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Barbecue: A Texas Love Story
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by Scott Weinberg

"It's more than a sauce; it's a state of mind..."
4 stars

An entire documentary dedicated to...barbecue? Well sure! Keep in mind that the definition of 'barbecue' will vary greatly depending on where you live. To Alaskans, 'barbecue' is a sauce you buy at the supermarket; to Texans, barbecue is a religion.

If you're looking for a good subject for a light-hearted documentary film, your best bet is to choose a subject that's close to your heart - and it's plainly clear that director Chris Elley has a lot of love for the barbecue. His scrappy little documentary ranges all over Texas in search for the world's best barbecue and the colorful folks who create them.

This is not just a case of one guy going from backyard to kitchen with a film crew; Elley delves deep into Texas culture and presents an eclectic variety of devoted cooks...and their supremely satisfied customers. From huge family reunions to statewide competitions to the best kept secrets in the tiniest corners of Texarkana, Barbecue: A Texas Love Story presents a goofily sincere and entertaining travelogue of the world's finest cooked cow.

Former Texas governor Ann Richards narrates, while a few famous Texans drop in to savor the snacks. Newsman Dan Rather lends his two cents on the Texas Barbecue and the impacts it has had on Southern politics for generations.

But mosty Barbecue is about community; these down-home folks simply love to get together, pound several beers, and eat the best-tasting dishes they can possibly cook up. And if you've ever been a guest at a real barbecue (not some little suburbs thing with a propane tank and a stupid apron), you can see what all the excitement's about; nothing tastes better than a barbecued burger or a few messy ribs. But, not surprisingly, it's the 'communal gathering' aspect of the county barbecue that keeps the Texans so happy. People could stay home and eat this stuff...but now where's the fun in that?

If somebody ever gets around to filming a documentary about the legendary Philadelphia Cheese Steak, I hope it's done with the same amount of good humor and respect for the local culture that's evident throughout 'Barbecue'. Just make sure you eat BEFORE you watch this one...

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8863&reviewer=128
originally posted: 03/23/04 03:39:02
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2004 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/06/09 glenn felts Best BBQ film ever! Viva LaKiva! 5 stars
4/22/04 Susan Stanford Very funny! Texans at their best. 5 stars
3/27/04 Hilarium Tedious 2 stars
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