Friday, December 28, 2012

To Zig or to Zag

My inner film geek kicked up her heels at the FB news.

The new Criterion Cinemas at Movieland was opening tonight and why would I not want to be there? A theater complex devoted to art and independent film? Yes, please.

And I'm sorry, Westhampton, but I need more options. Forgive me my infidelity.

Once I heard they were open, it was time to decide which film to go see. Interestingly enough, I'd already seen one of the four offerings, "The Comedy" by local Rick Alverson.

That left me with a social documentary, a Danish historical drama and a film by a comedian I'd once seen in Short Pump, here. Mike Birbiglia's "Sleepwalk with Me" won out.

Arriving at the new theater located in Movieland's parking lot, I found a familiar face behind the box office. She'd been as surprised as I'd been to learn that the new arthouse was opening tonight.

"I got a call saying I needed a white shirt so I went straight to the boys' department at Walmart and got one," she grinned. "I'm a boys' size 18."

Walking into the 70-seat theater, I was overcome with the "new car smell" it exuded. That and the pleasure of being the first person in there. Settling into the rocking stadium seats in the center of the theater, I felt like I'd died and gone to movie geek heaven. Only four other people joined us, but I've no doubt that the word of their opening just isn't on the streets yet.

The sweet movie told the story of a budding comedian, his inability to commit to his terrific girlfriend of eight years and the sleep condition he had that caused him to act out his dreams in the real world instead of just in his head.

You know, the old "man-child can't get his act together" story. Where 30-something men still think things like, "Love is a mountain of pizza-flavored ice cream. And delusion."

But Birbiglia is an endearing type (despite having to remind us at one point that we were rooting for him), so you end up caring about his dilemma as he starts getting comedy gigs that take him on the road while not being quite able to be straight with his girlfriend about how he feels about their relationship.

I got a double blast from the past seeing Carol Kane as his mother (Simka, anyone?) and Loudon Wainright as a musical uncle. His parents, married for 40 years and constantly yelling at each other, provided little motivation for the comedian to want to get his relationship on.

Or as he said in narration, "In the future, marriage will be the new divorce." Hard to imagine, isn't it?

The film was fascinating for its depiction of REM sleep behavior disorder, a condition where repressed feelings cause anxieties to manifest themselves in unsafe nighttime behaviors. Like jumping through a hotel window.

His father, impatient with his son's arrested development, tries to give him advice about commitment, saying, "At a certain point, you gotta zig or zag."

And as we all know, when it comes to relationships, ain't it the truth? Because love is so much more than a bowl of pizza-flavored ice cream.

It's delusion, pure and simple.

And god knows, it makes for great comedy.


  1. I went to check it out yesterday, but I still went to see, Django

  2. Let's do a movie there together soon,

  3. I can't wait to go there!

  4. SO cool! And movies we weren't getting before. Girls' night out possibility?