Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Segel sparkle in “The End of the Tour” Trailer

Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg
I’ve only been to the Sundance Film Festival once, but every single year I’m on the lookout for which titles from Park City could make the transition to the Academy Award race late in the year. Sundance this year had a handful of offerings that meet such criteria, but none captured my interest as much as The End of the Tour. The movie, from up and coming ace filmmaker James Ponsoldt, captured some of the fest’s best reviews and did in fact create some awards buzz, so today’s debut of a Trailer for the film (which you can see below) has me very excited about its possibilities.

If you’re not aware about the flick at all from Sundance, it’s a look at the time spent between Rolling Stone writer David Lipsky and the celebrated late author David Foster Wallace, while the former interviews the latter for an article. They bond, talk, and some light is possibly shed on what went on in Wallace’s head. Jesse Eisenberg plays Lipsyk, while Jason Segel is the legendary Wallace. In addition to those two, who really are the stars, the supporting cast consists of, in part, Anna Chlumsky, Joan Cusack, Mamie Gummer, Ron Livingston, and Mickey Sumner. The script was written by Donald Margulies, while Ponsoldt obviously directs.

There’s a lot to be excited about here, with Ponsoldt behind the camera representing one of them for sure. He’s an incredibly talented writer and director, with a few Oscar close calls to his credit already. From his feature debut Off the Black to his alcoholism drama Smashed to most recently his outstanding coming of age tale The Spectacular Now, Ponsoldt is undeniably three for three as a filmmaker. The End of the Tour has been said by some to be his best yet, and that’s incredibly high praise in my book. Going forward he has an adaptation of The Circle as well as potentially a Hilary Clinton biopic in the works, so his star is certainly on the rise, and rightfully so.

Another factor is how good Segel apparently is here. The former star of How I Met Your Mother has previously only been a comedic lead on the big screen (though he hits some great dramatic notes in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, by the by), so this is a real coming out party for him. Playing a mysterious real life character like Wallace doesn’t hurt either, as he’s able to really leave his own mark on the part while captivating a large fan base. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t go on to some huge roles from here. He’s always had the talent, so it’s great to see it all coming together for Segel with this one. Eisenberg is no slouch himself, so for Segel to be getting most of the praise really means that he’s gone above and beyond.

Awards wise, there’s a ton of potential. Obviously, we can begin with a potential Best Picture nomination and go from there. There’s Best Director (for Ponsoldt), Best Actor (for Eisenberg and/or Segel), Best Supporting Actor (for whichever one of them the studio might opt to push Supporting), Best Supporting Actress (for Cusack, of the supporting players), Best Adapted Screenplay (for Margulies), with possibilities below the line as well. Ultimately, it could wind up Best Actor for Segel and Best Adapted Screenplay or bust, but if it catches on, you can’t count it out of the Best Picture race. Time will tell, but it’s one to really keep an eye on.

Ultimately, we don’t know enough about how The End of the Tour will play to audiences and the Academy to make too much of a guess, but the odds do favor it at least being in the awards season conversation later on this year. It could very well slip between the cracks like The Spectacular Now did a few years ago, but it also might not. I’ll definitely be keeping a close eye on how this one does, but we’ll get first hand looks at it when The End of the Tour hits theaters this summer. It has a release date of July 31st, so sit tight for that to come our way in a few months. Until then, enjoy the trailer below. It’s just a matter of speculating about Eisenberg, Ponsoldt, Segel, and company now…

Here’s the Trailer:

Stay tuned for plenty more on The End of the Tour this year!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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