Stop Making Sense (1984) Poster

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10/10
A Masterpiece
phmurphy10 June 2005
This concert/movie is simply a brilliant collaboration of music and film. First off, you have the Talking Heads, perhaps one of the most creative and interesting bands in the history of music who put on a concert that is so imaginative that I still cannot believe it happened. Second, you have veteran Director Johnathan Demme who brings the darkness and creepiness that he used in such films as Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia, to a concert with sort of a dark and creepy demeanor, i.e. David Byrne in general, the style of music, the dancing. I mean dark and creepy in a good way however. I cannot help to think that this movie is also a comedy. David Byrne's movements, the bass players dancing, the songs and just everything i get a kick out of. I have always been a big fan of the Talking Heads, but after seeing this movie, my love for them skyrockets. They are a unbelievable band with an imagination that rivals that of the likes of Shel Silverstein and the Cohen Brothers. I could literally go on and on about how brilliant this movie is. I think the next time i watch it, i may actually get up and dance. I only wish that I could have been at the actual show. I also cannot figure out what I like better, The Last Waltz or this. Shame on anybody who badmouths this movie or the band in general. See this and then see it again and again and again. 10/10
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Great film making as well as great music
SDN-28 December 2001
After getting my DVD player, this is one of the first discs I bought. I first saw this movie in the eighties as a fan of the music and was completely floored by a band at their peak. Since then, I've grown to appreciate good cinema as much as music, and I now look at Stop Making Sense from a slightly different perspective.

The movie stands up by any measure of cinematic quality - the direction, the photography, the lighting, the set design, the editing, the performances of the 'actors'. Everything is unquestionably good. A couple of illustrations -

During 'Once in a Lifetime', the camera holds on David Byrne, framing him from the waist up, and doesn't leave him until the very last moments of the song. His performance is absolutely enthralling. I've been trying to think of a movie where an actor holds one shot for so long, and I can't.

The photography and lighting during 'What a Day That Was' are beautiful. The stark white up-lighting reduces a large auditorium and stage to a claustrophobic collage of shadows. The effect is not unlike some scenes in Charles Laughton's 'Night of the Hunter'.

In contrast to some other views posted here, I think the Tom Tom Club's appearance adds a colourful punctuation to the flow of the movie.

The DVD is one of the very few I've come across where the commentary is worth listening to. It switches between all four band members plus Jonathan Demme, and the anecdotes are constantly interesting and often very funny. As a package, this is one of the most satisfying DVD's I own. All the extras are worthwhile and well presented, unlike most 'Special Editions' which are crammed full of junk you wouldn't normally give a second look.

It's a pity that, by its nature, Stop Making Sense will only ever appeal to a small audience, because it deserves to be revered by fans of cinema as well as music. The rock movie genre has only a handful of classics to its name, but Stop Making Sense is its Citizen Kane, its Exorcist, its Godfather, its Star Wars. It really is that good.
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10/10
Pure cinema
MichaelCarmichaelsCar4 August 2004
'Stop Making Sense' is more than simply a concert film. It is pure cinema. It engages all of the senses, it creates a mood, it establishes an atmosphere, it has narrative logic, and it jolts the viewer with electric energy. You can't sit still while watching this. You can't keep your head from bobbing, or your mouth from moving, if you know the words to the songs.

