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Review of documentary The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia

Updated on September 8, 2014

The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia is a documentary introduced at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2009. It follows three generations of the White family, who live in Boone County West Virginia, for one year.

Jesco White is the son of the famous mountain dancer Donald Ray "D. Ray" White and has followed in his fathers footsteps. Jesco White's story has been chronicled in both documentaries The Dancing Outlaw and Dancing Outlaw II. In 2009, Jesco's story came to the big screen in the award-winning indie film White Lightnin'.

The documentary chronicles the White families joyous moments, tragedies (some self-inflicted), along with family members battle with alcoholism and drug addictions with an occasional scrap with local law enforcement.

I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about the truth and accuracy of this documentary when I saw that Johnny Knoxville was one of the Producers. If you recall, Johnny Knoxville starred in such comedies as MTV's Jackass series and the movie about the Special Olympics called The Ringer.

I feel that this documentary, through first person interviews, accurately portrayed the trials and tribulations of the White family. It seems the White family, along with other families living in Appalachia mining towns, have this fatalistic, live for the moment, mentality. This fatalistic mentality was probably a learned trait caused by losing so many loved ones who worked in the dangerous mining industry.

This movie captivated me and kept my attention through the entire 88 minute run time. I highly recommend this movie for both its entertainment and reality value.

Dancing Outlaw
Dancing Outlaw

Documentary film about Mountain Dancer Jesco White and his uphill battle with poverty, drug abuse, petty crime and mental instability.

White Lightnin'
White Lightnin'

Great movie about Jesco White's life.


Trailer for the documentary The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia


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