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Dancing Outlaw II: Jesco Goes to Hollywood (1999)

 -  Documentary | Short
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Title: Dancing Outlaw II: Jesco Goes to Hollywood (1999)

Dancing Outlaw II: Jesco Goes to Hollywood (1999) on IMDb 5.8/10

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Jesco White


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Documentary | Short





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Short But Bittersweet
30 May 2001 | by See all my reviews

This follow-up to "Dancing Outlaw" feels far more unnatural than the original, but it's just as fascinating. The short documentary follows West Virginia dance whiz Jesco to Hollywood, where he's booked to perform on the TV show "Roseanne."

Most of the scenes depicting Jesco in his native Boone County are blatantly staged. This seems a bit tacky at first considering that the strength of the first "Dancing Outlaw" was the fact it approached Jesco on his own terms.

But the 'sanitized' depiction of Jesco ends abruptly once Jesco arrives on the sets of "Roseanne." Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold had been charmed by the first documentary and thought Jesco would be perfect for a 'white trash/hick' show segment. At the time the episode filmed, her relationship with Tom Arnold was disintegrating. The venom exchanged between Roseanne and Tom on the sets is often excruciating to watch.

Roseanne, already in a heated spat with Arnold, flies into a rage when she sees Jesco's prison-styled swastika tattoo. The couple takes public swipes at each other, now using Jesco as a scapegoat for what were obviously pre-existing problems. Oddly, the only person who carries himself with dignity is Jesco.

In the end, Hollywood can adore The Dancing Outlaw as a cult hero from afar, but they can't accept Jesco on his own terms -- which was the whole point of the first documentary. In a land of glitter and not gold, Jesco is just too real even for those who embrace controversy.

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