The other day I came across this movie/documentary entitled The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia (2009). The date says 2009 but the documentary was made in 1991 and I don't know the explanation for the 18 years time span. In any event I give this a 2.5 stars and if you have good command of English language deciphering the accents, you may enjoy this movie.
I think it is not a documentary in the classic sense but if you're intersted in life in Applachia or at least knowing about it this would be a good movie to watch. Not Oscar worthy by any stretch of imagination but some entertainment! They also have English subtitles because they know many of the red blooded Americans themselves will have a hard time understanding the accents!
This film is about the White family whose family patriarch was Donte Vixen Ray (Donald Ray) White (1927–1985). D Ray (pictured in this blog) was a Mountain Dancer and you can see him in this other (PBS?) documentary Talking Feet: Solo Southern Dance: Buck, Flatfoot and Tap and he is shown in 72:33 of the video and goes about 12 minutes or so.
D Ray like most other people in rural West Virginia started as a Coal Miner and was upset about the way Mining companies treated the Miners by paying them in Mining company "money" which was only good in the company store and couldn't be spent anywhere else. This way the Mining companies were really keeping the Miners as slaves and the practice went on for quite a while.
D Ray went on to become a Mountain Dancer and an Entertainer but I don't think he made much money out of it. In the Wild and Wonderful movie they say that he understood Social Security very well and worked the entitlement system to get free Government money for himself and the family. One daughter admits she "asked" to be a certified as crazy so she could get disability and get high and drunk all the time! I don't know the legality of many of the incriminating things that they say or do in this movie. By the way this is not a movie for children to watch. R rated. The Sheriff says they've had more problems with the Whites in Boone county than any other family in the history of WV!
D Ray and his wife had 13 children and the movie is really not about D Ray but the White family. ALL 13 children ended up being fucked up to the nth degree! I mean they themselves talk about as being one fucked up family and they don't even know why or how to explain it! You know the expression that some parents use for their child(ren) not amounting to anything? Well these 13 children sure proved it!
Few of the 13 died in accidents, stabbings and basically for being fucked up one way or another! D Ray himself was killed in a fight and his daughter's boyfriend started the fight. Another one was shot by his nephew 3 times and when they interviewed the nephew in jail he said he doesn't know why he really shot his uncle and thinks because he has a good relations with the Judge he'll get suspended sentence. He got 50 years to life with eligibility for parole in 25 years!
The most famous of the 13 is Jesco White who made another film which you can find in the links above. He is famous but fucked up none-the-less! He snored so much gasoline that Doctors diagosed him as being brain damaged with a hole in his head! He also got a tattoo with 2 faces next to each other, one being Elvis (happy) and one being Charles Manson (dead man living :-).
The rest of the clan are on drugs, entitlements and talking drunk and all. One of them has a baby but the State won't let her take the baby home because she is too fucked up and the baby will be in danger! So after a while she decides to have one big party and go rehab the next day, hung over and all! The party scene itself in a bar, probably the only bar, in the backwoods of WV is a treat!
Legend has it that Sargord's family is about 1/32 related to the White family! I usually don't recommend watching trailers but in this case you may want to watch this trailer and see if this is your cup of tea. So put on your tapping shoes and ask the family to gather up and dance some mountain dancing and howling! Hooooooooooouuuuuuu!
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