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Stop Making Sense

Stop Making Sense

4.4 10
Director: Jonathan Demme

Cast: Bernie Worrell, Alex Weir, Steve Scales


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Palm Pictures' DVD treatment gives this landmark concert film the respect it deserves. For starters, it includes three audio settings. "Feature Film Mix 5.1" is a remixed and remastered version of the original soundtrack, "Studio Mix 5.1" uses the old mixing board tapes, and the two-channel stereo mix ensures that those without 5.1 Surround Sound don't miss out. The


Palm Pictures' DVD treatment gives this landmark concert film the respect it deserves. For starters, it includes three audio settings. "Feature Film Mix 5.1" is a remixed and remastered version of the original soundtrack, "Studio Mix 5.1" uses the old mixing board tapes, and the two-channel stereo mix ensures that those without 5.1 Surround Sound don't miss out. The widescreen, 16:9 anamorphic presentation helps the movie look almost as good as it sounds. The extra features aren't nearly as sharp, but they're fun. Three songs ("Cities" and a version of "Big Business" that segues into "I Zimbra") emerge as bonus tracks. In another extra, frontman David Byrne dons ridiculous costumes and interviews himself, asking all the obvious questions and answering in a stunned monotone. Storyboards and Byrne's notes reveal how much of the show's on-stage lunacy was choreographed ("Now David does a spastic dance"). A commentary track features all four Heads and director Jonathan Demme, recorded separately, discussing Byrne's famous Big Suit, '80s new wave, song origins, and the anal-retentive work that went into the Stop Making Sense tour and film. For obsessive and casual fans alike, this disc makes sense after all.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
David Byrne, a wiry paradigm of twitchy hipsterism, takes center stage in Stop Making Sense, the celebrated concert film directed by Jonathan Demme that became, in effect, Talking Heads' Last Waltz. Conceived for the stage by Byrne, Stop Making Sense eschews the backstage cliché and concentrates instead on the music and performances, which are precise and energetic, and Byrne's uniquely low-key kinetics, which pretty much rivet the viewer from start to finish. Byrne and the band have minimal interaction with their audience, which is mixed down to a distant cheering throng on the soundtrack. There is no banter between songs, and no cutaways to shots of the appreciative crowd. Byrne's personality never emerges from behind his stylized stage persona, a straight white man driven to sudden flights of loose-limbed rapture by the music. The lighting effects are simple but effective -- including the silhouetting of Byrne in his "Big Suit"-- as are the occasional rear projections, which support the musicians without overwhelming them. And the music is effectively Talking Heads' greatest hits, kicking off with Byrne's acoustic solo rendition of "Psycho Killer" (accompanied by a boom-box rhythm track) and moving inexorably through favorites like "Slippery People," "Burning Down the House," and "Once in a Lifetime." There's no nonsense in Stop Making Sense, a superb piece of work that documents the musical intensity and unique style of the Talking Heads for the ages. The DVD includes custom audio settings, commentary by Byrne, Chris Franz, Tina Weymouth, Jerry Harrison, and Demme, three songs not included in the film -- and a fittingly oddball self-interview with Byrne.
All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Stop Making Sense is a prime example of the best way to make a perfect concert movie. First, choose as a subject a band that is as attentive to visual matters as it is to its music -- and preferably one that comes with sterling critical credentials as well. Second, choose as director someone with an unerring sense of composition and an ability to zero in on the key moments in a song, those that will make the most lasting impression or will deliver a message -- subtly or obviously -- to the audience. Third, plan the shoot to as close to within an inch of its life as possible (difficult to do given the vagaries of live performance). Fourth, be in the right place at the right time. Although an individual's reaction to Sense will in large part be colored by his feelings about the Talking Heads, even those who are not fans should be impressed by Jonathan Demme's letter-perfect direction. He employs both handheld backstage and machine-mounted front-of-house cameras, and the contrast between the two is striking. This captures not only the "concept" of the film -- that it is as much about how a show is put on as it is about the show itself -- but also mirrors the dichotomy of the band itself, with the front cameras pinpointing their cold, formalistic quality and the backstage ones pointing up their surprising warmth and vibrancy. Most exciting is how engaging David Byrne comes across; his self-conscious quirks and pre-conceived persona register as natural and appealing, and the amount of energy he puts into the concert is galvanizing. Although he dominates the stage, honey-haired Tina Weymouth still manages to quietly score points on her own. Sense is an excellent film that stands many repeated viewings.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Palm Pictures / Umvd
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital, stereo]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Digitally re-mixed and re-mastered; Three audio mixes: Dolby Digital 5.1 feature film, 5.1 studio mix, and 2.0 stereo; Widescreen 16:9 anamorphic; Bonus tracks: "Cities," "Big Business"/"I Zimbra"; Audio commentary by all four band members and director Jonathan Demme; Storyboard-to-film comparison, original promotional trailer, "David Byrne Interviews....David Byrne" promotional clip; Full-motion menu

