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Country Boys

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David Sutherland, the filmmaker who broke our hearts back in 1998 with The Farmer’s Wife, his six-and-a-half-hour documentary from the Nebraska heartland, returns to PBS’s Frontline with another six hours: Here, his cameras follow two teenage boys in eastern Kentucky over a three-year period as they try to get through high school in spite of such lurid family dysfunctions as poverty, disability, domestic abuse, abandonment, alcoholism, embezzlement, and even suicide and murder. (Not to mention trailer camps, Taco Bells, learning disorders, tattoos and body piercings, heavy-metal music, and an unforgiving God.) What does seem to be steadfast for both Chris Johnson and Cody Perkins is an alternative school in Appalachia, where dedicated teachers encourage troubled teens to think for themselves and actually start up such ambitious enterprises as a school newspaper or a choir group, after which maybe even college is imaginable.

Channel 13
January 9, 10, and 11, 9 p.m.


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