Patterico's Pontifications


Movie Review: Go See Mike Birbiglia’s “Sleepwalk with Me”

Filed under: General,Movies — Patterico @ 9:26 am

Mike Birbiglia is a very funny comedian who is charming, self-deprecating, and wholesome — but not in a boring way. Here’s a short sample of his comedy from YouTube:

He has a new independent film out called “Sleepwalk with Me,” which is based on his life story. As he explains at the beginning of this trailer, the story is true:

I went to see “Sleepwalk with Me” last night with the kids. (Sadly, Mrs. P. couldn’t make it due to other commitments.) The kids and I loved the movie. The trailer above makes it seem like more of a “chick flick” when I don’t think it really is. It’s really more of a film that centers around Birbiglia’s funny and likeable personality.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but the trailer sums it up well. It weaves strands of Birbiglia’s evolution as a comedian, his doomed relationship with his longtime girlfriend, and his increasingly dangerous sleepwalking disorder.

If you already know Mike Birbiglia and like his comedy — or if you like the YouTube clip above of Birbiglia’s stand-up comedy — you’ll like this movie. When it was over I was ready to watch another 90 minutes of the same stuff.

Last night was a special night because Birbiglia did a Q&A after the movie. He immediately spotted Lauren and Matthew and declared them the youngest kids in the audience. At the end of the Q&A, he called them up on the stage and asked them if they had liked the movie. A couple other kids of similar age joined them. When they answered quietly that they had liked it, Birbiglia immediately declared (in a charming and funny way) that he was not convinced. (Actually, my kids loved the movie — they listen to Birbiglia on “This American Life” and can quote parts of his routines from memory — but they are shy in front of crowds.)

Here is a photo of the moment. Lauren and Matthew are the kids closest to Birbiglia in the picture:

One point Birbiglia made is that, because “Sleepwalk with Me” is an independent film, it essentially has no advertising budget whatsoever. The advertising, such as it is, must be done through word of mouth: Facebook, Twitter, and talking to friends.

(And, I suppose, the occasional blog post, like this one!)

If this movie sounds like something you’d enjoy, go see it tonight. I really think you’ll like it. It’s currently showing in Boston, Washington D.C., Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York City, Brooklyn, Cleveland, Columbus, Austin, Dallas, Houston, and Madison. I believe it will soon be showing in many more cities in coming days and weeks.

And if you do go see it, take to Facebook and Twitter and tell your friends. And let me know if you think I was right.

23 Responses to “Movie Review: Go See Mike Birbiglia’s “Sleepwalk with Me””

  1. Seriously, if you have no plans tonight, give it a try.

    Patterico (83033d)

  2. Just watched Annie Hall again last night since Kid had to for film class. In the mood for comedians with doomed relationships, and Carol Kane.

    SarahW (b0e533)

  3. I stand with Mr. Joss

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  4. I don’t know, I think the response is compelling. At least until the point where it completely falls apart.

    He addressed this issue last night, by the way. I think he said the plan is to make 3 billion dollars between the three of them (Whedon, Birbiglia, and Glass) and then split it three ways.

    Patterico (83033d)

  5. hah that’s cute

    be the boot

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  6. It’s only at The Music Box, up here, kind of a longhair place.

    nk (875f57)

  7. Love the comic. My brother and I call each other “my cracka” and have for years. In fact, I will pour one out for my crackas tonight.

    Funny stuff, Patterico, and glad to see you take your kids (language was okay?). On the other hand, regular television is pretty gross these days.

    Anyway, I like Joss Whedon’s work. I think Ira Glass is an okay guy. But honestly. Tell me true: didn’t both of them sound like guys who got “the whirlies” in gym class from 9th through 12th grades?

    Birbiglia sounded like a regular guy. No pretention.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  8. You should post your kids’ favorite routines by this guy on YouTube, so I can share with my kids.

