the Film: True Stories

the guest: Robert Godinez


A while back – March 2015 to be exact – I included this film, True Stories, on an episode of VideoNight! that was about “road movies” – mostly comedies, but the episode included the sci-fi and thriller genres, too.  It could be argued that this isn’t a road movie, but a good portion has to do with David Byrne driving to and around the town of Vergil, Texas.


This film is set up to seem like an authentic documentary with Byrne as a sort of outsider/guide to the small but booming Texas town.  His mannerisms are curious and kind, with a possible wink and nod, but the humor is never at the expense of the film’s subjects. It occurred to me as I was writing this that a possible inspiration to how the way Byrne’s guide character is curious and joyful (however subdued) might be inspired by the late Huell Howser’s jubilant approach to his own travelogue show California Gold.

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There’s a genuine approach to the characters, showing no judgement. The film features an early role for John Goodman (more or less the focus of the story), as well as supporting characters played by the likes of Swoozie Kurtz, Pop Staples, John Ingles, and Spalding Gray. David Byrne’s True Stories is a film of quirkiness that is peppered with musical bits (not only from his own band Talking Heads, but Pops Staples and Esteban Jordan as well), but alas it is not a musical. These moments seem more MTV than MGM.

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And being that it is a music based project, no other guest seems more suited to discuss this hidden gem than Texas native and musical maestro Robert Godinez (check his music for SLOW ATTACK & BLOCKED NUMBERS.)


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