The tour in The End of the Tour is David Foster Wallace’s 1996 multicity promotion for his epic novel Infinite Jest, a fractured portrait of a manic culture and the biting loneliness at its heart. The movie, directed by James Ponsoldt from a script by the playwright Donald Margulies, depicts what happens when Wallace (Jason Segel) becomes a cog in the machine he’s attempting to deconstruct. He’s seen through the eyes of the writer David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg), who tags along to the last city, Minneapolis, for a Rolling Stone profile. Lipsky has just published his own novel to resounding crickets, and he oscillates between jealousy of Wallace’s sudden celebrity and a desire to live vicariously through it — to know what it’s like to be a literary sensation. Wallace, meanwhile, is visibly uncomfortable with his stardom, partly because he doesn’t want to be seen as comfortable with it and partly because he’s afraid he’ll be weakened by it existentially. He’s especially frightened of being on TV, which riveted him as a child and instilled in him the conviction that mainstream culture is evolving into an ever more efficient drug. He does, however, admit that he’d like to get laid more easily.