John Krasinski’s adaptation of the wonderful David Foster Wallace’s short story collection Brief Interviews with Hideous Men is out in theaters. Well, theater really, since in New York it’s still playing exclusively at the IFC Center. But no matter. The real story blowing up the blogs is that Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard makes his acting debut in the film, looking like a cute potato as always.
Actually, as far as our discerning eyes are concerned, he’s a pretty decent actor. Although let’s be honest — we mostly see his character, Harry, sitting around an English grad student’s living room pontificating to his friends, a scenario we imagine Gibbard has some experience in. Predictably, Stereogum and Pitchfork are way on board (Stereogum likes his hands), but A.V. Club calls him out on his ‘“How did I end up here?” amateurishness’ and Hipster Runoff wonders why he took on the project, suggesting, “Maybe he was a creative drama kid in high school. Seems likely that since he married a famous actress, Zooey Deschanel, he thought that he acquired her skills in the marriage.” (HRO also postulates that Jared Leto may be the only really awesome frontman/actor – Gibbard would not agree.)
The criticism makes a certain amount of sense — after all, everyone hates the kid that’s good at everything (and famous, and married to Zooey Deschanel) but we think they’re just jealous. In fact, we think it’s a particularly fitting foray onto the silver screen, since we have to imagine that Ben Gibbard would be a huge fan of David Foster Wallace. After all, DFW was, among other things, an incredible wordsmith and master of writing about despair, a description we might attribute to Gibbard himself. So not too shabby, Benny. Keep it up.
See the DCFC frontman’s acting debut — riffing on loss, sex, and moral oppression — below, and weigh in with a comment.