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Askew Review 15

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(Aspyr Media) Documentary. Approx 30 minutes. Not rated. Every year for the last 70 years or so, the lil’ town of Shamrock , Texas partakes in a rather odd contest. Commencing on January 1st of the year, clean shaven male contestants grow a Donegal (beard like facial hair growth that follows the jaw line; think of a leprechaun). Come St. Patrick’s Day, the contestants line up to see who has the thickest and best looking Donegal. This documentary follows three townie contestants, and one hairy arse outsider who hopes to buck the trend of home town victors.
Although I found the up close and personal shots of the men shaving rather yucky (you need to see how these old farts shave. Ouch!), I found Growin’ a Beard to be an amusing and entertaining documentary with great small town charm. The main emphasis of the doc swirls around the contest, contestants, and town officials, but Director Mike Woolf does a nice job incorporating the history of Shamrock and some of its local landmarks. Along with the main documentary, this DVD is loaded with extras; three audio commentaries, outtakes, a “How Not to Make a Documentary” featurette (which is damn funny), world and Shamrock premiers, and a photo gallery of Shamrock’s 1939 St. Patrick’s Day festivities. However, the best extra is an approx 10 minute short documentary, “The 72oz Steak;” which documents one man’s quest to eat a 72 oz steak, a salad, shrimp cocktail, and rolls all for the sake of getting the meal for free. Just watching this one will fill yer belly. Hell, you can give it shot, just visit The Big Texan Steak Ranch in
Amarillo , TX . Also included is the CD soundtrack for Growin a Beard by The Gourds (folksy/Irish music). Oh wait, there’s even more. You also get a small booklet and an official Shamrock permit that allows the holder to be clean shaven on St. Paddy’s Day (would normally cost you one buckaroo, bucko!). Ah, watch the DVD for a better explanation. I enjoyed this set, and think I may even grow a Donegal…- Denis Sheehan



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