Pick of the Week - March 24-30, 2014

This week’s pick is a movie from the 1980s.  It’s not one of the big films of the decade and didn’t make my list of the must-see films from that era (See THIS POST, if you want to know what did make the list).  It should, however, have made my list of “Just Because I Like Them” movies at the end of that particular post, and leaving it off was a terrible oversight on my part.

“Would you just tell us what the movie is?” I hear you cry.  Fair enough.  This intro has been a bit long-winded, and it’s still going.

The movie is True Stories, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if many readers haven’t heard of it.  In 1984, the band Talking Heads had a big success with their concert film, Stop Making Sense, directed by Jonathan Demme, who later went on to direct The Silence of the Lambs.  Talking Heads’ lead singer, David Byrne, wrote, starred in, and directed True Stories, and the film contains several songs from the band.  It is not, however, a concert film.

Instead True Stories is a deeply weird yet sweet film that follows an unnamed man (Our Narrator, played by David Byrne) who visits Virgil, Texas as the town prepares to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the town and the state of Texas.  The movie weaves in and out of the stories of several characters, one of whom is played by John Goodman in one of his early roles. 

Don’t go into this movie expecting dastardly villains or high stakes drama.  It’s more of a travelogue by way of a slightly less weird and much less disturbing David Lynch.  There are also, as I said before, several songs from Talking Heads, a few of which are performed by the film’s cast.  One of my frustrations with the movie is that the soundtrack album only has the band versions of the songs, but I really want the John Goodman version of “People Like Us.”

True Stories won’t change your life, but it is pleasantly odd way to spend a couple of hours.

- Alan Decker

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