This is "True Stories", an American (very!) English-language movie from 1986, so this one is already easily over 30 years old and the director here is Scottish musician David Byrne, band leader from Talking Heads, and you could say this is his tribute not only to his band, but also to the state of Texas. Byrne also writes and plays a central character here. Well, is it a central character, perhaps in terms of screen time, but really he is just a witness to all the other characters. We don't know much about him other than that the car is his. It is much more about the people he meets on his journey through a town that celebrates its 150th anniversary. And as we witness the cleebrations, we get to know a handful quirky oddball characters from the place, people that are despite some of their mannerisms as normal as it gets. It is a contradiction I know, but it is what it is. maybe you need to have at least one little spleen that sets you apart from the rest and maybe having this spleen is what makes you normal. The character at the center of it all is played by John Goodman and he is also by far the most known cast member in these 1.5 hours. He plays a simple worker who enjoys spending time on stage singing most of the time, sometimes lighter material, sometimes more serious material and his big goal throughout the entire film is finding his significant other. He is maybe not the most memorable character though. That could be the lady who is rich enough not to leave her bed. How clean it is downstairs in her house and if the cleaning lady does a good job, she can only tell from hearsay. Then there is this couple who only talk through her children. Then there is the woman who clearly makes stories up all the time about Elvis, about Rambo and about many others as she clearly likes being in the limelight and who knows, maybe people even believe her from time to time. Or the Black voodoo practitioner, well this one was not as interesting to me as everybody else I must say.
But i sure enjoyed the film overall. The proportion between music and story feels perfect and I was pretty curious to see what these characters would do next and of course if Goodman finds his girl. It is definitely a lighter film, but that does not mean it isn't deeper. If you look for drama and in-depth character studies, you will find them. You only need to keep your eyes open. The best example is how the parents react when they see that little puppet presentation at the end and they realize they see themselves in there. I think at times this was even a great movie. I cannot deny I absolutely enjoyed Byrne's presence here and it was a shame he was not to be seen that frequent anymore as he left the stage to his characters eventually. But his narration and speaking style felt so soothing and interesting at the same time even that I find it a pity that basically all his acting credits here on imdb almost are music videos. A definite contender for playing the most chill character in film history. He was amazing to an extent where I would have been fine for him to receive a Supporting Oscar nomination, also to honor his involvement in all the other fields he worked on in this film. Well, he didn't get it of course, but he won the Oscar not much later in the Score category and I am glad to see he did. Perhaps this was the most creative phase of his life. Now back to this film, I also kinda liked the music. Not always, but most of it. My favorite song was Wild Wild Life early on already and even that song was pretty much calm and soothing (despite the title) like everything else about this film. So it was a close call at times for me if i would give 4 or 3 stars out of 5 here, but eventually I went for the latter because the second half did not convinve me as much. In general, I could say that the exact celebrations did not exactly wow me. This refers to the fashion show, these fast-speaking men or also most of the other on-stage moments. But it is a film as harmless as it gets. The people in here are really normal, all trying to find their own little share of happiness and all likable too. There is nothing serious happening in here. Even when we see the young woman falling down because of her heavy costume apparently, we don't see the fall precisely, but just how the host sees it we see the latter's face. And we hear right afterwards that nothing serious happened at all. By the way, I quite liked the cowboy outfits on Byrne especially here, but also on Goodman in the end. Okay, I think I probably forgot at least 10 additional aspects I wanted to write about, but when the film was over one woman next to me said that she had never watched a movie like this and this can certainly be seen as a compliment. It was really enjoyable and extremely funny during its best moments. It was a one-time showing here in a local theater again and I am glad I went for it after some initial hesitation. It is not necessarily a film that is infinitely better on the big screen than on the small screen because the visual side is just one reason why it succeeds, but not the biggest, let alone only reason, but it was still kinda fun to see it there at the theater as this chance may perhaps never come again. I give it a thumbs-up, without the slightest bit of hesitation. The only hesitation I got is when answering the question if it is a good or great movie. Don't miss out!