Twenty years later, the sound and image of Talking Heads still feels new, maybe even post-new. It's frightening to look at this film and then consider that all of the Talking Heads are now in their fifties, and David Byrne's hair is as white as Steve Martin's. Byrne's music has mellowed just as people mellow with age, and his fascinating career along with the direction it's taken is emblematic of the excitement that youth brings to an artist's work. To watch 'Stop Making Sense' is to be alive, and for someone who never had and probably never will have the opportunity to see Talking Heads live, and even for those who have, it is a blessing to have a film such as this to preserve the unmatched innovation and energy of this band. Watching David Byrne perform in this film is an awesome sight. Schwarzenegger and Stallone were never this thrilling.
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10/10
Incredible film
nolesce28 September 2006
I saw this movie when it was released. In our town (Sarasota, Florida then) it was a midnight movie in the theater next to 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'. I played in a band at the time and was a fan of the Talking Heads so I was stoked to see the film. A band-mate and I went opening night and were blown away. People were dancing in the aisles by about the third song. We went back the next night and several nights there after with our girlfriends and others and had a blast. Our friends weren't particularly fans of the talking heads but they loved the movie. Most of us though the first time through just watched in awe. and when you left after just watching it and absorbing it you were speechless (ar at best unintelligible) for about 20 minutes after. It truly was that kind of film. As said elsewhere after seeing it you wonder why no other concert films have even attempted to emulate "Stop Making Sense". I suppose they figured they would just look lame or they just didn't get it.(or maybe some of both). If you don't want to buy it at least rent it (then you WILL want to buy it). This is the concert film all the others want to be when they grow up.
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10/10
The Benchmark of All Concert Films
paulefortini9 March 2007
It's a good thing that the Talking Heads broke up when they did. I mean, could you imagine them slogging it out today, playing the state fair circuit, or worse, the street fair circuit? No, watch this film. See a band at its creative and energetic peak. Remember them as they were over the two or three days in which it was filmed. Of course, you must watch David Byrne. He would make his entire body a performance art. He would contort, jog, dance, leap, and even make his clothes a prop.

But, watch Tina Weymouth...

Tina is a very visual performer too. She says almost nothing, letting her bass guitar speak for her. And while David goes over the top often, Tina is subtle and sublime. With her body moves as she dances in place. With her facial expressions, her smiles, occasional raised eyebrows, and glances. Then when the action shifts to the Tom Tom Club (in order to give David a break and allow him to change into his big suit), her big moment is for one song only--"Genius of Love" but man does she seize the moment and make it all her own! Rounding out the Talking Heads of course are drummer Chris Frantz (Tina Weymouth's husband for over 30 years now) and guitarist/keyboardist Jerry Harrison. When Chris takes the stage, he bounds up onto the riser, bows, and with a big smile, gets drumming. He is clearly enjoying himself during this and at the end of the show, he jubilantly throws his sticks into the audience. Jerry is a little harder to get a bead on. At times he's clearly enjoying himself, particularly on BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE. Other times he seems a little detached.

Rounding out the touring band are Alex Weir on lead guitar, Bernie Worrel on keyboards, Edna Holt and Lynn Marbry on back-up vocals, and Steve Scales on percussion. None are treated as sidemen, rather as an integral part of the show.

It has been commented that some "sweetening" of the sound was done. But I believe that it was to achieve sound consistency. I have heard several concert films with terrible audio (RUST NEVER SLEEPS comes to mind). Seeing this movie is what made me a Talking Heads fan back in 1985. Finding a copy at the used book store in 2006 is what helped me re-discover them.

It would be easy to dismiss the Talking Heads as all visual as all David Byrne. Such is not the case. The songwriting and musicianship was solid throughout the band's career. The band remained together for several more years, scoring several additional hits including AND SHE WAS, LADY DON'T MIND, & WILD WILD LIFE. They called it quits as a band in 1991, although all four members have remained active in music.
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The best, the weirdest, what else?
davidbyrne7716 January 2004
I bought this film without ever having seen it. I liked the Talking Heads and had heard about the movie. Suffice it to say that I was amazed! The genious of starting with just a bare stage with David Byrne singing his sublime live version of Psycho Killer, then adding equiptment and band members was so weird, so brilliant. The energy and stamina shown by Mr. Byrne in this film borders on creepy. Was there a mountain of coke backstage, or is he a marathon runner? Not for me to know. How he was able to bend that far backwards during Once In A Lifetime I'll never know! All in all a real concert experience, combining the brilliance and showmanship of the Talking Heads with a master director like Jonathan Demme. It's no wonder that their compilation, Sand In The Vaseline, includes two live tracks seen on the film.
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I'll Tell You Later
tedg14 March 2001
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

Take this not as music that became a concert that became a film. Take it instead as what it is, a film.

As a film, it is completely without narrative, except by schematic reference to the viewers' real world. It has no trick narrative stance: the viewers are in the audience. It has no flashy angles or editing. This is both minimalist filmmaking and minimalist rock all based on the notion of urban ecstasy.