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bernie Worrell Synthesizers
Alex Weir guitar
Steve Scales percussion
Tina Weymouth bass
David Byrne Lead Vocals/Guitar
Talking Heads Actor
Chris Frantz Drums and Vocals
Jerry Harrison Guitar, Keyboards and Vocals

Technical Credits
Jonathan Demme Director
Jeffrey Beecroft Production Designer
David Byrne Score Composer
Jordan S. Cronenweth Cinematographer
Lisa Day Editor
Chris Frantz Score Composer
Gary Goetzman Producer
Jerry Harrison Score Composer
Gary Kurfirst Executive Producer
Steve Maslow Sound/Sound Designer
Tina Weymouth Score Composer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Song Selection
1. Psycho Killer [6:30]
2. Heaven [3:58]
3. Thank You for Sending Me an Angel [2:27]
4. Found a Job [3:28]
5. Slippery People [4:40]
6. Burning Down the House [4:20]
7. Life During Wartime [5:48]
8. Making Flippy Floppy [5:45]
9. Swamp [4:35]
10. What a Day That Was [6:33]
11. Naive Melody (This Must Be the Place) [5:26]
12. Once in a Lifetime [5:40]
13. Genius of Love [5:14]
14. Girlfriend Is Better [5:14]
15. Take Me to the River [8:02]
16. Cross-Eyed and Painless [10:55]


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Stop Making Sense 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
our baby sitter watched our Blu-Ray of this after the kids went to bed one night and was hooked. Wound up giving them their own copy, so she'd stop "borrowing" ours!
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JohnQ More than 1 year ago
This is a Great concert film, created expressly for film, and is a joyous experience throughout. If you need a movie to help you do your daily workouts, this is the one to get. You can get exhausted just watching these guys running around the stage, and they all seem to be having a terrific time doing it as well. Highly recommended. This film does such a good job of presenting the Talking Heads best songs that the only CD I have from them is the post-movie "Little Creatures" CD.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This DVD blew me away! The recording quality and sound quality are better than some newly recorded dvds I have seen. You can watch this DVD for hours, because David Byrne is the best performing musician (rivals Mark Mothersborough) I have ever seen. His weird movies, funky clothing, and guitar rhythms are phenominal! MUST BUY!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you loved it in the theater then this DVD will blow you away!! The 5.1 surround sound, the clairity of the picture, AND all the extras. I watched it in the original form, then started it over with the 'commentery' audio turned on, and it's a whole new movie. Just think... you get to listen while the band talks through all the deatils and stories about the making of (not only) the movie, but the songs, the ideas that made the band and the way the whole show and tour looked. WOW!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This concert video of the Talking Heads is widely considered the ''best ever!'' From Jonathon Demme's beautiful direction (Yes, the man who directed Silence of the Lambs!) to the wonderful rythmic sounds of this band and the amazing group of musicians it assembled for this tour, it is a tour d'force of sound and vision!
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