David Foster Wallace was the last literary hero, a young writer who appealed enormously to young readers just before the digital world took over. DFW and his bandana were famous in a way no writer is today among the youthful -- except perhaps the great romantic John Green. But Wallace meant more: while exercising his own inimitable voice, he also got signed up as the voice of his generation. (A little like Bob Dylan before him.) Wallace's essays made people say, yes, that's just what I thought but he says it so much better.
And Wallace's great constellation of a novel, Infinite Jest, made the same crowd say not that he explained well what they already thought, but rather what they felt. For some Wallace's intricately crafted book nailed just what it was like to be alive at that time and place, the early 1990s. Wallace killed himself in 2008, leaving his legions bereft. How I Met Your Mother star Jason Segel reanimates David Foster Wallace in a two-hander with Jesse Eisenberg called The End of The Tour. It's a talky, powerful exploration of life -- just what DFW liked. It's available on VOD and Blu-ray.
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