As with all great films, this one comes as a strange, focused vision from a single imagination. In this case, Byrnes had been studying religious ecstasy for a decade, and developed a geek shamanism of angst. Cast as Sufic poetry. (See how dead everything gets when the Tom Tom Club does its single number?) Its not the music, but the performance. Its not the performance but that shrill locus of spasm in your spine, its not your spine, oh -- I'll tell you later.

As a film, just a film, I think this rates as one of the most successful experimental films ever.
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9/10
Perhaps The Greatest Concert-Film Ever Produced
Det_McNulty7 October 2007
Before I saw Stop Making Sense I had never been particularly concerned with The Talking Heads, or lead-singer and solo-artist David Byrne. Indeed, I had always been a fan of certain songs, such as "Burning Down the House" and "Psycho Killer", but I had never actually spent time becoming acquainted with the band's music on the whole. However, Stop Making Sense was something I was desperate to view, due to the substantial amount of praise that had been garnered over the years since its release. Now it is safe to say that The Talking Heads rank among my favourite bands, thanks to this masterpiece of musical art.

Essentially, Stop Making Sense is a showcase of the band's collected works. Throughout the 90-minute running-time the concert simultaneously covers the back-catalogue of The Talking Heads, through fluid, non-stop vibrancy. From "Found a Job" and "Take Me to the River" the work is merely a sample of the group's ability to provide some of the most engaging live shows ever recorded. To say that the film is "original" would be an understatement, given that the title still rings true today. Stop Making Sense defines the band's abilities, attitudes, styles and motifs. The New Wave approach the film takes is stylistically engaging to such an extent that it is virtually impossible to draw your eyes away from the screen. Minimalist set-pieces move along with the mood of the music at such a rate that much of the picture feels like a kaleidoscope of blistering sound and trancelike imagery.

David Byrne is the key constituent; bestowing his stage presence, creativity and musical proficiency. His stage dynamics are let loose during Stop Making Sense. The infamously over-sized business suit donned by David Byrne is otherworldly, just like the viewing experience, which transports you into a deep-seated, vivacious trance. Yet it is the suit which distinguishes the work completely. The fact that a regular item of clothing can have the ability to make the wearer seem out-of-proportion and disfigured is both mystifying and captivating. Even more bizarre is that the suit seems to grow relatively larger as the concert progresses. Personal interpretation could be that the suit is an implicative metaphor for the irony of the business world or conformity; on the other hand it could just be about not making sense.

Academy award winning director Jonathan Demme does not just "get the gist of The Talking Heads". Instead he is able to comprehend the themes of the band's work from an unmistakably refined tone that he captures through his direction. The irregularity of the group may be hard for some viewers to swallow, but that can be expected from a group which make music of an acquired taste. As for the choreography, it seems there is none, since the musicians all behave in a volatile and limitless manner. The progressively shifted set-pieces convey the altered reality that you have become apart of, and are an extraordinary example of unbound craftsmanship. Stop Making Sense ultimately displays the band's antics from their perspective; this is due to the extended takes of the performers and the lack of audience shots (the fans can only be seen during wide shots or when the camera moves behind the performers). There are even moments where the viewer effectively becomes apart of the band. A prime example of this manoeuvre is when the camera swings behind drummer Chris Frantz and faces the audience during the rendition of "Thank You for Sending me an Angel."

Characteristically speaking it is hopeless trying to describe the feeling you receive while viewing Stop Making Sense. This is because when seen and heard the mind becomes so fixated with the audacious madness of the piece that every viewer will react differently. Personally, this is the concert which I would irrefutably name as the finest ever recorded, maybe you will too.
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THE Great Concert Film
drosse6722 March 2002
All concert films should be as innovative, energetic and just plain fun as Stop Making Sense. With Jonathan Demme as director, the concert has a weird and wonderful theatrical look, with David Byrne arriving onstage at the beginning, armed with an acoustic guitar. Gradually, the other members of the band join him and the stage sets become highly unusual. For visuals, nothing matches the odd behavior of Byrne and quirky but (for the most part) great songs of the Talking Heads better than Demme's approach to filming. The movie has such a terrific build up (at one point Byrne actually runs around the stage repeatedly) that you cannot help but move with it. I can't believe concert films that followed did not even attempt to match this film's innovativeness. A great movie, even if you've never heard of the Talking Heads.
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10/10
This film is an easy 10
Kerryokie31 July 2014
I just saw this movie tonight at the OKC Museum of Art for the first time in 30 years. It was even more fun than when I first saw it which may be because of the crowd I watched it with. The audience was comprised of a diverse mix of people ranging in age from teens to the 70s or 80s. The crowd had a blast throughout the film and cheered and applauded after each song with audience participation increasing as the film progressed. It felt like being at a live concert, so I can imagine what it must have been like to be at one of their live concerts in 1984. I found I was smiling throughout the film. A blast from the past and a blast all around.

