True Stories is a 1986 American film that spans the genres of musical, art, and comedy, directed by and starring David Byrne of the band Talking Heads. It co-stars John Goodman, Swoosie Kurtz, and Spalding Gray. Byrne has described the film as, “A project with songs based on true stories from tabloid newspapers. It’s like 60 Minutes on acid.”
True Stories was released by Warner Bros. in the United States, Canada, Italy, and Sweden in 1986, with limited release elsewhere the following year. Byrne was given much creative control over the motion picture’s direction, largely due to the mainstream success of Talking Heads’ 1984 concert film, Stop Making Sense.
The majority of the film’s music is supplied by Talking Heads. A soundtrack album, titled Sounds From True Stories, featured songs by Byrne, Talking Heads, and Terry Allen & The Panhandle Mystery Band, among others. Around the same time, Talking Heads released an album, titled True Stories, which included the band’s versions of songs featured in the film.
An early working title for the project (endorsed by bassist Tina Weymouth) was Wild Infancy. Locations for the filming took place in the Dallas suburbs of Allen, McKinney, Mesquite, and Red Oak. The mall and fashion show scene was filmed in the Northpark Mall in North Dallas. The parade scene at the end of the film includes various local groups including the Tejas Low Riders Club, and the Sunset High School Marching Band.
The movie was not a commercial success at the time of its release, though it has 75% on Rotten Tomatoes and Roger Ebert gave it a glowing review. The film has achieved its greatest success in home video release, as a cult classic among fans of Byrne’s work.
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