From Hollywood to Dollywood

“They’re cute, but I’m not sure I’d like either one of them as a boyfriend”, I told my friends as we walked out of the movie. “You mean they’re a bit high maintenance?”, one of my friends replied with a twinkle in his eyes. We were talking about the twin brothers – Larry and Garry – at the centre of the documentary film, “From Hollywood To Dollywood”.

Not only are they twins, but they’re gay, they’re from a conservative Christian background in a small town in America, and they’re big fans of Dolly Parton.

I really like Dolly Parton, but these guys really LOVE Dolly. In fact, they’ve written a film for Dolly, and this documentary records their cross-country road trip from Hollywood to Dollywood, and their desire to personally present Dolly with a copy of their manuscript.

Throughout the film we learn more about their lives. Their parents know, for example, they’re both gay, but it’s not something they “talk about” You sense a fair bit of anger from these two young men they’re unable to do fully share their lives with their parents. There’s one point in the film, though, when one of the twins says something like, “we’ve got to stop talking about mom in this way… she’s just one person… lots of other people… millions have these feelings too” (or words to that effect).

It’s perhaps the lack of parental acceptance that’s drawn them to Dolly Parton. Although, like me, they would have grown up listening to Dolly – “Coat Of Many Colours” is one of my earliest musical memories – I think it’s the fact that Dolly has been so forthright in her opening her arms up to her gay fans that’s part of the attraction. They mention, at one point, a song by Dolly which I’d never heard before called “Family”. They tell the story of putting it on their mother’s car sound system, and how she just cried and cried when she heard it.

From Hollywood to Dollywood

From Hollywood to Dollywood

When it’s family, you forgive them for they know not what they do
When it’s family, you accept them, ’cause you have no choice but to
When it’s family, they’re a mirror of the worst and best in you
And they always put you to the test
And you always try to do your best
And just pray for God to do the rest, when it’s family

Some are preachers, some are gay
Some are addicts, drunks and strays
But not a one is turned away, when it’s family
Some are lucky, others ain’t
Some are fighters, others faint
Winners, losers, sinners, saints, it’s all family

Like all “road” movies, it’s got a great sense of narrative. Will they meet Dolly? What will the circumstances be? Will they overcome the road-blocks along the way such as flooding?

At one point later in the film, a boyfriend of one of the twins asks, “Why did you want to drive across America; why not just catch a plane?” In response, one of them says something about how the road-trip was also an opportunity to re-write the script, and to meet other people whose lives have also been touched by Dolly Parton in some way. I’m not convinced that’s the entire story, but I’ll take it on face value.

Anyway, it’s a lovely film which I enjoyed very much.