The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia
- 2009 / 84 minutes / United States
- Directed by Julien Nitzberg
- Included in Tribeca Film Festival (2009)
Tucked deeply in the hills of the Appalachian Mountains, the White family lives an existence more like something out of the Wild West than modern-day rural America. The legendary family is known as much for their disturbing and excessive ways as they are for their famous mountain tap dancing legacy, which includes living legend Jesco White (star of the PBS documentary Dancing Outlaw). From MTV Studios and executive producers Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine (Jackass), this edgy and often hilarious look into a dying breed of American outcasts exposes the powerful forces of corruption, poverty, and West Virginia's environmentally and culturally devastating coal mining culture.
Julien Nitzberg follows the Whites over the course of one year to document their tangled history, intelligently weaving a jaw-dropping portrait of a family that will live on in infamy. From stabbings and attempted murder to drug trafficking and a child custody battle, the Whites run the gamut of 'drama.' Nitzberg brings humor and levity to the White's shocking lifestyle, but he is quick to ground us in their cyclical, brutal reality.
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If you'd thought the outlaw lifestyle of the West was dead, you'd be mistaken-- it can actually be found in the mountains of Boone County, West Virginia.
This film is about the Whites, a coal-mining, tap-dancing, pharmaceuticals-abusing family that is notorious in their home town.
The documentary was directed by Julien Nitzberg, who had previously made a doc about Jesco White and was pretty much told by the producers (Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine of Jackass) to live with the Whites for a year while documenting their daily life.
After cutting down their 540 hours of footage to 84 minutes, they have made an impressive history of the entire family. It's funny, and it's sad, but you will no doubt wonder how they are able to sustain their lives (a topic which is given too little attention in the movie).
In this film you will see:
* a White doing a line of coke after giving birth
* a White being convicted for the attempted murder of his uncle
* almost every White threaten someone's life
* a White give his mom (or aunt?) a tattoo while on Xanex
* some really impressive tap-dancing