From David Byrne's surreal, quirky, fun antics on stage to Tina Weymouth dancing as she played guitar and the camera shots of the Jonathan Demme film, the band and film crew get everything right to provide us with a perfect concert film that is not to be missed. See it on the biggest screen you can with surround sound if possible. I have long thought the soundtrack CD was one of the best ever produced, the concert film holds up just as well. "O-o-oh what a day that was!"
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10/10
The name of this band is Talking Heads
miloc22 September 2012
At the beginning of the greatest concert movie ever made, we follow a pair of sneakered feet to down center of an empty stage. A voice says "I've got a tape I want to play." We pan up to a thin, nervous-looking man with an acoustic guitar and a boom box. The box starts playing a beat. The man's hand hits a jangling chord. And for the next hour and a half, as the scenery slowly builds around this skinny misfit, we sit transported.

Talking Heads were unquestionably a seminal band in the New York punk/new wave scene. Yet before seeing this film I had little idea of who they were, and even after seeing it I would not necessarily put them on a top ten list. Nonetheless, through a combination of front man David Byrne's charisma and stagecraft, Jonathan Demme's taut, precise filmmaking, and the infectious heat of the music, Stop Making Sense remains the most enthralling and sheerly entertaining rockshow ever. The keening melancholy of "Heaven", the stripped-down mystery of "Once in a Lifetime", the dark funk of "Girlfriend is Better" -- there's simply no duds here. And Byrne works his butt off. He seems to have energy to spare; during one number he simply jogs circles around the stage, as though he needs further exercise. His teammates Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison, and (eventually) a host of backup singers and musicians click into that energy without a stumble.

This isn't raw work-- clearly this is a conceived film, with defined emotional beats and even a sort of intuitive narrative. And like any band, Talking Heads have a specific sound and style that (I suppose) won't appeal to everyone. But who? I've shown this film to at least three people who never heard of the band before (except through dim memory of early MTV), and even claimed to hate concert movies-- and then they went and bought the soundtrack.

What can I further say? This is a record of performance that cannot be matched. If you like music, at all, clear a little time and watch this movie. I can't promise you won't be disappointed, but I cannot easily imagine how.
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10/10
Stop Making Sense is a highly acclaimed and great concert movie.
khanbaliq220 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
It was a mistake for met to put off watching Stop Making Sense. I should have watched it right after I bought the DVD. I have to say that I don't enjoy watching concert films much, nor do I like to listen to live recordings. Often, the music just isn't as definitive when it's played live. But at the same time you get to see the band perform so there is a payoff. Still, concerts can drag on, and can get boring because you have to watch the same band or artist perform for an hour or more. I've seen concert films before, even by great bands, but I didn't like them much. However, Stop Making Sense is an exception. Not just because the music is good and has so much energy, but also because the performance is well directed and presented.

Directed by Jonathan Demme, Stop Making Sense was shot over three nights in December 1983, as the group was touring to promote their new album Speaking In Tongues. The movie is notable for being the first made entirely utilizing digital audio techniques. The band raised the budget of $1.2 million themselves. The title comes from a repeated phrase in the song Girlfriend Is Better. At the beginning of the film David Byrne, the lead singer of the Talking Heads, walks on to the stage with a boom box and an acoustic guitar and then performs Psycho Killer. He's just one man, but watching him is interesting, and the song is great too. With each successive song, Byrne is cumulatively joined onstage by each core member of the band: first by Tina Weymouth for Heaven, second by Chris Frantz for Thank You For Sending Me An Angel, and third by Jerry Harrison for Found A Job. The Talking Heads also continue to be augmented by several additional musicians, most of whom had extensive experience in funk.

