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The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia (2009)

 -  Documentary  -  5 May 2010 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 2,474 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 24 critic

A year in the life of the White family, well known for Jesco White, the star of the "Dancing Outlaw" documentary.


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Credited cast:
J. Parker Bazzle II ...
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Ponty's Camper ...
Derek Wayne Castle ...
Francis M. Curnutte III ...
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Peter Hendricks ...
Jay Hill ...
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Adam Messer ...
Chris Messer ...
Rodney Miller ...
Brandon Poe ...
Steve Setzer ...


Shoot-outs, robberies, gas-huffing , drug dealing, pill popping, murders, and tap dancing - what do these all have in common? These are just a few of the parts of being a member of the Wild and Wonderful White Family. 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." Exploring both the comic and tragic sides of life on the other side of the law, this stylish, fast-paced family portrait exposes the powerful forces of corruption, poverty, and West Virginia's environmentally and culturally devastating coal mining culture that helped shape the White family, a dying breed of outlaws preserving a dying form of dance. Written by Anonymous

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5 May 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Whiten perhe - elävänä tai kuolleena  »

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Features Different Drummer: Dancing Outlaw (1991) See more »


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User Reviews

Walk on a different side of the road
31 July 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I kept thinking while watching The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia, what would my initial reaction to this film be if I saw it a few years ago? I had a totally different outlook on life, and thought, if it's not like me it's clearly not right. When I watched the 2003 drama Party Monster, I reflected on the same thing I'm reflecting on now. Just because one's way of life is different, doesn't make it wrong.

If the White family in this film is happy living the way they are, go ahead. I don't approve of it, but I'm mature enough to respect it. The film focuses on a famous outlaw family living in Boone County, West Virginia where lawlessness, shootouts, drugs, and rowdy-behavior isn't uncommon. It's not like the suburbs or the city, it's worse. Way worse.

There are a number of characters in the White family. The most famous is D. Ray White's son Jesco White, a tap dancer who was the subject of the film The Dancing Outlaw. We see Mamie White as well, my favorite character, who is oldest daughter of the deceased outlaw D. Ray White. Mamie introduces some of the deceased members of the White family at the beginning of the film so we're brought up to speed.

So many other characters are introduced as well like Sue Bob White, another daughter of D. Ray White who is trying to cope with her son's possible jail sentence. We also get the cousins/grandchildren of D. Ray White like Kirk White, a woman fighting to be clean and see her newly born child. All I can say is that this family is checkered and free as a bird.

There is almost no discipline in their household. Everyone acts like a grown child, and no one thinks or even cares about the consequences of their actions. Nobody ever stops and thinks "why, or what?" They just do. Country musician Hank Williams III claims in an interview the reason the Whites, and many other people residing in Boone County are so crazy is because they all had something happen in their lives that was enough to scar them and just have a more rowdy look on life.

Hank Williams III plays a big role in the White's life. He is almost like a saint or a God in them. They love his music. They dance to it, sing along to it, and pretty much rock out to it. I, myself, am a big Hank Williams III fan because I love his southern sound, and feel he is one of the few true country musicians around now. He is truly one of the best singers in the genre today.

This is the kind of film that is odd, wacky, witty, dark, raunchy, and sometimes disgraceful, but you can't look away. You have to watch these people take life head on, not caring about the consequences. Truly, they are careless. Even when one of the Whites goes to rehab, you feel she is obligated to go rather than she wants to. She would much rather party-hardy, but instead must do the right thing.

Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine serve as producers of this project. There is a sense of their Jackass style here. Every cut seems like it's missing "Hi, I'm "so-and-so" White and this is how we inhale fumes!" I like the style, and it's good to see there is a different direction stemming from the Jackass boys.

The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia is one of those documentaries that is not filled with morals. The message is basic; "we do what we want, when we want, accept the consequences, whatever they me, and we embrace the fun we are about to have." I respect it, but still, am sort of disgusted by their way of life. It's interesting and unique, but they keep saying they want their kids to have a better life when they do nothing to put them on the right track.

But them again, I'm a suburban boy. It's not like they care what I think. They're out having fun, and living life. How can we yell at them for that? Starring: The White Family. Directed by: Julien Nitzberg.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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