Cloris Leachman and David Byrne, Together At Last

When 500 years you reach

When it was released in 1986, David Byrne's film True Stories was besieged by many of the same criticisms that would dog the Coen Brothers in the years to come — that it was patronizing to small-town America, that it valued postmodern style over substance. Given the benefit of hindsight, the Talking Heads singer's faux-travelogue of fictional Virgil, Texas, actually seems ahead of its time. Starring John Goodman as a lovelorn country-singing computer technician, Spalding Gray as a town leader who hasn't spoken to his wife in 15 years, and Pops Staples as the friendly neighborhood voodoo practitioner, the film is a glimpse into weird Americana. While there's an ironic tone to the proceedings, Byrne's satire is gentle, and he's more intent on celebrating small-town idiosyncrasies than mocking rubes.

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