Five Favorite Films

Mike Birbiglia's Five Favorite Films

by | September 2, 2016 | Comments

Generated by IJG JPEG Library
Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Comedian/actor/writer/director Mike Birbiglia is a multifaceted artist with a resume full of contemporary classics like Your Sister’s Sister, Sleepwalk with Me, a couple seasons of Orange is the New Black, and the weekly radio show This American Life. This week, he struts his stuff in the Certified Fresh Don’t Think Twice, about an improv comedy troupe and the laughs and heartbreak that comes with such a life. He shared with us his five favorite movies and we got a bit of insight into his highly creative brain. Check out the list:

Big (1988) 97%

This film was my introduction to New York-based films and actually New York City at all. Once I saw this, I knew that I, too, would be destined for a penthouse Manhattan apartment with trampolines, pinball machines and bunk beds. The romance with Elizabeth Perkins is believable despite its high concept and just adorable and laugh-out-loud funny. It’s also heartbreaking, and makes me cry every time I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it 15 times. Actually, I cry quite a bit in general.

Moonstruck (1987) 93%

When I was a kid, I was allowed to watch Moonstruck despite my age because it was about Italians and it was important for the Birbiglias that I see Italian-American films. What sticks out for me is the smaller characters that highlight the larger themes. In the liquor store Cher‘s character visits, there’s a charming argument between a middle-aged couple. The wife says, “I see a wolf in you.” The husband responds, “You know what I see in you? The girl I married.” It’s those secondary characters that make that film really sing comedically — in addition, of course, to the hilarious and emotional Nic Cage and Cher.

When Harry Met Sally (1989) 90%

C’mon. Is every scene in this movie perfect? Yes. I could watch this movie over and over on a loop. Actually, I’m pretty sure they do that on cable. It plays quite a bit. Meg Ryan is nothing short of magical in this performance. And the time lapses are, for me, what make this film really work — because we truly believe that this oil-and-water couple will stay together and they ought to. I sure hope they do in the sequel: When Harry Stayed With Sally.

Metropolitan (1990) 91%

I saw this film in high school and I watch and re-watch it now like it’s an old friend. It’s about this very specific debutante culture in Manhattan, but because the protagonist is the outsider, we feel like it’s our movie, too. We’re the outsider who has a crush on the incredible, Molly Ringwald-esque Carolyn Farina.

Annie Hall (1977) 97%

I saw this film in college when I was first studying screenwriting and starting out as a comic. It has forever been imprinted in my DNA. It’s funny, it’s emotional, and it’s unafraid. I was so struck when I saw it that it found the beauty in a breakup as opposed to wallowing in it. It also traffics in an area so specific — a neurotic, Jewish comedian — but yet it feels so universal. Woody Allen does this in all of his films of that period: Hannah and Her Sisters, Manhattan, Crimes and Misdemeanors. But this one truly makes me laugh the most and get choked up in the same moment. It also has the line that my wife repeats to me all the time, which is the mother’s line to the child Alvy when he asks what they’ll do about the universe expanding: “WHAT, IS THAT YOUR BUSINESS?!”


Don’t Think Twice is now open in limited release.

