Stop Making Sense (1984)

Stop Making Sense (1984) movie poster

director Jonathan Demme
viewed: 12/21/2015

Ever seen The Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense?  I saw it when it came out and then the many videos of it that aired with great regularity on MTV back when MTV was music videos.

I’d been wanting to watch it again since it appeared on Fandor a couple months ago.  I thought it was something my son, a 14 year old gaining interest in music, might be interested in.

The concert film is an odd genre.  It’s hard not to think that Jonathan Demme’s work here though is a very good version of it.  The Talking Heads in 1984 were on their brink of major stardom and the stage show that David Byrne and team conceived is a clever one.

The film opens with Byrne walking on stage with a boom box and an acoustic guitar, singing “Psycho Killer” on his lonesome.  He’s then joined by Tina Weymouth on bass for “Heaven”.  Each song brings another element on stage, drummer Chris Frantz and then guitarist Jerry Harrison, additional session musicians and back-up singers, eventually erasing the spartan stage into blackness and then video projections.  And eventually the iconic giant suit that Byrne dons for “Girlfriend is Better”.

Byrne really puts on a show.  And really does a lot of dancing with his trademark weirdness.

These days, I find that I liked most of the songs, if not all of them.  I don’t LOVE the Talking Heads, but I do like them.  And the movie, it’s pretty well-done.  My son liked it okay.

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