It begins in 1979 with the chance meeting in a Salt Lake City parking lot where filmmaker Trent Harris is approached by an earnest small-town dreamer from Beaver, Utah. Harris jumps at the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Groovin' Gary ...
Himself (segment "The Beaver Kid") (archive footage)
...
Groovin' Larry (segment "Beaver Kid 2") (archive footage)
...
Groovin' Larry (segment "The Orkly Kid") (archive footage)
...
Merril (segment "The Orkly Kid") (archive footage)
John Bluto ...
Byron (segment "The Orkly Kid") (archive footage)
...
Terrance (segment "The Orkly Kid") (archive footage)
Lila Waters ...
Mother (segment "The Orkly Kid") (archive footage)
Shane McCabe ...
Mr. Larson (segment "The Orkly Kid") (archive footage)
...
Carrissa (segment "The Orkly Kid") (archive footage)
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Storyline

It begins in 1979 with the chance meeting in a Salt Lake City parking lot where filmmaker Trent Harris is approached by an earnest small-town dreamer from Beaver, Utah. Harris jumps at the chance when the young man invites him to come to the small town of Beaver to film a talent show. At the show, the man dons black leather, blond wig and performs in drag as Olivia Newton John. Harris captures it all on tape. What unfolds is a strange, funny, and ultimately poignant portrait of a true outsider. Not willing to let the story go, Harris then created a dramatic piece, "Beaver Kid 2" based on the documentary. This interpretation, shot in 1981 on a home video camera with a budget of $100, features the young Sean Penn as the Beaver Kid re-enacting the same scenario. Still possessed, Harris then rewrote the script, cast Crispin Glover in the lead, and in 1985 created the final segment, "Orkly Kid" as an American Film Institute project. The three pieces were re-edited, compiled, and finally ... Written by Strand Releasing <strand@strandreleasing.com>

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20 January 2001 (USA)  »

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Trivia

The second short film, "Beaver Kid 2," reportedly had a budget of only $100. See more »

Connections

Edited from The Beaver Kid (1979) See more »

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New York City Rhythm
Performed by Groovin' Gary
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User Reviews

 
A Cult Gem With A Young Penn & Glover.
17 January 2014 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Three words can best describe this collection of 3 short films- one documentary and two dramatic re-enactments- by Trent Harris, of Rubin and Ed fame: SHEER F**KING BRILLIANCE!!! OK so here's the story...

The first film "The Beaver Kid" (1979) kind of fell into the lap of Channel 2 news cameraman and future filmmaker Trent Harris- you just can't write sh*t like this!! One day while doing a camera test in the Channel 2 parking lot in Beaver, Utah, Harris came across a man who was outside the station shooting photos. When the man, who would turn out to be our protagonist Larry Huff, noticed he was being filmed, he approached Harris and told him that he does impersonations. Harris humoured the man, and got him to do a John Wayne impression for the camera. The tape ended up becoming tangled in the camera, and they had to cut the interview short, but before leaving Harris asked Larry whether there were any other exciting stories in Beaver...and if he knew of any ...to get back to him.

It turns out (as revealed in the subsequent two dramatic re-enactments of the two men's relationship) that Larry had gone to the station that day to try and get on TV; on some expose on locals. Larry was turned down, but fate was in his favour that day and he would achieve the mediated immortality that he so gravely sought- as a result of his happenstance meeting with Harris.

A few months later Harris received a letter from Larry asking him to cover the Beaver talent show- with the headliner being him impersonating Olivia Newton John (with who he is absolutely obsessed). Knowing comedic brilliance when he sees/hears it, Harris quickly agrees and heads back to Beaver to meet Larry.

Harris and his soundman meet up with Larry the day of the talent show as he is getting his make-up done....by the local mortician (the best/only aesthetician in town). As he is getting made up Larry reflects on his adoration for Olivia and discusses what he hopes to achieve with his performance. What he wants most isn't really clear- to become famous...or to become Olivia...

Next we are shown the coverage of the talent show, from which it is revealed how talentless the town of Beaver really is. The act culminates with Huff's rendition of an Olivia Newton John ballad in full dragged out garb. Truly the most embarrassing performance I have personally ever witnessed (except for Crispin Glover's re-enactment in the third film- "The Orkly Kid"). The first film ends here with a final performance by Larry (no-longer in Olivia form) and his band.

The second film, "The Beaver Kid 2" (1981), is a low-budget dramatic re-enactment of the story behind the filming of the original documentary, shot in black and white and starring Sean Penn as "Groovin' Larry". In this film we are provided with a little bit of a back story (which has been incorporated into the above paragraphs) as well as a bit of follow-up information. I don't want to give away TOO much, because it's just way too f**king funny. But I will say this...it is roles like this that have made Penn the infamous actor that he is today!

And Harris wasn't finished yet... Still obsessed by his experience with Huff, he decided to re-make the re-enactment, but this time with a little bigger budget, better equipment, and a young Crispin Glover cast as Larry. This third film is called "The Orkly Kid" (1985) and is a little closer to how the actual events and dialogue are portrayed in the first film, but again with the back and follow up elements of the story included.

The performances by both Penn and Glover in the latter two films are nothing short of hilarious....but Glover's performance as Larry as Olivia Newton John in the talent show is so atrocious that it nearly had me pissing my pants!

You may not be able to write brilliance like this...but you sure as hell can adapt it, as Harris proves!! Sure it's cheese, but who said cheese couldn't be artistic gold. This is a must see....especially if you are die hard Penn or Glover fans.

9 out 10. For both the concept and execution on a budget.


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