{2jtab: Movie Review}

The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia


Tim's Movie Challenge Review

Challenge submitted by Frank Wilkins

The first movie challenge is here, and what a spectacle it was. A documentary (of sorts) regarding a family of hillbillies basically from West Virginia. They're not your typical hillbillies... wait... yes they are. But these hillbillies just so happen to account for a majority of Boone County's crime. Notorious for their escapades and extremely proud of each member of their posse, the White family has garnered quite the following - this particular outing being the third documentary.

I had to watch this with the subtitles on. I couldn't understand a damn word these people said half the time. The documentary seemed to be inspired by the popularity of Jesco White, the Dancing Outlaw. Jesco, who as of 2009 looks like a (more) deranged Henry Rollins (you know, of Black Flag), seems to be the only legitimately sane person in the bunch - despite his bizarre motivations and questionable antics during his bouts with depression and drug addiction. The rest of the family plods along selling drugs and robbing general stores. They smoke pot in front of their elderly grandmother, and they snort pills in hospital rooms. There's no kind way of putting this - these people are crazy.

But their craziness is a strong enough bond. A major complaint with the documentary is how it's just an informative piece of film, letting us all know that there are people like this out there - which we all knew. It's heart breaking, even for hillbillies. It's a humanizing view, but polarizing at the same time. On the one hand they let their children drink six cans of caffeine infused soda before lunch, talk about stabbing their ex-boyfriends - then the next they are losing their children to CPS and their grandmother is having a stroke.

I'm not a big documentary watcher. I tend to look at everything with a skeptical eye. I understand the desire to depict this family coupled with the hardships they go through. I'm impossible for me to feel sorry for them though. I don't give out sympathy to people who snort coke in the bathroom while pregnant singing the gospel of Jesus and how much they believe in Christ. I'm lead to believe that they are a fearless clan because some worked and still work in the coal mines which formulates a revenge tactic placed by the head honcho D. Ray, to exploit the short comings of America and the seedy underbelly of our government programs.

It's meant to evoke a response from me, but I don't have one other than this: the White family fulfills the stereotype. Perhaps they are the originators for the stereotype. Drug addiction. White trash. Living off of Social Security Disability. If there's anything to gain from Wild and Wonderful Whites... I really don't know what it is. Entertainment perhaps? It's certainly not boring. It's not shocking to see a family like this, it's not even all that appalling. It's merely a depiction of the people you don't like. Now feel sorry for them... if you can.

{2jtab: Film Details}

The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West VirginiaMPAA Rating: This title has not been rated by the MPAA.
: Julien Nitzberg
Jesco White
: Documentary
The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia
Memorable Movie Quote: "Wanna hear the West Virginia mating call?" [shakes bottle of prescription pills]
Dickhouse Productions
Official Site:
Release Date: April 2009 (Tribeca Film Festival)
DVD Release Date: October 26, 2010

Synopsis: This revelatory documentary on Jesco White and his West Virginia clan deals with all sorts of wild and wonderful subject matter, including but not limited to tattoos, gunplay, spousal stabbing, and heavy prescription drug abuse ... speaking of which, Boone County mating call, anyone?.

{2jtab: Trailer}