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True Stories

True Stories

Director:David Byrne
Cast:David Byrne, John Goodman, Swoosie Kurtz, Spalding Gray, Alex Elias, Annie McEnroe
Release Date:1986

By Bret McCabe | Posted 2/22/2006

David Byrne writes, directs, co-stars, and narrates this mannered tour of the fictional Virgil, Texas, a town whose populace is just a little off, during its celebration of the Lone Star State’s sesquicentennial. A whimsically odd fish out of water in his cowboy gear, Byrne navigates these set pieces—the desperate wife-seeker Louis (John Goodman), the perpetually fatigued Lazy Woman (Swoosie Kurtz), the happily married husband who hasn’t spoken to his wife in years (Spalding Gray)—like an enthusiastically uncertain circus barker. Half the fun of True Stories (1986) is recognizing locales around Dallas where it was shot—e.g., the flamboyant fashion show shot at froufrou modernist NorthPark Mall—and seeing how Byrne bent them all to his oddball creative will. Nothing really happens here, just a parade of weird cuteness: a marching band, a preacher, supposedly more than 50 sets of twins. Don’t bother looking for a point—you’re either going to like it or you’re not. It does, however, contain the best explanation for Texans ever: After God created the heaven and earth and saw that he had created a hardened, huge dry plain, he decided to make people who like it that way.

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