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Film / Sleepwalk With Me

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This American Life episode "Fear of Sleep," featuring a story from Mike Birbiglia, spawned this feature film written and directed by Mike Birbiglia and Ira Glass.

IMDB summary: A burgeoning stand-up comedian struggles with the stress of a stalled career, a stale relationship, and the wild spurts of severe sleepwalking he is desperate to ignore.

Sleepwalk With Me provides examples of:

  • All Women Are Lustful: Matt lampshades how he & Amy's first time was like the an 80s teen drama, except with her in the pushy guy role and him as Molly Ringwald.
    • Also the girl who works at Hooters, as Matt finds out.
  • Author Avatar: Despite the name change, the main character is clearly Mike Birbiglia.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Matt's uneasiness about marriage provides the material for his first good joke (although it doesn't bode well for his relationship with his girlfriend).
    "I don't want to get married until I'm absolutely certain nothing else good can happen in my life."
  • Cursed With Awesome: Sleepwalking and a shaky relationship with his girlfriend are clearly bad things for Matt, but they become the material that fuels the success of his standup career. At first it's funny, but by the end of the film, it's clear that the sleepwalking is indeed a curse.
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  • Driver Faces Passenger: Mike Birbiglia narrates most of the movie to the camera (which seems to be pointed at him from the passenger side corner of the windshield) while he drives around. He rarely looks at the road.
  • "No Talking or Phones" Warning: begins with one of his older stand-up routines, asking people to turn them off then relating the story of someone answering their phone in a theater next to him with, "Who dis?"
    "Not only was he willing to talk to someone on the phone, he was willing to talk to anyone on the phone."
  • Muse Abuse: In-story, Matt bases his successful stand-up routine on saying things about his girlfriend and their impending marriage that he would certainly not want her to hear. Questionable in real life, since it's mentioned that he's at least discussed the things in the movie with the real life Amy, who we can only assume was okay with it.
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  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Played with. The narrator breaks into the story to remind you that "you're on my side", then candidly admits to cheating on his girlfriend in a way that makes it clear he isn't proud of it.
  • Sleepwalking: Of course. Portrayed realistically, since Mike Birbiglia has this problem in real life.


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