"Sleeping with Siri" debuted today at the Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBIFF). "Sleeping with Siri" is for all intents and purposes the brainchild of Seattle based author Michael Stusser. Stusser looks risibly similar to Food Network personality Andrew Zimmern (except with a full head of hair), and he possesses the comedic talent that Jerry Seinfeld embodied during his heyday. Inspired by a recent phenomenon that has swept through the teenage world, Stusser performed an experiment on camera that became an instant success from the second filming began. Known aptly as the "digital blackout campaign", teenagers across the United States take a vow to remove all technology from their lives unless said digital communication is thrust upon them externally. Five years ago such a concept would have seemed laughably simple. Circa 2013, rejecting technology seems almost primitive and nonsensical. In "Sleeping with Siri", the perils of the overuse and the underutilization of digital technologies is put to the test via Michael Stusser, a.k.a. the one man comedy megamind.
In the interest of not spoiling a perfectly hysterical film short by writing a lengthy review, let's at least set the table for what is surely a great juxtaposition of premises. In scenario A, Stusser focused on utilizing Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Siri, e-mail, Youtube, and the list is ongoing. For one week, Stusser utilized every method of digital communication to interact with a vast worldwide audience as many times a day as possible. One week later he had to go cold turkey and break his Twitterverse (etc, etc, etc.) addiction. For one week following (and after having canvassed the effects of submerging himself in the digital world wholly and utterly), Stusser began using maps, home telephones, the phone book, pay phones, and many other "old-fashioned" methods for securing information. At one point he broke down and began writing a by-God letter, on paper, with a pen! Maybe we should all try to join the digital blackout movement for 24 hours. I suspect most people would be fired, dumped, alienated, depressed, and blindsided by the following day. Even worse, most of us would feel like outcasts for lack of the constant oscillation of modern media communications.
"Sleeping with Siri" is not only the best film short we here at ScreenSpotlight have ever viewed, it is also one of the best movies on the market today. Written approbation hardly seems to do Stusser's talent the justice it deserves. If it just so happens that Stusser's show is on the road at a local film festival near you, take advantage of the opportunity to watch his film short. While the actual running time (approximately 29 minutes) may seem woefully small, the conversations that will undoubtedly follow will last for longer than a week. Maybe, just maybe, younger viewers will learn something about living without a cellphone glued to their hands. In any event, we fully endorse Stusser's work and hope that he will branch out to even more controversial and interesting subjects. Mazel Tov on one heck of an hilarious short.