7.4/10
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44 user 24 critic

Tully (2000)

R | | Drama | 14 April 2000 (USA)
Tully Coates, Jr., with his good looks and chiseled body, is the local heartthrob, and while he has a new girlfriend virtually every night, he's incapable of getting close to anyone. His ... See full summary »

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5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Earl Coates
...
Tully Coates Jr.
Bob Burrus ...
Tully Russell Coates Sr.
...
Ella Smalley
...
Wendy Adams
Joe Smalley ...
Brad
...
Clarence Heiting
Aaron Zavitz ...
Chuck
...
Dexter
...
April Reece
Vivek Kumar ...
Essa
John Durbin ...
Marshall
V. Craig Heidenreich ...
Burt Hodges
Natalie Canerday ...
Claire
Kathryn Gayner ...
Irene Duffy (photos)
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Storyline

Tully Coates, Jr., with his good looks and chiseled body, is the local heartthrob, and while he has a new girlfriend virtually every night, he's incapable of getting close to anyone. His younger brother Earl, the shy and sensitive type, frequents the local revival house. The only common bond between these disparate siblings is Ella Smalley, an intelligent and even-tempered young woman who returns to their Nebraska hometown to intern at a local veterinarian's clinic. Meanwhile, their father, Tully, Sr., a rancher who gets by with the help of his two sons, carries a brooding sadness, a hint of past wounds too long in healing. The family dynamic is changed forever when several secrets surface. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexual content
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 April 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Truth About Tully  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$21,162 (USA) (1 November 2002)

Gross:

$433,264 (USA) (28 March 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It was originally titled "The Truth About Tully" but was changed when Jonathan Demme's The Truth About Charlie (2002) was announced to be released around the same time. See more »

Goofs

The position of Dexter's red pick-up moves between shots during the scene at the Swimming Hole. See more »

Quotes

Tully: You know what? Why don't you just go fuck yourself?
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Connections

Featured in The 2003 IFP Independent Spirit Awards (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
3.5 stars (out of 4)
11 January 2003 | by (Silicon Valley, CA) – See all my reviews

Tully Coates, Jr. (generally just called "Tully," played by Anson Mount) and his younger brother Earl (Glenn Fitzgerald from "The Sixth Sense") live on a farm in Nebraska with their father, Tully Coates, Sr. (usually called "Mr. Coates"). We first see the brothers in a field goofing off. Earl is hurt when some dirt ends up in his eye, their father is not happy about this *and* that they aren't working, and Tully isn't too upset. This is pretty much standard operating procedure: their father has no sense of humor, Tully gets away with whatever he wants to do, and Earl comes out on the short end of the deal.

The other significant characters are the women. April Reece, who works as a stripper but prefers to call it burlesque, is seeing Tully and would like to make that exclusive. Ella Smalley (Julianne Nicholson, a bright spot from the last season of "Ally McBeal") is a tomboy friend of Earl's who is sort of interested in Tully but sees how he sleeps around. Tully and Earl's mother is unseen, having left the family long ago, but she is still an important character. And finally, Claire (Natalie Canerday from "Sling Blade"), the grocery store checkout woman, likes Mr. Coates and is probably my favorite character in the film, although it's a small role.

I won't cover the plot, since there are a number of twists along the way. That said, the characters and their interactions are the heart of this film, and if the outcome had been different the film would still have been worth watching. Every so often the acting felt forced to me, although there were also other times when I found the acting to be wonderful and I also gather that most other viewers did not feel the same way.

I saw this on 11/17/2002 at the Camera Cinema Club in Silicon Valley, CA. The director, Hilary Birmingham, was there to answer questions and to apologize repeatedly about the VHS copy that we were forced to watch due to a film print lost in transit. It actually looked substantially better than one would have expected due to the high end digital projector, and I'm told by the club programmer that the picture was only slightly cropped, from 1.66:1 to 1.33:1. The screenplay, which Birmingham helped write, is based on a short (15 page) story which took place over a substantially longer period of time than this film does. Birmingham's background is in literature and documentaries, and she cited "The Last Picture Show," "Badlands," and "Days of Heaven" as influences.

The film was shot in only 24 days, under sometimes difficult circumstances. A few scenes, for example, were shot in the director's parents' garage in Massachusetts in the dead of winter. The heaters were too loud to keep running during shooting, but it was so cold that the set cooled down too fast when the heaters were turned off. Eventually they had to wrap some insulation around the whole garage to keep the heat in. On the positive side, it rained for 14 days straight just before the farm scenes were filmed, but then *didn't* for almost the entire shooting schedule.

The film got distribution quickly, but almost as quickly the distributor went bankrupt. Since the distributor listed the film as an asset, it was held up. And since the distributor was Canadian, the filmmaker had to learn Canadian bankruptcy law in order to get her film back. So this really is a 2000 film that is just now being released.

Given my minor misgivings about the acting and the VHS "print," I would probably give this a lower rating by half a star, which would still make it a film worth seeing. My guess is that on actual film this is a gem well worth seeking out.


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