    My kids need some funny stuff to enjoy. I am going to have to forbid them from “Big Bang Theory” based on the last few episodes. Too much “health class” explanations of backstory.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  9. Funny stuff, Patterico, and glad to see you take your kids (language was okay?).

    It seemed like it. I don’t really remember cringing much at anything like that.

    Patterico (83033d)

  10. Simon,

    Terry Pratchett. The Colour of Magic. Also Chinese Cosmogony.

    A Disc on the back of four Elephants on the back of a Turtle. How else does the Universe get them without a Big Bang?

    nk (875f57)

  11. If you’re in Los Angeles, the 9:40 with a Q&A with Birbliglia is not yet sold out. Get your tickets here.

    Patterico (83033d)

  12. Anyway, I like Joss Whedon’s work. I think Ira Glass is an okay guy. But honestly. Tell me true: didn’t both of them sound like guys who got “the whirlies” in gym class from 9th through 12th grades?

    Perhaps. I bet they would tell you that they did.

    A lot of those people end up being a lot more successful than the people who gave the whirlies.

    Birbliglia got picked on too. He seems to be doing okay.

    Patterico (83033d)

  13. nk, you do know Terry Pratchett’s health issues?

    But I really thought of you regarding Pratchett making his own sword recently (with some meteoric iron added…).

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  14. Hey Patterico? Guess what kind of guy I was in high school? Glub, glub.

    The difference is one of tone. I listened to Whedon and Glass talk, and winced at how they were surely treated in high school. If I had talked that way, bullied as I was in high school, I would have needed to grow gills.

    Birbigla sounded like a regular guy.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  15. I have original editions of The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic. (Not entirely fair, they were part of my inventory, I sold books among other things.)

    And yes, I do know about Terry Pratchett, and more than I want to know about precocious dementia.

    nk (875f57)

  16. Patterico, your posts about your kids’ humor have always been great (i.e. “Go! Go! Go!” and “I’m not left-handed, either”), so I will trust their judgment on this film.

    People that like Birbiglia, REALLY like him, so maybe they will enjoy his appearance with Ira Glass promoting the film on the Adam Carolla podcast here.

    TimesDisliker (ce620f)

  17. TimesDisliker, or anyone else,

    The comments at the link to the Adam Corolla podcast imply something happened to Larry Miller. Does anyone know about this???

    Patterico (83033d)

  18. Never mind, I think I found it. A head injury in April? How did I not hear about this earlier?

    Patterico (83033d)

  19. Do you read his blog?

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  20. Patterico- Carolla mentioned on his podcast a while ago that everyone was keeping the Larry Miller thing very quiet. I think it was quite easy not to hear about it.

    MayBee (48f9d7)

  21. ok me and my friend J we went to see this movie at the landmark the other day it was

    not the feel-good movie of the year exactly

    but it was charming in its way

    I used to barback in a comedy club many many moons ago and a lot of that part rang really sorta true

    the guy who used to dj there killed himself shortly after I quit I found out later and my favoritest bartender there lives out here now in san diego where I just visited for the first time this week… I made the phone show me where she was and it was too far to walk or I would’ve

    I liked how the movie made you reflect on what it’s like to tell the same jokes over and over and how those jokes can become a representation of the self every bit as much as what results from any other kind of creative act

    also I liked how symmetrical the theater was

    happyfeet (f3ee52)

  22. plus also Carol Kane’s performance really stood out – she should be in more stuff I think

    happyfeet (f3ee52)

  23. Just saw it, a 12:45pm Sunday (first) showing, about 60 people. Crowd did not come there on accident, nice to see people come out to support a movie and comedian they really want to see. This is the first movie Mrs. TD and I have enjoyed out in more than two years, we drove 50+ miles to see it, and we dug it.

    P.S. – one of the reasons we have given up on movies is the rude and distracting behavior of other patrons. *SPOILER ALERT* – right up front, Birbiglia tells the audience to shut off their cellphones. Thanks, Birbigs, I am your audience!

    TimesDisliker (6476be)

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