Billed as a "new American romance" by writer/director Pablo D'Stair, Hully Gully is the kind of film that will be dismissed by a good majority of the American moviegoing public.
I know that. I'm pretty sure that Pablo D'Stair knows that.
Quite honestly, I doubt that he cares.
Okay, that may be a bit strong. I'm sure that Pablo D'Stair cares. After all, every filmmaker wants to have their film seen. Every filmmaker wants to have their film appreciated. I just get the sense that D'Stair, a grassroots publicist who relentlessly (but nicely) pursued a review on The Independent Critic (and I'm sure through other publications), is acutely aware that his is a unique voice that won't be completely embraced by everybody.
So, let's narrow it done. While I wouldn't call Hully Gully mumblecore, if you enjoy mumblecore you're likely to more appreciate D'Stair's unique vibe. If you enjoy Jim Jarmusch films, especially his earlier films, then you might very well enjoy this film.
If you've watched Coffee & Cigarettes on more than one occasion, there's a pretty darn good chance you'll embrace D'Stair's vision of a "new American romance."
If you've seen D'Stair's two other films from the past year, A Public Ransom and Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief, then there's also a really good chance you'll understand the world in which D'Stair creates this third film, a comedy that is soon to receive its indie DVD release but that you can already see in its 54-minute glory above this review.
Based upon D'Stair's 14-minute short film of the same name, which I just never found the time to review, Hully Gully is an immersive film that nicely utilizes music from the Sad Little Stars as we follow the story, and I mean that in the loosest sense possible, of a man (Carlyle Edwards) and a woman (Helen Bonaparte) as they live out the little moments that add up to the big moment that is our life, our relationships, and how we relate to one another.
Or maybe it's about something else entirely.
Hully Gully is a rhythmic film. The physical actions match the music. The music matches the scenes. The dialogue flows amongst it all as seeming transitions that don't always make sense and don't really need to make sense. The film is framed uniquely, an approach that allows us to feel both like observers and participants in the story that is unfolding.
It all made sense to me in a way. I mean, seriously. Have you ever found yourself sitting in a Denny's restaurant listening to a couple chatting away about something that to you just didn't matter at all? Have you ever found yourself watching a couple dining with one another, yet seemingly unaware of each other's actual existence?
More often than not, I sit somewhere and watch couples and find my inner voice shouting out "Thank God, I'm single" over and over and over again. Then, I listen to my own conversations that I have with my own friends and I think to myself "Man, I'm no different." It's all weird and mundane and irrelevant and yet absolutely essential.
That's Hully Gully.
Paul Vanbrocklin's lensing feels appropriate to what D'Stair has going on and, in some ways, it feels like a third character for the film. It's atmospheric and intimate and funny and says something even in the silence.
Again, that's Hully Gully.
Hully Gully isn't a perfect film, but with this type of a film being perfect would make it pretty amazingly unbearable. This is what it's supposed to be. It works. Or maybe it doesn't.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic