7.0/10
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49 user 25 critic

True Stories (1986)

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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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

A Completely Cool, Multi-Purpose Movie. See more »

Genres:

Musical | Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

10 October 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alithines istories  »

Box Office

Gross:

$2,545,142 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

British band Radiohead took their name from the song "Radio Head" featured in this film. See more »

Goofs

The amount of asparagus changes repeatedly during the dinner party. See more »

Quotes

Earl Culver: Mainframe. Microprocessor. Semiconductor!
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Crazy Credits

1. Two columns of rolling credits run at different speeds. Left faster than right, then right faster than left. See more »

Connections

Features Aluminum on the March (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

Freeway Son
Written, Produced and Performed by David Byrne
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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.


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