****/**** Image A+ Sound A+ Extras A+
starring John Goodman, Annie McEnroe, Jo Harvey Allen, Swoosie Kurtz
written by Stephen Tobolowsky & Beth Henley and David Byrne
directed by David Byrne
by Sydney Wegner For as long as I can remember, Talking Heads have been my favourite band. They provided the soundtrack to road trips and living-room dance parties; theirs were the cassettes in my first Walkman and my first car. Among the weird stuff my brother and I cycled through during our blessed hours in front of the TV was a VHS collection of their music videos, which we must have played a thousand times. And then there was True Stories, a special favourite, something we never got sick of. I grew up in Austin but lived about ten miles from the centre of town. Our house was on an acre of land surrounded by untamed woods; we spent our time riding bikes and climbing oak trees and rolling in mud. It felt like we grew up in a small rural town, and those first 12 years of my life formed my idea of Texas. Some of my favourite memories are from road trips to visit my grandparents in San Antonio and summers spent camping our way to New Mexico and Arizona, driving for hours through land where the only evidence of civilization was the road we were on. As an adult, when I visited Utah I thought the mountains might fall and crush me. In Washington, the trees formed a picturesque prison. Only in Texas can I breathe. It's a place where the world feels so big and flat that I can almost sense myself hanging onto the edge of the earth. What enchanted me about True Stories so much as a child is, of course, its music and its humour, but also that it captured this openness in a way that felt comforting and beautiful, very much unlike the desolate wasteland Texas appears to be in so many other movies about the state. Sometimes I wonder if it confirmed the Texas I already knew, or helped shape it for me. It never seemed like a coincidence that True Stories was released the same year I was born.