True Stories is a 1986 American film that spans the genres of musical, arthouse, and comedy, directed by and starring David Byrne of the band, Talking Heads. Byrne has described the film as "a project with songs based on true stories from tabloid newspapers. It's like 60 Minutes on acid."

Plot[edit | edit source]

The film is presented as a series of vignettes centered around Byrne as an unnamed, cowboy-hat-wearing stranger who visits the fictional Texas town of Virgil, where he observes the citizens as they prepare for the "Celebration of Specialness" to mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of the town. The event is being sponsored by the Varicorp Corporation, a local computer manufacturing plant.
Among the many characters the visitor meets and interacts with, the most prominent are:

  • Louis Fyne, (John Goodman), a country-western-singing clean room technician at Varicorp who is unlucky in love.
  • Civic leader Earl Culver (Spalding Gray), who never speaks directly to his wife, Kay (Annie McEnroe).
  • Miss Rollings (Swoosie Kurtz), who never leaves her bed,
  • Mr. Tucker (Pops Staples), Miss Rollings' personal assistant, a kindly voodoo practitioner whom Louis hires to help him find love.
  • A conspiracy theorist preacher (John Ingle) whose shtick owes a great deal to the Church of the SubGenius.
  • Ramon (Tito Larriva), a Tejano singer who claims to hear tones from people,
  • "The Lying Woman" (Jo Harvey Allen), who recounts fantastic episodes from her life to anyone who will listen.

Reception[edit | edit source]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 76%, based on 17 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4/10. Roger Ebert gave it a glowing 3.5/4 star review.

Release[edit | edit source]

Despite positive reception, it was not a commercial success at the time of its release in 1986. It has achieved success with its home video release and became a cult classic among fans of Byrne's work.

Home Video[edit | edit source]

In 1987, the movie was released to Laserdisc. In 1988, it was released to VHS. On March 30th, 1999, it wasreleased onto DVD. On November 27th, 2018, The Criterion Collection put out a Blu-ray and DVD release of the movie.

Videos[edit | edit source]

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