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.


The Funniest Thing I Saw All Day

Filed under: Movies,Scum — Patterico @ 7:58 pm

Was this, which is honestly for real and not an Onion parody:



Joe Biden at the Movies

Filed under: Movies,Politics — DRJ @ 8:02 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Ed Driscoll has video of Vice President Joe Biden’s review of Avatar:

ANDREA MITCHELL: “You’ve been a very busy man. Do you and Mrs. Biden ever get to the movies? Any Academy picks; any favorites among the Oscar nominees?”

BIDEN: “Yes, as a matter of fact we do. I think one of the odds-on favorites — Jill didn’t go with me — but, is, um, is, uh, this … this new program that I looked at it and wished I was seeing it in 3-D, and you sit there and you watch this science fiction thing unfold in front of you …”

MITCHELL: “Avatar?”

BIDEN: “Avatar.”

This should be a weekly gig for the Vice President.



25 Best Christmas Movies

Filed under: Movies — DRJ @ 8:22 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

John Nolte at Big Hollywood has been counting down his list of the 25 best Christmas movies. Here are numbers 2-25 (EDIT: #1 added 12/25/09):

1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

2. A Christmas Story (1983) — Ralphie!

3. A Christmas Carol (1951)

4. Christmas Vacation (1989)

5. Going My Way (1944) / The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945)

6. Holiday Inn (1942)

7. The Gathering (1977)

8. Home Alone (1990)

9. A Christmas Carol (1984) — with George C. Scott

10. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

11. The Bishop’s Wife (1947)

12. One Magic Christmas (1985)

13. Remember the Night (1940)

14. A Holiday Affair (1949)

15. The Lemon Drop Kid (1941)

16. A Christmas Carol (1938)

17. Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

18. A Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

19. Prancer (1989)

20. The Santa Claus (1994)

21. Susan Slept Here (1954)

22. An American Christmas Carol (1979)

23. Scrooge (1970)

24. Scrooged (1988) — with Bill Murray

25. White Christmas (1954)

I assume the Jimmy Stewart classic It’s a Wonderful Life will be Nolte’s pick for #1. [EDIT: It was, and I added it above.] I’m no expert on movies but I would have put Christmas in Connecticut in the top 10 and maybe even the top 5.

If Christmas movies aren’t your thing, amble over to GM’s Place for his video of Silent Monks Singing Halleluia.




Filed under: Movies — Patterico @ 11:49 pm

Ed Morrissey has an excellent review of the new Pixar movie Up. I can’t add anything, except to say that this is one of the best movies I have seen in recent years. Ed is exactly right about the Spencer Tracy and Kirk Douglas likenesses.


Washington Meets Blazing Saddles

Filed under: Humor,Movies,Politics — DRJ @ 4:36 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Don’t miss it.



An American Carol

Filed under: Movies — DRJ @ 3:30 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

An American Carol is a conservative-leaning movie that is not doing as well as I hoped in the box office rankings. In fact, it’s battling with Bill Maher’s Religulous for 9th place.

My family buys a lot of DVDs but we rarely go to movies. However, in a show of support, we decided to go see An American Carol this afternoon. We live in an affluent and conservative community, so this is the perfect location to show it. But An American Carol is not showing in my town and I’ve seen comments online that suggest other conservative communities were also passed over.

Anyone know who makes these decisions? Is it the distributor, Vivendi Entertainment, the theatre chain, or someone else?



California Supreme Court Rules On Conflicts Of Interest Regarding Prosecutors Involved In Outside Media Endeavors

Filed under: Court Decisions,Crime,Law,Movies — Justin Levine @ 2:59 pm

[post by Justin Levine]

Two interesting rulings today from the Supreme Court of California involving questions of when prosecutors may or may not need to recuse themselves when they are involved in film and book projects related to the cases they are trying.

Hollywood v. Superior Court [PDF] (An ironic title for the case, given its subject matter – involving a film that I thought was very solid.)

Haraguchi v. Superior Court [PDF] (concerning this book.)

[Justin Levine]


Once Again, the Public Confuses Hollywood

Filed under: Movies — DRJ @ 9:06 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

George Clooney’s movie Leatherheads – he directs and stars – opened to a disappointing third place this weekend:

“The movie that George Clooney directed, starred in and overhauled the script for, Leatherheads, stumbled badly at the box office this weekend, making only $12.5 million from 1,769 theaters and finishing only No. 3. (Interestingly, the pic’s studio, Universal, claimed it was No. 2, but every other Hollywood major had it as No. 3 behind Sony’s 21 and Fox/Walden’s Nim’s Island.) The screwball comedy about the early days of football was seen in Hollywood as a referendum on Clooney’s popularity at the box office. Because right now he is a big movie star but not a big box office star, and his hefty paydays in big studio projects like this definitely depend on the latter.
But Hollywood was aghast that Clooney couldn’t open his movie. (As one studio mogul said to me, “He’s no Will Smith.”)”

The movie’s distributor even wondered why movie-goers aren’t flocking to Clooney’s film:

“I’m disappointed for us, I’m disappointed for George. I think he’s a great guy, and think he’s got tons of directing talent,” said Nikki Rocco, head of distribution for Universal. “I wish I could have that crystal ball and tell you what went wrong.”

I think it’s one of two reasons: Either movie-goers are tired of stars who use their celebrity to make political points, thereby making even their non-politicized products less entertaining to the average person.

Or Clooney is no Will Smith.



More Evidence that Hollywood is Clueless

Filed under: Movies — DRJ @ 1:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

From DeadlineHollywood, the box office numbers are in and the latest Hollywood war movie has not done well:

“I’m told #7 Stop-Loss opened to only $1.6 million Friday from just 1,291 plays and should eke out $4+M. Although the drama from MTV Films was the best-reviewed movie opening this weekend, Paramount wasn’t expecting much because no Iraq war-themed movie has yet to perform at the box office. “It’s not looking good,” a studio source told me before the weekend. “No one wants to see Iraq war movies. No matter what we put out there in terms of great cast or trailers, people were completely turned off. It’s a function of the marketplace not being ready to address this conflict in a dramatic way because the war itself is something that’s unresolved yet. It’s a shame because it’s a good movie that’s just ahead of its time.”

The Miami Herald published a review of “Stop-Loss” that recounts how the heroes come home from Iraq only to engage in endless drunken brawls. One goes AWOL to protest the stop-loss policy and another abandons his girlfriend for a foxhole in his front yard where he “curls up in his underwear, cradling a bottle and a loaded handgun.” And yet, here’s the bottom line from the review:

“While obviously admiring the valor and devotion of our fighting men and women, “Stop-Loss” makes no judgment about the rightness of the war in Iraq. But it generates a good deal of contempt for a system that rewards its soldiers by betraying them. A credit at the end of the film estimates that 81,000 soldiers have been stop-lossed back to Iraq.”

I don’t care how Hollywood producers feel about the war or Bush but they should be able to realistically judge what their market wants instead of endlessly trying to tell them what to think. With judgment like this, it’s amazing to me they can make a living.


Next Page »

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.0881 secs.