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Solidly entertaining documentary with good mix of history, pop culture and irreverence
In another of his consistently good BBC4 films, comedian Rich Hall turns his eye to Texas the place and the culture. I have been to the state twice but even those who have never been there will know that Texans do things bigger and that there is a cultural cliché to them as being rather brash and forward in a way that British people (such as I) may find surprising. This film sets out to look at the culture and people of the state and it lays out its stall in the opening monologue as Hall points out that mostly it is build on myths and historical simplification.
To present his case Hall travels around Texas, looking into the history and then, as with other films, spending a lot of time looking at the influence of old films and nostalgia. This isn't quite as revealing as I would have liked but it does still engage and entertain because of how well paced and structured the film is. The contributions selected are good and of course Hall himself makes for a great presenter as he has interest in his subject and a very relaxed but slanted view of life himself. Those who know his standup may be disappointed that they will not be laughing anywhere near as much, but it does have a constant tone of irreverent amusement to it which works well.
The film doesn't propose to be a history of the state or a real picking apart of the culture, so don't expect that, but it is an engaging and entertaining look at a very specific part of American culture and as such is worth seeing. It is a shame that these films haven't made it onto more popular BBC networks because Hall's US-focused documentaries are worth checking out for what they do well.
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