7.0/10
3,755
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.

Director:

Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Îlé Aiyé (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Director: David Byrne
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Directors: David Byrne, David Wild
Stars: Bobby Allende, Jonathan Best, David Byrne
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

An innovative concert movie for the rock group The Talking Heads.

Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: David Byrne, Bernie Worrell, Alex Weir
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Spalding Gray discusses his participation in the film The Killing Fields (1984) and the background story about the troubles of Cambodia.

Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Spalding Gray, Sam Waterston, Ira Wheeler
Edit

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:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 October 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alithines istories  »

Box Office

Gross:

$2,545,142 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In the mall tabloid-reading scene, on the rack there is a Money Magazine whose cover identifies it as the October 1985 issue. See more »

Goofs

Disappearing reappearing rearview mirror in the red convertible. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: Look at this. Who can say it isn't beautiful? Sky, bricks. Who do you think lives there? Four-car garage. Hope, fear, excitement, satisfaction.
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

Features Aluminum on the March (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Theme From True Stories
Written, Produced and Performed by David Byrne
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A David Byrne film
17 July 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'm wary of Talking Heads or David Byrne fans that hated 'True Stories.' This film has David Byrne written all over it, and is possibly the ultimate expression of his sensibility.

Byrne was always a most unusual rock star. The only other musical figure in my mind that comes close is Laurie Anderson, and they were both part of the same scene. Byrne's personality is most intriguing and ambiguous; strange, yet unaffected, nerd-ish, but not nerdy, fascinating, but not theatrical. An outrageous introvert, Byrne is like the odd little boy who instead of playing with the other kids, spends his time tinkering and tooling with his parents' electronics -- except, Byrne is a cultural tinkerer, looking at things from a perspective so delicately skewed that a casual glance might reveal nothing at all out of the ordinary. In this manner, "True Stories" is like a David Lynch film in its depiction of small town weirdness, but where Lynch sees a sinister underbelly to the banal, Byrne remains sunnily ambivalent.

The cinematography here is done by Ed Lachman, who has worked with directors such as Paul Schrader, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, and Steven Soderbergh. It echoes David Byrne's own photography in the way it flatly looks at objects and places head-on, revealing irony by being unironic. A lot of critics have accused Byrne -- from his hipster Lower Manhattan pulpit, I guess -- of contempt for small-town America, but is that really evident here? I don't sense that Byrne is ridiculing any of these characters so much as simply regarding them, perhaps even with some degree of affection.

The look and feel of the movie reminds me of Jim Jarmusch's films a bit, but there aren't really any "stories" told here so much as light vignettes. Upon viewing the film for the first time, one might be underwhelmed, but this is the sort of movie that sneaks up on you upon repeated viewings. There's a lot to treasure here. David Byrne stars in the film as the "narrator," a sort of tour guide that Steven H. Scheuer described as a "new age Mr. Rogers" (doesn't Byrne kind of remind you of Mr. Rogers? I mean, what can be said for a rock star that reminds you of Mr. Rogers and makes completely funky music?), showing the viewer around the fictional town of Virgil, Texas. We meet Virgil's various oddball inhabitants. John Goodman is the world's most eligible bachelor, so desperate for matrimony that he places a "Wife Wanted" sign on his front lawn (in the shape of an arrow, with blinking lights) and appears on television in a commercial advertisement, boasting a 1-800 number for interested bachelorettes. Swoozie Kurtz is the world's laziest woman, who hasn't left her bed in about a decade, which is the same length of time for which Earl Culver (Spalding Gray), founder of Virgil-based corporation VeriCorp, has not spoken with his wife, with whom he is happily married. And then there's Mr. Tucker, the town's voodoo priest and part-time caretaker of the world's laziest woman, played by 'Pops' Staples who is a sweet, gentle angel here, and whose "Papa Legba" furnishes the movie with its best musical number. We even get to attend church, where the pastor's sermon is like a compilation of conspiracy theories, questioning the link between Bobby Ray Inman, toilet paper and Elvis, leading into the song "Puzzlin' Evidence."

"True Stories" looks at small town America in a fashion similar to the way Tim Burton looks at suburban USA. With Talking Heads songs as well as original music by Meredith Monk, Kronos Quartet, and others, there's a magical quality that stirs beneath the surface. In possibly the film's best scene, ending in what looks like the most bizarre parody of The Last Supper I've ever seen, Spalding Gray gives an impromptu lecture over dinner about the future of Virgil, exploiting the entrées for metaphors while the dinner china quite literally comes to life to illustrate his points. In his customarily child-like deadpan, Byrne interjects, "Excuse me, Mr. Culver, I've forgotten what these peppers represent."

This film made me think of those historical museums you find in most small towns in America, whose employees are almost always lifelong residents of said small town, speaking with pride and conviction about the importance of their city. These are places for which Byrne clearly has an affinity, and also community centers, shopping malls, taverns, churches, and talent shows.

These places are absurd, yes, but also as wondrous as any theme park.


56 of 57 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?