When a postmodern film premieres, there’s often a rush to condemn (or praise) its lack of coherence, leaving filmgoers huffing (or cheering), “It doesn’t make any sense!” I submit that this reaction is often misplaced, one recent example of such an instance being Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of the novel (by the seminal postmodern author, Thomas Pynchon) Inherent Vice. If, as a viewer, you’re attempting to square everything that happens with a singular narrative or, more significantly, an overarching meaning or sense, you’ve failed to grasp the “point” of postmodernity in literature, which includes (but is not limited to) that “reality” and “meaning” are no longer monolithic values locatable outside of the interpretive act (or anywhere at all). Paranoia is the organizing principle in that particular film, in that nearly everything that happens appears to have some hidden significance or to indicate a larger organization, malevolently, though no such broader scheme will ever be revealed/provided to the reader.
At the risk of forever emasculating myself, I’ll admit that after seeing the End of the Tour, I wept. I broke down into meaty sobs on the blustery streets of Park City, Utah. There was this pounding feeling of despair that washed over me that I just couldn’t shake. Bleary-eyed and shell-shocked, I wept for humanity, and it’s all James Ponsoldt and Jason Segel’s fault. Read More
*This is a reprint of our 2015 Sundance review*
To put a pin in the beauty of The End of the Tour is a philosophical venture potentially as challenging as James Ponsoldt‘s latest accomplishment. Detailing a three-day exchange between Rolling Stones journalist David Lipsky and rock star author David Foster Wallace, Ponsoldt’s film is talky and emotionally whirling, thick with dry-mouthed moments and cemented with a kind of human earnestness that cannot be bought or bartered for. Read More