Stop Making Sense
Director
Jonathan Demme
Writer
Jonathan Demme, Talking Heads
Actors
David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison, Steven Scales, Bernie Worrell, Alex Weir, Lynn Mabry, Ednah Holt
Runtime
1 h 28 min
Release Date
16 November 1984
Genres
Documentary, Music
Overview
A concert film documenting Talking Heads at the height of their popularity, on tour for their 1983 album "Speaking in Tongues." The band takes the stage one by one and is joined by a cadre of guest musicians for a career-spanning and cinematic performance that features creative choreography and visuals.
  • Rating

STOP MAKING SENSE

I’m not a concert movie fan, nor a big fan of the Talking Heads, but worldwide pandemics and a lot of free time make you do things you might not normally do, which can be good for you.   Stop Making Sense may sum up April 2020, but it’s also the name of the Talking Heads concert film shot in 1984.  Free to Amazon Prime Members.

Most people who listen to music know Talking Heads and are familiar with their hits.  Though Talking Heads broke up in 1991, you still hear their music. I just noticed a clip of the Talking Heads song This Must Be The Place in episode 6 of the 2020 series Little Fires Everywhere (on Hulu).  In S1E6 of Little Fires Everywhere, the clip of This Must Be The Place is heard from 14:23 to 15:04 when you meet the Reese Witherspoon character in 1983.

The movie Stop Making Sense is footage from three different concerts the Talking Heads played in 1984.  I must admit I never watched this film all the way through without fast-forwarding in places.  But the first 31 minutes is the reason to watch.  Watch this movie through Life During Wartime (This Ain’t No Party… This Ain’t No Disco… This Ain’t No Foolin’ Around).  Don’t start fast-forwarding until after the aerobic exercise starts.  It’s an amazing and fun 31 minutes.

Stop Making Sense concert

This Must Be The Place

After the First 31 Minutes:

The rest of the movie, the part after the first 31 minutes, is still an excellent and very watchable concert.

  • This Must Be The Place is at 48:32.  This Must Be The Place is one of the most melodious songs Talking Heads did, a song about home, maybe.  You will know which song it is when David Byrne starts messing with a floor lamp.

 

  • The classic images of the 80’s continue when David Byrne shows up in the “Big Suit” to sing Girlfriend is Better at 1:04:00.  They play with shadows a bit.

The “Big Suit”

  • Before the “Big Suit,” the bass player and drummer (married couple since 1977) sing Genius of Love, as the Tom Tom Club, at 59:54. The Tom Tom Club is Tina (the bass player) and Chris’s (the drummer) new wave band they started in 1981.  Genius of Love was a hit before most of you were born.

David Byrne is the creative genius in Talking Heads.  He is still making music as a solo artist.  American Utopia 2018 is his latest album, which he turned into a Broadway show.  I Dance Like This from American Utopia even made one of my playlists in 2020.  His other musical is 2005 Here Lies Love a disco opera about Imelda Marcos, that Filipino woman with the shoes. The Seattle Repertory Theater reworked their entire theater to host Here Lies Love.

Stop Making Sense is a fun concert movie, quintessential 80’s, and features the Talking Heads best music.  The first 31 minutes is different and interesting.

David Byrne

 

 

 

The First 31 Minutes
What about the first 31 minutes?  Stop Making Sense begins with just David Byrne, a guitar, and a boom box on an empty stage for the first song.  The bass player Tina Weymouth joins him on the second song.  Tina is one of the founding members of Talking Heads and is married to the drummer since 1977.  For the third song the drummer shows up, Chris Frantz.  The fourth member of the band shows up on the next song.  Then the curtain drops and five others come on stage and join the band.  With each song they slowly build the stage until they have all nine members.  After Life During Wartime (This Ain’t No Party… This Ain’t No Disco… This Ain’t No Foolin’ Around) it goes black for a few seconds, another concert starts, and I start fast-forwarding.

 

 

Movie Details

Director
Jonathan Demme
Writer
Jonathan Demme, Talking Heads
Actors
David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison, Steven Scales, Bernie Worrell, Alex Weir, Lynn Mabry, Ednah Holt
Runtime
1 h 28 min
Release Date
16 November 1984
Genres
Documentary, Music
Overview
A concert film documenting Talking Heads at the height of their popularity, on tour for their 1983 album "Speaking in Tongues." The band takes the stage one by one and is joined by a cadre of guest musicians for a career-spanning and cinematic performance that features creative choreography and visuals.

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