Hollywood To Dollywood
A hot ticket at Film Festivals around the country, John Lavin's documentary about gay twin brothers (Gary and Larry Lane) who travel from Hollywood to Dollywood to give Dolly Parton a script they wrote is a heartfelt journey through personal discovery and living out your dreams.
"Hollywood to Dollywood" follows Gary and Larry's trip from when they rent an RV they name Jolene (after one of Dolly's most famous songs), to their hopeful meeting with Dolly herself. Coming from a strict religious upbringing, the boys kept their sexuality a secret until the age of 25 and as a result have had to deal with a lot of heartache. With parents that have yet to come to terms and a community in which they are put on a pedestal, anything that makes them stand out could be disastrous. With this backstory, the two spent five years writing a script called "Full Circle" to star Dolly Parton. Before making the trip, they asked industry friends like Chad Allen to give them notes on the script (the most obvious being that it's 160 pages - at least 50 pages too long) something that they oddly should have done before planning the trip. But the trip is on a time crunch.
With the anniversary of the opening of Dollywood coming up and Dolly clearly expected to appear, the two decide to drive to Dollywood and personally hand her the script. Having scored passes to the celebration of the park, the two begin their journey (along with Gary's boyfriend) with high hopes. Along the way they encounter tornadoes, Hurricane Katrina's aftermath in Louisiana, and the usual obstacles of getting close to their superstar.
Gary and Larry are charming enough and their dream is adorable in its earnestness. Whether the script is any good is suspect when you have Academy Award Winning Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black giving a vague and generic pep talk and then diplomatically stating to the camera that it needs some work. Seeing as how the film includes 15 Dolly Parton songs and she appears on camera, it's safe to say Dolly is aware of the boys and their script and it just makes you wonder what she ultimately thought of the whole thing. I also wondered how the film was received by their family especially since their non-acceptance of the boys' sexuality is the issue that engendered the whole thing.
That said, it's a cute movie about two boys with a dream. It will be enlightening for straight audiences to understand how not being accepted by family affects your entire life and to see the unconditional love the boys have for their family. As darling as the film is, it almost demands a follow-up.
DVD Bonus Features were not available for review but include "Deleted Scenes," "New Dolly music," extended interviews, outtakes, and more.
"Hollywood to Dollywood"