David Byrne is a very energetic performer. Even the way he moved his body was fun to watch. He even put on that now famous big suit towards the end of the film. In addition, I really liked Tina Weymouth in this film. She's just the cutest bass player ever. I have to stress that Stop Making Sense isn't just a bunch of playing and singing. The band manages to make each song stand out. The faster songs are performed with plenty of energy and enthusiasm, while the slower songs sound beautiful and make you wonder. The film contains no audience shots until the very end to enable the viewer to form their own opinion about the performance. Byrne wanted no colored lights to illuminate the performers. This led to some unusual lighting methods being used for each song. Unlike many concert films/videos which use "MTV-style" quick-cut editing techniques, much of Stop Making Sense uses lengthy camera shots to allow the viewer to examine the performances and onstage interaction. In conclusion, Stop Making Sense is the definitive concert film. You don't even have to be a fan of the band or their music to like it. It's so good that you'll probably want to see it many times. Director Jonathan Demme managed to capture one the greatest bands of their era on film, and did it very well.

Set Lists: 1. Psycho Killer 2. Heaven 3. Thank You For Sending Me An Angel 4. Found A Job 5. Slippery People 6. Burning Down The House 7. Life During Wartime 8. Making Flippy Floppy 9. Swamp 10. What A Day That Was 11. This Must Be The Place 12. Once In A Lifetime 13. Genius Of Love 14. Girlfriend Is Better 15. Take Me To The River 16. Crosseyed And Painless
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7/10
Life During Showtime
slokes1 November 2004
"Stop Making Sense" cemented the Talking Heads' place as the Beatles of college rock, capturing the band in all its art-funk glory. Part performance art, part low-key workout, "Stop Making Sense" benefits from a set of 16 quality songs, an ever-changing visual style that never loses its inventiveness, and a lead performance by David Byrne that has to be seen to be believed.

He jogs around the stage. He bends his body in weird contortions. He puts on a really big suit. From the beginning to end, he has his shirt collar buttoned to the top like a Catholic schoolboy, and I'm not sure how or why.

"How" and "why" are words that pop up a lot while watching this. Talking Heads were weird even for the punk/new wave crowd; they wore their hair like accountants, mined everything from disco to doo-wop to African exotica for their sound, and pulled off the trick of being both mocking and reverential. So whether it's Byrne dancing with a living-room lamp or words like "facelift" and "sandwich" appearing on screen, the viewer is well advised to follow the advice of the title and just let the goofy, heady mess roll over you. You'll probably find yourself having a bit of fun.

It helps if you like their music. You don't hear much of it these days it seems. People know "Life During Wartime" and "Once In A Lifetime," while "Take Me To The River" and "Burning Down The House" were Top 40 hits in the U.S. But the most familiar tune here is probably the one non-Talking Heads song, "Genius Of Love," which is performed by the band's Byrne-less incarnation, the Tom Tom Club. That's because Mariah Carey sampled it (read "sang over it") for one of her big hits, "Fantasy."

Frankly, the band as individuals aren't all that interesting. They don't play off each other or the audience in any way, leaving it to Byrne to sell each song. Jerry Harrison, one of the four Heads, seems AWOL even on the middle of the stage. Bringing up a few session players like Bernie Worrell, the P-Funk keyboardist, helps the film avoid this "boring white guys playing their music" trap at least somewhat, though if the mission of this film is to introduce us to the Talking Heads, it's certainly no "Hard Day's Night" or "Last Waltz."

But the songs are good, and Byrne works through his bemused detachment to become quite passionate on some selected numbers. His "Once In A Lifetime" is one of the great screen performances of 1984. Goofy lighting sets up "Swamp" and "What A Day That Was" and there's oddball tricks aplenty throughout. I like the lower-key "Heaven," a wistful number about "a place where nothing ever happens" which Byrne delivers with the right amount of grace while bassist Tina Weymouth delivers some solid accompaniment.

