From Hollywood To Dollywood
The things that important in childhood help shape you as an adult. For a pair of brothers, their childhood love of Dolly Parton has led them to write a script to help them exorcise their emotions about their sexuality and the stance their family takes. "Hollywood to Dollywood" is a wandering journey of coming to grips with yourself and what it takes to make a dream come true.
Reality TV contestants Gary and Larry Lane love Dolly Parton, one of the memories from their childhood that has helped their entire family bond. They have written a script for a film that they want their favorite icon to star in, and have decided to drive from Los Angeles to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, to hand the script to Parton herself. Along the way they discuss what it was like to grow up gay in South, and how Dolly Parton has affected people.
In the beginning of the film the Lane twins come across as borderline obsessed with the singer in a way that could end with a restraining order. They are determined to get her to read their script and won’t leave until the script is in her hands.
Making matters worse, they talk to some industry friends before taking off to get advice. People like Chad Allen, who’s also a producer on the film, Dustin Lance Black, and Leslie Jordan, who encourage the brothers on their plan. But the encouragement seems halfhearted, similarly to the way all kids in little league are given trophies regardless of how bad their team might be.
"Dollywood" works best in the final moments, when the main storyline is the focal point. Throughout the rest of the film, there isn’t a clear focus as the Lane twins jump between talking about their personal experience and the impact of Dolly’s work and career, as well as talking with other people about their experience of being gay. They would have been better suited with the help of a more thorough editor to weed out the extraneous material and give the film a more cohesive narrative.
The emotional pull comes from the twins trying to get through to their religious mother by sending her a copy of their script, which deals with all of the issues they can’t talk to her about directly. Not enough time is spent on this subplot, and the brief footnote it gets in the epilogue doesn’t help much to explore the situation with their mother.
The journey to get to Dollywood is more of the story than the end result. The brothers have poured their soul into the film. They may have tunnel vision about their ambition to get their film made, but the movie that’s resulted doesn’t have a clear idea of what it wants to accomplish.