True Stories (1986)

I love Talking Heads. I think David Byrne is a supremely awesome weirdo. I think he has a very unique, almost clinical way of looking at the world that comes across very clearly in his lyrics. So, imagine if that weirdo made a movie about a town called Virgil, Texas?

“I have something to say about the difference between American and European cities, but I forgot what it was. I have it written down at home somewhere.”

Virgil used to be a tiny country town, until a large computer corporate moved in, supplying the local folks with jobs and bringing in enough cash flow for the wonderful creation of the mall to come to town. Byrne travels around the town talking to different people about the changes that have occurred in the city. His interactions are intermingled with songs, fashion shows, Spalding Gray playing with food, John Goodman hunting for a wife, Swoosie Kurtz never leaving her bed, a woman obsessed with cuteness, and a woman who never, ever tells the truth (“Mike Wallace wants my body!” “I wrote Billie Jean!”).

The movie is very disjointed, but it doesn’t really matter. I don’t think anyone’s watching this one for plot. It is, really, to me, a lot like a Talking Heads song: weird observation after weird observation, enchantment with the ordinary, curiosity about people’s habits and how they got that way. A must see for Talking Heads fans and anyone who appreciates oddities.


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