I see a lot of times where the notes being played or hit don't correspond with what's on screen. The film was shot over a period of days, and then edited together, but judging from the perfect quality of the performed pieces, I sense some post-game "sweetening" went on. But it's a nice piece to watch, very sublime, and the new DVD treatment is a decided gem worth having. You'll wish you were back in the 1980s when the Heads were the newest thing, though they never really got old. At least they will always be fresh and alive and together on "Stop Making Sense."
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10/10
the best concert film of all time
somf11 April 1999
Most concert films really miss the mark. Woodstock is almost unwatchable today. The Talking Heads "Stop making Sense" show was one of the best concerts that I've ever seen. Thank God for Jonathan Demme catching it so wonderfully on film. The only other concert film that compares to this is "Gimme Shelter." It contains the most powerful message of any rock film ever made. It is the anti-woodstock. But "Stop Making Sense" is simply a joy.
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10/10
this ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around...
Quinoa19842 May 2008
Stop Making Sense is the kind of concert film that gets you pumped up for the Talking Heads even if you're not that huge a fan. I love a few of their songs- Take Me to the River, Burning Down the House, Psycho Killer most of all- but I never really "got in" to them at a younger age, mostly because I knew them from classic rock radio. What Jonathan Demme as director presents with his film of their concert in 1984 is to energize fans and casual listeners to their presence and power and just plain f***ing fun. The main force behind the group, singer/guitarist David Byrne wears suits 10 times too big, runs laps around the stage (while also having back-up singers jogging in place as well), and creates crazy pop-culture and avant-garde imagery on behind them on a screen. It's madness, but it's also alive in performance and song all the way.

Maybe one or two songs might not totally click or may sound a little, well, dated (it was the 80s after all, no longer the folks from CBGB's), but there's constantly memorable moments, including the opening take on Psycho Killer, the building-block form from song to song as band members join one by one until it's a good dozen players and singers all in the mix, and with the imagery that Demme and DP Jordan Crenowith create. For the most part it's (perfectly) straightforward film-making... but here and there we see real artistry break through, shadows cascading the figures playing, the juxtaposition of Byrne in that suit flopping around, moving around seamlessly between musicians. It's the kind of craftsmanship that looks like it should be easy enough with a good few cameras, yet probably took as much prep work as Scorsese had on the Last Waltz.

So, take in all of the 80's New-Wave mood (and, make no mistake, it's VERY 80's New Wave, but probably in the best and most experimental sense imaginable), take in pretty much all of the classic Talking Heads numbers (there's one I forget the name of that's especially chilling with the chorus a series of 'ya-hay-hay-hay-hay-hay's' from Byrne in marching formation). It's probably one of the best modern concert films.
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10/10
This is why I'm a fan
terihu23 January 2006
To be perfectly honest, I was not a Talking Heads fan before this I saw this. A friend had to drag me to see it when it came out. But it totally blew me away! I wound up being totally obsessed with TH after I saw Stop Making Sense, so I don't think it's just for fans at all, it made me a fan.

The thing about SMS is that it's just pure music, and pure joy. No filler: interviews with the band members backstage, crowd shots, spliced segments of music videos, blah blah blah. If you love a band's music, why bother with the other crap? It's just drama (which there was plenty of on this tour, apparently, if you read the interviews).

David Byrne is such a freak, and his unadulterated joy at being able to BE a freak on stage and get paid for it is infectious. This is a show for every self-conscious teen who felt like shrinking into his chair during class, but who busts out dancing in the privacy of his bedroom.
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absolutely the best concert film of all time
snowboarderbo22 March 2003
and also the only true work of art that Jonathon Demme has ever produced. I have shown this film to friends who have never heard of or listened to Talking Heads, and all agree that a) it is a freaking incredible film, b) I am a god for having shown it to them, and c) they need to go out immediately and buy a copy for themselves. If you haven't seen this film, take that copy of "Song Remains The Same" (which should have been called "Song Remains So Lame", and I love LedZep so kwitcherbitchin hehe) and throw it away. This is so watchable that I'm still not tired of it after seeing it more than a dozen times in 1984 and owning the DVD since I got my first player 5 years ago.
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10/10
Brilliant - one of the greatest ever concert films
grantss4 February 2016
Brilliant - one of the greatest ever concert films.

A Talking Heads concert from 1984, recorded at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. We have the band - David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, Jerry Harrison and Chris Frantz - plus several very talented backing singers and musicians. The Talking Heads offshoot, the Tom Tom Club (Weymouth and Franz, plus backing musicians), also performs a few songs.

