New on DVD: ‘Sleepwalk with Me’

sleepwalk-with-me-dvd-cover-98Mike Birbiglia’s funny, heart-tweaking film Sleepwalk with Me, one of the more refreshing comedies of the year, hits DVD and Blu-ray today. It’s an odd choice for Blu-ray (you could really see the crumbs when he was chowing on that pound cake…) but to each his own.

I reviewed the film when it came out in theaters earlier this year for PopMatters:

Based on his one-man show, Birbiglia’s film is a not-even-veiled account of his struggles as a standup comic who’s also battling fears of commitment and the possibly life-threatening sleepwalking that seems to get worse as his career gets better. Changing his character’s last name to Pandamiglio (a nod to the many mangled mispronunciations his real name receives from emcees) and little else, Birbiglia does a solid job of translating the downbeat, confessional humor of his show to the screen…

Here’s the trailer:


New in Theaters: ‘Sleepwalk with Me’

With its can-you-believe-this? story, slacker protagonists, and rueful gravitas, Sleepwalk With Me could easily have been This American Life: The Movie. That it’s not, even though writer, star, and co-director Mike Birbiglia is a longtime favored TAL performer, is a testament to his multifaceted appeal. The movie doesn’t quite translate that appeal, just as it doesn’t translate the original bit’s conversational stage format to a narrative…

Sleepwalk with Me is playing now in (very) limited release; it should be expanding much wider through the fall. My review is at PopMatters.

You can see the trailer here:

Reader’s Corner: David Rakoff (1964-2012)

It’s been a bad few weeks — the literary world has been robbed of yet another glorious voice. David Rakoff, whose print and radio essays were some of the darkest yet most violently life-affirming things you will ever encounter, died on Thursday from the cancer that first appeared when he was just 22 years old.

His books (Half Empty, and particularly Don’t Get Too Comfortable) are rich with life and haunted with death, like most of the best writing is. He served on the airwaves of National Public Radio and on the shelves of smarter bookstores everywhere as a kind of grumpy conscience, the mordant cousin to David Sedaris (who championed his early writing).

In this fantastic segment from a live-recorded episode of This American Life from just this past May, Rakoff talks about his youth, dance, what he termed “all this nonsense”, and getting on with life after an operation severed the nerves that controlled his left arm.

“I’m done with so many things,” he says with the glint of sadness which always gave his humor that unique sting.