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True Stories [1986] [VHS]

David Byrne|John Goodman|Annie McEnroe|Jo Harvey Allen    Parental Guidance   VHS Tape
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: David Byrne|John Goodman|Annie McEnroe|Jo Harvey Allen
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Warner
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CK7U
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 148,679 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Mr. D. Woods VINE VOICE
Format:VHS Tape
The creative genius that can only be described as David Byrne has yet again spawned a work of exemplary alternative art. Byrne's off-the-wall portrayal of small town America is a deliciously bizarre and exaggerated account, one in fact that has his label stamped all over it. Heads fans will simply lap this up; the film's peculiar brand of humour and insight representative of their musical works that we are all so familiar with. Newcomers to the world of Mr. Byrne and his associates may find 'True Stories' slightly meandering but the film's wit and three Talking Heads songs, including 'Wild Wild Life', are more than adequate compensation. A sterling cast includes John Goodman and David Byrne himself.
The heat goes on, people...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky, Strange and Charming 26 Feb 2010
By Greywolf TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
David Byrne is best known as the front man and main creative force behind 80s band Talking Heads. His subsequent solo career has shown him to be one of our most astute and intelligent commentators on modern America in particular and modern life in general. This film reflects many of his obsessions and interests with the everyday strangeness of American life and those who live it, as well as featuring several outstanding and often bizarre versions of Talking Heads songs. While the rest of the band appear as, well, the band, Byrne himself takes the role of guide and narrator as he leads us into the sad, creepy, optimistic, gaudy, happy, peculiar, daily lives of the inhabitants of a small town in Texas. Byrne, as he often does, comes across as being set at a remove from his subjects, like an anthropologist enjoying the company of gorillas whilst being slightly wary of them and unsure of the rules by which their social interactions work. We then see the other characters in the film partly through Byrne's distorting lens, focusing unerringly on the oddity at the heart of their ordinariness. It is to Byrne's credit that he does this with clear and obvious affection for his subjects. He somehow manages to be satirical without being at all snide. The result is frequently funny, sometimes touching, always intriguing and really quite revealing.
Clearly it's not for everyone. Some will find it too weird, others perhaps not weird enough. However, if you liked Talking Heads or if you like Byrne's subsequent solo work, there's a fair chance you'll get what this movie sets out to do, which is much that same as what Byrne's music tries to do, that is to hold up a mirror to modern America in which we may see ourselves more clearly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Americana 22 Mar 2014
True Stores (1986) is one of the quirkiest and most original movies of the 1980s. That is not altogether surprising, since the Talking Heads were perhaps the most authentic and original rock band since Velvet Underground. Their concert film Stop Making Sense (1984, dir. Jonathan Demme) is justifiably considered to be the most perfectly filmed musical performance to date. That film, like the Talking Heads themselves, was birthed from the New York New Wave underground scene, with true-blue eccentric David Byrne as the front man, driving force, and genius of the group. The remaining members of the band supplied a down-to-earth quality which prevented Byrne from totally succumbing to art-school loftiness. Further proof lies in the Heads’ True Stories (1986), and more pointedly in the fact that post-Heads Byrne, while still compelling and clever, has been decidedly uneven in his work, and unable to retain that sorely missed folksiness he had with the band.

Byrne writes, directs, narrates and stars in True Stories and it is his congenial presence which edifies all the quaint idiosyncrasies inherent in American mythology. Byrne sheds his oversized dinner suit for a black cowboy hat, hops in a red convertible, and escorts us to the fictional Virgil, Texas just in time to celebrate its 150th anniversary. Not surprisingly, what follows is hardly a linear narrative. Rather, it is an anecdotal slice of postmodern myth informed by banality, fashion, and consumerism with Byrne as our gnostic Thorton Wilder guide. Although Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens, True Stores never descends into all-too-easy cynicism. For the free spirited, Virgil is as easy to take as chocolate covered Talking Heads. Some, including the late Roger Ebert, claimed True Stories is not a musical. I disagree.
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