This is Talking Heads at their peak, creativity-wise and popularity- wise. Incredible concert - the band seemed to be having a whole lot of fun and the music is fantastic. There is also the stage theatrics, largely by frontman David Byrne, and these amount to performance art.

The only concert films that surpass this, I think, are The Band's The Last Waltz and the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration.
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an exhilarating experience
Wazoo12 May 2000
I've been a Talking Heads fan since the mid-eighties, which was around the time that I first saw this film. Since it's been re-released on its 15th anniversary, I picked up a copy, figuring it would be a worthy addition to my video collection. I have a correction to make: it's one of the BEST films in my collection, and quite possible the best concert film ever made. If you're already a Heads fan, you won't be disappointed. If you're not familiar with their music, i guarantee you'll be a fan by the end of the movie.

Director Jonathan Demme knows what he's doing here. Instead of gratuitous audience shots, he focuses on the band. Not only is the music wonderful and breathtaking, the background slides, lighting and costumes make the whole show very entertaining without distracting you from the music. The band is incredibly energetic throughout the entire performance -- they seem genuinely thrilled to be on stage. There isn't a single moment where the performance falters -- not even during the silly Tom Tom Club number, which has its charm. Lead singer/songwriter David Byrne is undoubtedly the focus of the show, and his funky geek persona comes through loud and clear. It's truly a marvelous concert film. Words don't do it justice. Rent it today!
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8/10
Once in a lifetime, a decent concert flick comes along
ANGRYPILLS9 March 2000
I first saw this film back in`84 and recently acquired it on dvd. As films in general go it is sheer entertainment. As concert films go it`s a masterpiece. Colour, movement, great songs, fun visuals and the infamous very big suit. Not just a great moment in 80`s pop culture but a fitting tribute to the musical talents of Byrne and co. A new wave aerobic workout. The dvd also features an hilarious video of David Byrne interviewing himself. Well worth a look.
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10/10
All that was great about the 80's
klasikvhs6 January 2015
Directed by Jonathan Demme...BRILLIANTLY starts with a blank, brightly lit stage and progresses with each song to a fully functioning stage show. Mr. Byrne did his own lighting AND choreography along with writing songs.

There is so much abstract joy in this piece that it makes one think, "We're they on coke?" I'm thinking since it WAS the 80's...definitely. It was hard NOT to do coke in the 80's.

The only thing missing is that nobody speaks to the audience at all. There's no familiarity between artist and patron. The music does stand on it's own, though.

It was shot right here in Hollywood at the Pantages, which is nice to know. And there's a song in it by the Talking Head's band (- Byrne) the Tom Tom Club, which Mr. Byrne is rumored to have hated. They band split up after this tour which is sad. Mr. Byrne left to have a solo career that never matched the popularity he had with the Talking Heads...and in my opinion never produced anything that equaled it's brilliance.
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The gold standard of concert films
bmcclain10 September 1999
The Band's _The Last Waltz_? Led Zep's _The Song Remains the Same_? Aw, forget 'em. They're all a waste of time. Get this on DVD, turn the volume all the way to 11, and get a bunch of friends over to dance to this thing.

Sadly, when I saw this at the Varsity in Austin, they were sorta discouraging dancing in the aisles... :(
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9/10
Weird and comfortable
Escobar5122 January 2019
Talking Heads is a band full of weridos who want to express themselfes in any way they can. And that makes me pretty comfy with myself in general too.
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10/10
pure genius
ABechtel5 July 1999
The nature of concert films changed forever with Demme's decision to keep the camera on the band itself and not dwell on audience reaction shots or Zep-like fantasy sequences. He got help from the Heads' superb performances and the excellent staging of the show -- building instrument upon instrument from Byrne himself with a boombox and acoustic guitar to the full-fledged band.

Sadly, the Sire soundtrack only contains about half the songs from the film, and some of those are edited. In the age of the re-release, perhaps we will soon have the full version in our CD carousels. That would certainly make sense.
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His royal majesty, David Byrne.
Jackster17 May 1999
After seeing this movie for the first time on the big screen when it first opened, I was literally out of breath. I found myself laughing hysterically in admiration of David Byrne's on-stage energy and antics. David Byrne and the band are possessed with some sort of rare rock & roll energy that doesn't come along often enough. I've seen it about 12 times or so since then.
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