The Beaver Trilogy
- 1h 23m
In 1979, filmmaker Trent Harris visits the small town of Beaver, Utah to film a talent show. Impressed by a performer called Groovin' Gary, he recreates Gary's act in 1981 with Sean Penn and... Read allIn 1979, filmmaker Trent Harris visits the small town of Beaver, Utah to film a talent show. Impressed by a performer called Groovin' Gary, he recreates Gary's act in 1981 with Sean Penn and in 1985 with Crispin Glover.In 1979, filmmaker Trent Harris visits the small town of Beaver, Utah to film a talent show. Impressed by a performer called Groovin' Gary, he recreates Gary's act in 1981 with Sean Penn and in 1985 with Crispin Glover.
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 screened at the Lincoln Center in New York City in July of 2000. Beaver Trilogy unveils the inner world of a fantastic character compelled to hide, yet at the same time, tell the world about his secret life. —Strand Releasing <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I like it.
This movie is amazing for several reasons. Harris takes an extremely awkward documentary and turns it into a relevant social commentary. Groovin' Gary is a small-town kid who is (assumed) well-liked for his many impersonations. When he decides to play Olivia Newton John in a local talent show (for whom he is very passionate), Gary's actions show that he is at odds with the conservative social environment in which he lives. This results in him making various justifications for his actions so that people will not think that he is in fact a transvestite or other such social outcast. In the second installment, Harris exploites the struggle between Gary and Beaver in a novice attempt to make a narrative out of the original documentary. The third and final installment to the trilogy is truly amazing for Harris' extreme sensitivity with the subject. Unlike the second installment, "The Orkly Kid" shows Gary as a truly troubled character. He struggles to gain acceptance within his own community to no avail. His secret passion for dressing like Olivia Newton John distances him even further from the people that already consider him a social outcast. The movie is depicted so realistically that, like reality, it lends itself to many reactions. Surely, one can see Gary as a ridiculously pathetic character, but may also identify with him as an outcast.
- Mar 30, 2004
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