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Do we not have a thread for this amazing concert documentary? The closest thing I could find is this thread about Byrne and Eno collaborating, with some comments about how incredible this film is. I was expecting it to be good, as far too many people had sung its praises, but I'm not sure I could have anticipated it being this good. I'm not super familiar with Talking Heads' music besides the more popular well-known stuff, so I didn't imagine I'd be so profoundly moved by the film, but there's just a prodigal amount of joy and generosity here. I'd love to hear others' thoughts on this film; I'm still in recovery mode, trying to discern just how and why it struck me the way it did.

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I have spent many, many years trying to decipher the lyrics of "Slippery People." Who was it that said the ultimate differences between poetry and prose is that poetry cannot be summarized or described?

I think maybe True Stories sort of took some of the air out of the reputation for "Stop Making Sense," but, yeah, I played that album incessantly in my college years. Also, because of this movie, it is the only album I can think of where I prefer the live recordings to the studio recordings...there is something about the sheer adrenaline energy that made this my go-to soundtrack for working out. 

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I've only seen this film once, during its 1999 theatrical re-release (which preceded the film's DVD release), but I remember really loving it, and I have listened to the soundtrack *frequently* since then.

I remember it also cast a new light, for me, on my favorite band of all time, Daniel Amos (some of their new-wave-ish 1980s stuff must have been influenced by these guys), and it also cast a new light, for me, on the soundtrack to The Last Emperor, part of which was composed by David Byrne, and which I had listened to frequently in the years following that film's 1987 release. His instrumental music on that soundtrack was very much in the style of the songs he performed with the Heads.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I had heard a few Talking Heads' radio hits before watching this. A college housemate who was a big fan convinced me to watch it with him. The drama of the stage really hooked me right way--I mean how the first few songs add musicians and their gear one at a time, and how the camera almost never shows the audience at all. Now they are one of my favorite musical groups. I showed my wife a few clips, and she said seeing David Byrne really gave her insight into how I dance and use my body musically!

On 1/30/2020 at 7:02 PM, kenmorefield said:

Also, because of this movie, it is the only album I can think of where I prefer the live recordings to the studio recordings...there is something about the sheer adrenaline energy

Agreed!

1984, my birth year, was a great year for pop music and also for films about music (Stop Making Sense, Amadeus, This is Spinal Tap, Purple Rain).

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> there's just a prodigal amount of joy and generosity here

Maybe the best test of a concert film is this question: would you rather watch the film (with an audience in a theater) or attend the concert itself? This is one of the very few films I can think of that passes that test. Jonathan Demme was a beautiful man.

For what it's worth, this is the Talking Heads tour I'll see when someone finally invents a time machine.

 

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  • 2 months later...

Bumping this thread in our consideration for the Top 100 list. I nominated both this film and Singin' in the Rain, as both are musical films which contain a contagious sense of joy. They're about music, but they're also decidedly cinematic. And if our understanding of "spiritually significant" encompasses limit-experiences that aren't just depressing, weighty, existential, or about death (e.g. Ikiru, Wild Strawberries, Tokyo Story, Diary of a Country Priest, etc.), but are also those joyful, ecstatic, evanescent moments which make us more aware of the goodness of life and existence, then certainly Stop Making Sense is a spiritual (even a religious) film.

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  • 3 months later...

I've been doing some YouTube videos to introduce various films on the list and have something to link to other than trailers. Always looking for people who might be willing to participate in these sort of brief video introductions:

 

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