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  • Writer's pictureShannon Heibler

True Stories (1986)

Because I am Immature as hell, I need to start this blog by pointing out that this is movie #69 for this project. I hope you nodded and whispered "nice." If you did, we are kindred. (Also, holy cow I've watched a lot of movies and made a lot of art for this thing!)

Like L.A. Story, I came to this movie toooo recently in my life and entirely due to the good sense of my partner who recognized I needed these movies in my life. Eternally grateful for him knowing which films resonate at the same frequency as my soul.

It's extra shocking that I came to this one only a couple years ago and that Ben shoved it in my hands because I love David Byrne and Talking Heads and he enjoys "Road to Nowhere" full stop. Again, appreciative.

David Byrne is my creative hero. There is no one I look up to more than him in artsy endeavors. I still remember the first time I really heard a Talking Heads song. The trailer for Nic Cage existential dramedy The Family Man featured "Once in a Lifetime" and my heart went "WHAT IS THAT?" and I was hooked. American Utopia is a triumph. Stop Making Sense makes more sense to me than any other filmed concert I've seen. I have a copy of Byrne's book Arboretum very near me at this moment. His segments in Sack Lunch Bunch have gotten me through some dark days. His ability to unapologetically be himself, knowing full well most people won't ever understand entirely, is mind blowing to me. I try to articulate what it means to see a weird, dorky lil' guy just exist fully and I turn into a gif of Meg Ryan looking adorably confused. And the cherry/whipped cream/sprinkles on top of his exuberant strangeness is that he seems so damn earnest. It would be one thing if his stuff was steeped in irony. But it comes from a genuine place. A sincere desire to interact with the world with wonder and kindness. And True Stories is no different.

The film hits all the sweet spots for me: absurdist, surreal, earnest, existential. Ben said, "I want to live in the world of this movie" and that makes me glad because we're going together. That the extras all look like regular people! That the leads look like regular people! And I cannot tell if Byrne's stilted, stuttering delivery is an act or if it's just who he is but I love it. (Interviews with him indicate that is just, as usual, who he is. The cinnamon roll!) We just watched The French Dispatch last night and I realized how much I love dreamlike artifice in my movies and this was a lovely companion piece to that. So performative and staged but, again, sincere!

I'm crazy about all the denizens of Virgil, too. Baby John Goodman is so effing charismatic it is no wonder that he rose so far and so quickly after this. But mostly I love "The Lying Woman". I'm going to be saying, "Mike Wallace wants my boooodddyyyyy" at stupid moments for the rest of the week.

This movie makes it incredibly clear that David Byrne lyrics are supposed to come out of David Byrne. John Goodman makes "People Like Us" really sweet but ultimately everything sounds like Extra Gibberish with a side of Nonsense coming from everyone else. This is not to say that David Byrne makes it make sense but he makes me comfortable with it.

Lino cut block print.



-Whew! This was easily my most ambitious lino work yet and I have so much to learn! It didn't totally surprise me but I was a little unnerved how off the alignment of the different blocks was. I thought I did so well, keeping them the same size, taping their placement on my little map and then pbbbbbbbt nope. Didn't work like that. Something to read up on.

-I'm not totally pleased with the colors. I accidentally created an ombre for the sky which I'm Thrilled with but the red leaves me wanting more. I also feel like the black is too dark which is not actually a thing. I dunno. I think I'm so pleased to have finished this one and finished it relatively well that I'm not totally processing my thoughts on it.

-I wish I would have decided on a style of writing for the quotes but I'm not sure what it would have been.

-I realized toooo laaaaate that I'd cut away sections I shouldn't have. Hopefully it's not obvious.

-"No Time to Look Back" is my favorite of these three but they're all such terrific lines.

Next week, Bisexual Panic at the Late 90s Cinema continues with The Mask of Zorro! Is it objectifying or sexy? Yes!

I hope this next week is weird is the loveliest ways. I hope you dance the way you were mocked for in middle school and I hope you do it proudly. Try new things, push yourself and stay strange but not a stranger.

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Eliot Cirivello
Eliot Cirivello
Mar 21, 2022

Hey Shannon - I loved this movie, its always been special to

me - and I love these pieces. Do you have any intention to a sell a couple prints of this? Either copies or lino prints? I’d love to have one in my office. Thank you!

Shannon Heibler
Shannon Heibler
Apr 03, 2022
Replying to

Hi Eliot! So sorry I'm just now seeing your comment. Thank you and Yes! I would love to clean up the block a little but then I'd be happy to sell lino prints. I'll message once they're ready.

And I'm always SO glad to find someone else who loves this gem of a film!

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