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Daily Blarrrgh: Dancing Outlaw Coming to the Big Screen

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At the height of the strange filmic subgenre affectionately known as the "Rupert Pupkin documentary," a genre popularized by American Movie and bowdlerized by Windy City Heat, sits the drunk, demented, one-legged granddaddy of them all: Dancing Outlaw. If you've never seen Dancing Outlaw, then stop right here. I don’t mean stop reading this review, I mean stop everything else you are doing in your life and get a hold of this movie immediately. (There's a sequel too!)


Dancing Outlaw is a feature-length documentary originally produced for West Virginia public TV about Jesco White, "a hard-living, tap-dancing Boone County resident whose repeated run-ins with the law have interfered with his dream of becoming a renowned mountain dancer like his late father." Not only do viewers get to meet the three different incarnations of Jesco's personality, we get to meet his wife long-suffering wife Norma Jean ("I took the butcher knife and put it up to her neck. I said if you want to live to see tomorrow, you better start fryin' them eggs a little bit better then what you a fryin' em - I'm tired of eatin' sloppy, slimy eggs!"), his sister Mamie ("I'm the meanest one and the biggest one!") and an assortment of friends and relatives so odd, I would have sworn this was a put-on if I didn't know better.

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It's hard to imagine anything topping Dancing Outlaw, but Vice Films is about to try. They're funding the fiction feature White Lightnin' - The Jesco White Murders the story of Jesco White's "uphill battle against abject poverty, drug abuse, petty crime and mental instability in his struggle to live up to his father's legacy as the finest mountain dancer on his home turf and beyond."

Written by Vice's Shane Smith and Eddy Moretti, the film will be the feature film debut of British commercial director Dominic Murphy. Why is a British company funding and producing a film about one of America's semi-secret heroes? I have no idea. But if Kate, Cate et. al can drop their accents to play Yanks, then British actor Ed Hogg (Alfie, Brothers of the Head), can pick up a Boone County twang.