and Geeks’ and silly rom-coms like ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’, but in his role as David Foster Wallace, he truly shines. He manages to capture the late author’s modesty, doubts, and amicable soul perfectly, showing off a side of his acting skills we were not aware of.
Movies like ‘The End of the Tour’ are bitter-sweet; hopeful yet painstakingly realistic. It highlights the personal conflict within a profession that is as corrupted as it is nakedly honest. If you’d like to follow more writers in their plight for the ultimate story, check out the films below.
People tend to be wary of journalists, seeing as they have the power to spin stories in a manner that reaches further than the actual truth. Even though William (Patrick Fugit) is an introverted, inexperienced fifteen-year-old aspiring writer on his first assignment, the same is true for him.
Following the band Stillwater on their tour, William struggles to get a real story. Lead singer Russell (Billy Crudup) fears William may shatter the image of the band and air out the conflicts within, thus keeping a distance from the journalist and only offering up nonsensical titbits for the Rolling Stone story.
But William is a born writer; he doesn’t need Russell’s words to pen the story of Stillwater. Based on his experiences with the band and the muddle of conflicted relationships amongst its entourage, William writes an honest story with the potential to ruin the band’s image forever.
Based on Crowe’s experiences touring with the likes of Led Zeppelin, Lynryd Skynryd and The Allman Brothers Band, ‘Almost Famous’ revisits the seventies music era with a bitchin’ soundtrack that includes The Who, Elton John, David Bowie and Cat Stevens.
What makes films like ‘The End of the Tour’ so special is the intimacy you can feel throughout. It allows you to connect with the movies’ subject, and to empathise with the protagonist’s inner struggles and outer insecurities. Although ‘About a Son’ isn’t a fictional movie, the same affinity can be felt.
‘About a Son’ is a documentary about Kurt Cobain. Audio snippets of various interviews with Kurt conducted by journalist Michael Azzerad are presented over a backdrop of nostalgic images of Aberdeen, Seattle and Olympia – the places Cobain called home.
Listening to Kurt’s take on life, love and music whilst immersing yourself in the visuals of his hometown(s), will make you feel as though he is actually speaking to you.
David Gale (Kevin Spacey) is the head of the philosophy department at the University of Texas and also stands strong against the death penalty. His students, colleagues and fellow members of the DeathWatch group have great respect for David but in the course of one single night, everything changes…
When he is accused of raping an expelled graduate student, he loses everything: his family, his career, his reputation. His friend Constance Harraway offers him support during this difficult period, but when she’s found raped and murdered, David becomes the main suspect.
Now on Death Row, David and his lawyer employ the investigative journalist Bitsey Bloom (Kate Winslet) to tell his story. As she starts puzzling the details of the incomprehensible crime together, she makes a shocking discovery… but is she too late?
Personally, I found ‘The Life of David Gale’ riveting, as it offered a shocking example of wrongful imprisonment. However, my opinion doesn’t seem to be shared by most critics – the film mainly garnered unfavourable reviews. But don’t let that put you off – make up your own mind!
Erik (Espen Klouman Hoiner) and Phillip (Anders Danielsen Lie) are two close friends who share the same dream: they both want to become writers. Their hero is Sten Egil Dahl, a reclusive writer, whose work they cherish and often try to imitate.
Both having completed their respective manuscripts, send their work out to publishers; Erik’s is rejected, while Phillip’s is published and gains widespread popularity overnight. While Phillip struggles with his new life, Erik goes off in search for the perfect writing environment.
Writers are strange folk; they’re either socially awkward hermits like David Foster Wallace, or extreme personalities like Charles Bukowski.
Films similar to ‘The End of the Tour’ give us insight into the life of an author; we get to see him as perceived by colleagues and his audience and learn more about his private life and inner thoughts. In the case of David Foster Wallace, his life was a quiet one.
If you’re looking to learn more about the type of writers who have risked their lives in search of a good story, you might want to look into Hunter S. Thompson’s famous trip to Nevada.
Based on Hunter S. Thompson’s ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream’, Terry Gilliam managed to capture the drug-fuelled madness of Thompson’s writing approach.
The film follows Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and his dodgy lawyer Dr. Gonzo (Benicio del Toro) as they make their way across the Nevada desert with a car boot packed with all types of chemical and hallucinogen roadside snacks. Their destination: the Mint 400 motorcycle race that Duke is meant to cover for a travel magazine.
What may seem as a drug-addled viewing experience with no plot or sense whatsoever, is, in fact, a humorous introduction into Hunter S. Thompsons writing approach, so-called Gonzo Journalism.
If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.
I think the above quote pretty much summarizes the reason why most writers put pen to paper. Their minds are a wonderland of strong opinions, magical worlds and enticing characters – to keep many stories in their head untold could easily result in overwhelming madness.
Which of the writers mentioned above do you most look up to?
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