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From executive producers Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine Jackass comes a shocking and outlandish year-in-the-life documentary about the White Family of Boone County, West Virginia's most notorious and surly family.
Shoot-outs, robberies, gas-huffing, drug dealing, pill popping, murders and tap dancing. Nestled deep in the Appalachian Mountains, the White family lives an existence more like something from the Wild West than modern-day suburbified America. The legendary family is as known for their wild, excessive criminal ways as they are for their famous mountain dancing members, including Jesco White, the star of the cult classic documentary Dancing Outlaw. The film follows the Whites over the course of one tumultuous year, as they deal with a stabbing, criminal sentencing, attempted murder, death and birth. Never dull, THE WILD AND WONDERFUL WHITES OF WEST VIRGINIA are 'the Hatfields and McCoys all rolled into one' New York Magazine.
It's easy to see why executive producers Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine of the rude and rowdy show Jackass took interest in this ridiculously tragicomic reality drama, The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia. Riffing off of the original and rare documentary "Dancing Outlaw," about tap dancer Jesco White and his dancing dad, director Julien Nitzberg headed down to the coal-mining heart of West Virginia to further exploit this drug-addled family for some film footage that's fairly unbelievable. Launching right into some current family drama between Sue Bob's son, Brandon, having landed in prison after shooting his uncle, among others, this documentary then goes back to trace hooligan behavior to the originators of the family, dancer and coal miner D. Ray and his tough-cookie wife Bertie Mae. Daughters and cousins Sue Bob, Mousie, and Kirk dominate the film, snorting coke in trashy bar bathroom stalls and getting tanked in cars while driving around with less-than-savory boyfriends and ex-husbands. Occasionally, interviews with the town's district attorney provide some background information on this infamous regional family. One of the main plot thrusts here surrounds Kirk and her confiscated newborn, which prompts her to attend rehab while her other son, Tylor, rooms temporarily with his father. Will she get clean and sober, and will she get her baby back? One waits on tenterhooks to find out. Another subplot entails Grandma Mamie's antics as bad influence on the new generation of kids ushered into this mess. This family's action is so trashy, it's a wonder they all seem so content to be filmed. But then again, they're outlaws; throughout the film they own that title with what little pride they have. By the time the viewer is escorted to the family graveyard by the conflicted son of D. Ray, Jesco, to see D. Ray's defaced tombstone, one can imagine why D. Ray's name was scratched off the rock. For his kids to be this confused, he must have been a maniac. One comes away laughing and cringing simultaneously, and hoping that some Whites in addition to Poney, the cousin who fled with his clan to Minnesota, will escape the family for a wider, more optimistic view of life. While this film sounds like it would be a bad influence on kids, it actually may have a "scared straight" effect. The substance abuse is so raw, it's hard to imagine not taking this as warning. --Trinie Dalton