Tag Cloud

children's TV 2019 unscripted Lifetime Christmas movies Ghostbusters Song of Ice and Fire Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt The Witch CBS All Access south america Fall TV Star Wars BBC Rock TCA 2017 TCA OneApp Apple TV Plus joker kids Writers Guild of America cults GLAAD cinemax sports Netflix Christmas movies Marvel police drama RT21 Disney Plus Vudu Photos IFC Films indie Comic Book ESPN DC Universe period drama comiccon ITV science fiction revenge Sneak Peek Country harry potter true crime Marvel Television zombie video Amazon Prime Pop Amazon WGN Musical romance Endgame jamie lee curtis dragons Thanksgiving Masterpiece YouTube Premium social media Netflix slashers Lifetime Apple TV+ Kids & Family nature anthology Quiz animated miniseries Tomatazos ghosts Hallmark Christmas movies name the review batman Hallmark Watching Series El Rey Trivia Ovation Countdown finale Mary poppins witnail ABC Family technology Comedy Central History based on movie NBC Marvel Studios quibi richard e. Grant Captain marvel Election See It Skip It USA Network First Reviews cancelled Disney streaming service Music IFC TV renewals MCU hispanic diversity 71st Emmy Awards TCM HBO Max Crunchyroll tv talk Winter TV WarnerMedia TBS YA Infographic Pet Sematary toy story blockbuster dceu Fantasy Acorn TV YouTube Red Pride Month Universal 45 TLC Reality Women's History Month transformers spanish language 24 frames Toys christmas movies San Diego Comic-Con Avengers FOX Biopics APB Action SDCC Martial Arts 2018 DirecTV Ellie Kemper talk show The CW TV Schedule Superheroes screenings CW Seed CBS Lionsgate cartoon reboot Spike Tumblr ratings Amazon Prime Video Bravo Cosplay historical drama Showtime DC Comics latino series Sundance Emmys zero dark thirty versus robots Disney golden globes Paramount Network GoT Creative Arts Emmys The Purge USA cancelled TV shows vampires American Society of Cinematographers Syfy FX Classic Film Musicals TruTV Awards Tour elevated horror Cannes 2020 YouTube Rom-Com sequel Certified Fresh Food Network spain 2016 breaking bad New York Comic Con Nickelodeon Spectrum Originals CNN facebook E3 Opinion MTV medical drama comic zombies Pirates First Look cops 2015 Nat Geo casting Logo 2017 Marathons natural history Holiday Sundance Now Columbia Pictures Holidays teaser Shudder canceled Year in Review Sundance TV Binge Guide VICE FXX Best and Worst movies Paramount dramedy Christmas A24 VH1 X-Men President crossover serial killer halloween RT History Stephen King Esquire Box Office sag awards directors political drama foreign Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Winners TV Land Sci-Fi Video Games Star Trek A&E 007 ABC Reality Competition justice league book Pixar Oscars green book psychological thriller Academy Awards SundanceTV Valentine's Day Lucasfilm Freeform free movies Brie Larson romantic comedy award winner politics crime drama MSNBC Film Festival Grammys E! space canceled TV shows dc Shondaland Nominations Premiere Dates theme song Baby Yoda Interview Super Bowl HBO streaming TNT Disney Channel Spring TV Elton John rotten movies we love Comics on TV Anna Paquin Adult Swim TCA Winter 2020 GIFs Disney+ Disney Plus stand-up comedy SXSW Animation crime thriller Calendar boxoffice hist Drama Starz NYCC The Walking Dead doctor who Comedy Cartoon Network Horror AMC Hulu anime war CMT discovery Family Set visit Tarantino BET Black Mirror Crackle what to watch Emmy Nominations Television Academy Sony Pictures disaster Warner Bros. sitcom DC streaming service cats 21st Century Fox mutant DGA Summer PaleyFest Peacock Mary Poppins Returns Rocky Red Carpet Film Character Guide Epix Extras werewolf National Geographic singing competition Awards crime Fox News Rocketman composers LGBTQ independent Turner Classic Movies Teen Podcast spider-man Superheroe Tubi supernatural binge festivals travel Heroines Mystery Dark Horse Comics Apple strong female leads OWN Britbox psycho cars docudrama cancelled television spinoff LGBT game show blaxploitation The Arrangement Walt Disney Pictures Arrowverse Chernobyl television spy thriller 20th Century Fox adaptation adventure BBC America biography Western Mindy Kaling renewed TV shows Turner mockumentary Mudbound Trophy Talk thriller comics aliens Mary Tyler Moore screen actors guild game of thrones cancelled TV series cooking PBS Trailer TIFF Discovery Channel Polls and Games