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True Stories


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True Stories + Stop Making Sense + Talking Heads: Chronology Deluxe
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Musically comic look at \true life" in a Texas town"

Amazon.com

Truly quirky, this mock documentary is part musical, part farce, and completely, oddly innocent. This is a one-man-band job for David Byrne (lead singer of the Talking Heads), who writes, stars, and directs, It's ostensibly about the sesquicentennial celebration of a small Texas town, but it's really about strange characters and strange attitudes. Byrne is our guide, driving us around and giving tour information about Texas in an innocuous patter, frequently running into Louis Fyne (John Goodman), a lonely man looking for love. At various times, and with little provocation, the film swoons into a Talking Heads number with preachers and bar patrons belting out tunes. If you make room for it, however, True Stories can surprise and delight with its inventiveness and its unconventional treatment of the residents. A scene in which a construction worker launches into an aria, on a makeshift stage when no one else is around, is but one example of numerous such moments in this bizarre, delightful, and benign film. Any Talking Heads fan who doesn't own it should. --Keith Simanton

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: David Byrne, John Goodman, Swoosie Kurtz, Annie McEnroe, Spalding Gray
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 30, 1999
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305308845
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,814 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "True Stories" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

163 of 178 people found the following review helpful By Andrew on April 24, 2004
Format: DVD
THIS REVIEW IS IN NO WAY a review of the movie, which is unique and fairly unmatched, and has set some artistic standards.
Excuse me, but wasn't the brilliance of this movie at least worth.. well... a WIDESCREEN inclusion?
Come on.
Formatted to fit-your-tv only.
No extra features, no insights, no commentary, and TWO - get this - TWO menu selections - either to select a scene, or simply play the movie.
Warner Brothers went family-style cheap on this disc and it is a travesty to assume people with a DVD player just want a VHS-level rendition of an art film.
Don't buy this - wait until a version comes out that shows evidence someone has given this incredible movie some respect.
BLAH. Disappointing.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By ewomack TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 22, 2004
Format: DVD
What is this strange movie about? Shopping malls, easily (and shabbily) constructed suburban building projects, computer dating, lonliness and the pursuit of attention, mass media, metal buildings, computers, evangelist preachers, the disappearance of culture into the principles of the ledger sheet and the skyscraper. These and other topics pervade "True Stories'" disparate plot lines and imagery. David Byrne took on the entire emerging power establishment of the late 1980s in this film. Today the film views like a warning, like a bleak testament to the disappearance of a previous way of life. Most of us live in the culmination of what this film seemed to prophesize. "True Stories" is cultural criticism embedded in campy film.

Byrne had played with the theme of mainstream alienation before. "Don't Worry About the Government" (from "Talking Heads '77"), "The Big Country" (from "More Songs About Buildings and Food"), and "The Road to Nowhere" (from "Little Creatures") provide just three examples. These songs attempt to elevate peoples' perceptions about their immediate culture. So does "True Stores".

Not everyone will enjoy this movie. Sometimes the pace moves along like molasses. Some of it feels very dated. It has an intentionally stilted perspective as it plays with common expectations and perceptions. Some of the humor is corny. In short, it's an experimental movie. That said, it also contains moments of absolute brilliance, penetrates some then unknown depths of humor, and has the ability to open eyes to the bizarre aspects of the culture of 1986 that we have all inherited. It also invites comparisons (in theme) to Luis Buñuel's "The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie". That and the cinematography of the vast Texas landscape is stunning.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 28, 1999
Format: DVD
Ignore Leonard Maltin's review above - this is no "satire". Far from winking superiority and cruel condecension, David Byrne deeply loves these characters for their absolutely unique art-form: gentle, American, small-town eccentricity. He stars in this film for the simple reason that he wants to introduce his beloved eccentrics to you personally. Byrne's stated artistic objective, to "elevate the mundane", here succeeds thoroughly: he grants even the film's most pathetic characters a grace and poignancy that no other modern filmmaker could match (though David Lynch's "Straight Story" shows promise). This movie is a treasure.
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Format: DVD
I have always loved True Stories, but it's not for everyone. This is one ingenious but quirky movie that plays on multiple levels all at the same time. The box cover describes True Stories as "a completely cool, multi-purpose movie," and that's about as good a description as there can be for a film almost impossible to describe. The film takes the form of a documentary of the sesquicentennial celebration in Virgil, Texas, with Talking Heads front man David Byrne cruising into town in his red convertible to narrate the events. Byrne is, in my opinion, an underappreciated genius, and what he managed to do here was to capture a wonderful slice of Americana. Virgil isn't a small town, but it has a small town feel, surrounded by flat land as far as the eye can see - land destined to be developed in the coming years. The townspeople are the true stars of the film, though; most of them are not even given names, and I think this is because they are not so much individuals as representatives of everyday men and women. You have, for example, the Laziest Woman on Earth (Swoosie Kurtz), who has not gotten out of bed for years and years, the Cute Woman, and the Lying Woman (Jo Harvey Allen) - who continually steals the show with some of the most outrageous comments you've ever heard. The silent masses are just regular people going about their regular lives, most of them the opposite of glamorous, just the kind of folks you probably see in your own local shopping malls. The only difference is that here, thanks to David Byrne, you notice these people - and I think that is very important. When these people get up and lip synch to a song like Wild Wild Life, it doesn't matter how weird they are - they are just having fun being themselves.Read more ›
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Alan R. Holyoak on June 20, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
David Byrne, lead singer of the Talking Heads, takes us on a tour of the life and times of Virgil, TX, as it prepares to put on a "Celebration of Specialness" as its contribution to the sesquicentennial celebration of the state of Texas.
The video takes a bit of getting used to, but once you are in tune with what is going on you will see that there is great humor embedded in this pseudo-documentary. During the first part of the movie we meet main players. John Goodman plays a man hungry for a stable (or any) lasting relationship. He even advertises! You also meet "The Lying Woman" who tells a better and more unbelievable tale than anyone. There's a woman who hasn't gotten out of bed in years, it's not because she's ill, she's rich enough that she doesn't have to. There's the head of a local computer company and his wife who haven't had a direct conversation with each other for years, a mall full of twins, and a man who can tell a person's emotional state by touching their nose! An incredible, but extremely fun mix of Americana, music, and disjointed deadpan quips from Byrne as he plays the lead and narrator of the story.
You will thrill at the majesty of a fashion show at the mall, experience kareoke at a local bar, and be a mouse in the corner at a computer board assembly line.
Make any sense at all? Well, it will if you give this video a look. This is definitely a comedy, but you have to be ready for it. This is comedy tailor made for people with a dry sense of humor.
This is not a video for people who need a laugh track, or overtly funny bits to see humor to enjoy a comedy.
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