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True Stories (1986)

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Reviews: 49 user | 19 critic

A small but growing Texas town, filled with strange and musical characters, celebrates its sesquicentennial and converge on a local parade and talent show.

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Title: True Stories (1986)

True Stories (1986) on IMDb 7/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Narrator / Lip-Syncher / Talking Heads singer
...
...
Kay Culver
...
The Lying Woman
...
Earl Culver
...
The Cute Woman
Roebuck 'Pops' Staples ...
Mr. Tucker
Tito Larriva ...
Ramon (as Humberto 'Tito' Larriva)
...
The Preacher
Matthew Posey ...
The Computer Guy
...
Miss Rollings
Freeman Beatty ...
Lip-Syncher
Evelyn Box ...
Hey Now Kid
Kevin Box ...
Hey Now Kid
Amy Buffington ...
Linda Culver
Edit

Storyline

David Byrne of Talking Heads fame visits a typical (and fictional) Texas town, on the eve of the town's celebration of the state's sesquicentennial. He meets various colorful local characters, most notably Lewis Fyne, a big-hearted bachelor in search of matrimony. Written by Tim Horrigan <horrigan@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

"It's a completely cool, multi-purpose movie." See more »

Genres:

Musical | Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 October 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alithines istories  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$2,545,142 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

'David Byrne''s band Talking Heads was unable to perform at Live Aid due to Byrne's commitment to this film. See more »

Goofs

As the narrator is walking through the mall, we see Waldenbooks more than once. See more »

Quotes

Earl Culver: Welcome to our talent show under the stars.
Earl Culver: Before we begin, I want to just tell you a
Earl Culver: little story that I heard about Texas recently
Earl Culver: in a local tavern. It seems though God was
Earl Culver: working around the earth here, trying to make
Earl Culver: it beautiful just like the rest of the world.
Earl Culver: He had to knock off because it was nighttime.
Earl Culver: And he said, "I'll come back tomorrow and make
Earl Culver: it just as pretty as the rest of the world,
Earl Culver: with lakes and streams and mountains and
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

2. Displayed at very end of credits, below the disclaimer: "IF YOU CAN THINK OF IT, IT EXISTS SOMEWHERE" See more »

Connections

Spoofs Purple Rain (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Glass Operator
Written, Produced and Performed by David Byrne
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An Intriguing 80s Artifact
15 September 2003 | by (Chapel Hill, NC, USA) – See all my reviews

At this late date, TRUE STORIES – the lone feature film directed by renaissance man/rock-n-roll artiste/ex-Rhode Island School of Design student David Byrne - is viewed (if remembered as all) as a cerebral artifact from the 80s. TRUE STORIES is a far from flawless film, and its' influence is highly debatable. But the 90s saw an explosion of films wrapped in an aura of aloof, ironic cool – bits of very low-key postmodernist voyeuristic glimpses into the day-to-day lives of 'ordinary people' – either lauded or ridiculed for their 'authenticity.'

Simultaneously, a number of feature films were also exploring the limits of a dubious sub-style known as faux-documentary. And – great or not – this fascinating film reworked the possibilities of both long before most of the competition. In essence, this is a very detached take on the musical – set in fictional Virgil, Texas – a small-but-growing prairie boomtown notable for its antiseptic normality. Each of the principal characters are based upon people Byrne (who co-wrote the screenplay) had read about in tabloid newspapers – hence the man so lonely he buys commercial time to advertise himself on TV (John Goodman), the laziest woman in the world (Swoozie Kurtz), the world's worst pathological liar (Jo Harvey Allen), and spectacles like the mall fashion show, where we get to see (among other treats) a 3-piece suit made entirely out of lawn clippings (What?!?! No macramé, velvet paintings, tractor pulls or decoupage?). Byrne – who appears as a travel guide/narrator - gently escorts the audience through this offbeat parade, as the varied denizens of Virgil do what they do, occasionally pausing to sing one of the numerous songs (genre exercises well-matched to the characters - watch for a great 'Papa Legba' performed by the late Pops Staples) written by Byrne for the film. At worst, TRUE STORIES could be viewed as the enthusiastic and genuinely inspired work of an ambitious, intellectual urbanite who really, really ought to get out more – and Byrne should be credited for not indulging in the sneering, aloof insularity that has occasionally infected more recent films of this variety.

But at best it comes across as a genuine attempt at presenting a unique variety of homegrown, Americana-style surrealism – something that might possibly qualify as a specific strand of folk art and culture that would be a rural counterpart to what folks like Keith Haring, Laurie Anderson, Barbara Krueger, Spalding Grey – and Byrne – were doing in the insular world of Manhattan in the 1980s. TRUE STORIES looks amazing – thanks to the sparse cinematography, and Spalding Grey, John Goodman (as Byrne's comic foil) and Pops Staples are all great. A genuinely seminal, if flawed film.


10 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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