Movie Review - Hollywood to Dollywood
|The Lane twins with Leslie Jordan|
The twins go to Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black who penned Milk (2008). They go to him presumably for advice on the script, on how to touch or clean it up before presenting it to Parton. It's here that we get details about the script called "Full Circle," which is in many ways autobiographical, but we really don't have that much to know what the movie would be about or even if the twins' writing is any good. The only feedback we hear is that it's just too long. The script is over 160 pages, whereas most movie screenplays are between 80 to 120 pages.
This documentary was directed and edited by John Lavin. His interviews either prior to or after the road trip don't have any one speak to the quality of the twins' writing, the quality of their narrative, structure or characters therein. A few scenes of the twins in front of their laptop computer tweaking the screenplay are here, but we're not given much context. The extent of it is just they have to cut things. No criticism or even basic analysis is presented of this script. If the point of this trip is to deliver this screenplay, this important piece of writing, you'd want more of a focus on it.
The lack of focus on the writing suggests that either the writing isn't all that important or delivering the script wasn't really the point of the trip. The latter is possibly confirmed when in a crucial moment, the twins proclaim that both of them forgot the script and left it behind somewhere. So, it's evident that this journey isn't about the possible movie "Full Circle." They perhaps ostensibly wish it were, but in the recess of their minds, this whole thing is about something else.
What's fascinating is at the end the twins travel 2200 miles from California to Tennessee to hand deliver this semi-autobiographical script to Dolly Parton. From Tennessee, it's only a hop, skip and a jump to their homeland in North Carolina. In the epilogue, the twins admit that their mom did get a copy of the script, but that she mailed it back after only reading 10 pages. It just so happens that both twins are gay. Being from North Carolina, which is technically a southern state, their homosexuality isn't something that they discuss with their very conservative family, particularly their parents. There is no mention of them hand delivering that script to their mom as they did to Dolly Parton, which they could have done being that they were so close. Yet, given the numerous conversations they have in this documentary about their mom, I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't hand deliver the script to their family home in North Carolina.
Given the testimonials from gay men in Arkansas that are gathered, it's no question this movie is not about the twins' writing. It's not even about the fool's errand that is the goal of their road trip. No, this movie is about homophobia in the south and how in some situations it creates a 2200-mile chasm between gay boys and their parents with the substitute for love for more than a couple of those boys being found in a country singer with a huge bosom.
Ostensibly, this movie reminded me of My Date with Drew (2004), but I was way more invested in the outcome of that story than this one. I can't explain why except that I have no sense of the quality of the twins' writing, so I honestly couldn't care less if it led them any where or not. The twins are handsome, gorgeous-looking actually, and ernest in every single way. The two are also total GCB's, Good Christian Boys, but, beyond that I don't know if they have any talent. That, and their coming-out stories aren't ones that provide any additional insight or emotion to similar coming-out stories in the south that have already been committed to film.
Three Stars out of Five.
Not Rated But Recommended for General Audiences.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 17 mins.