The Beaver Trilogy
"The Beaver Trilogy" (2001) is a
documentary filmdirected by Trent Harris, featuring "Groovin' Gary", Sean Penn, Crispin Gloverand co-starring Courtney Gains and Elizabeth Daily.
"The Beaver Trilogy" combines three separate vignettes that were filmed at different times, in
1979, 1981, and 1985. The first, entitled "The Beaver Kid", is a short documentary about the exploits of "Groovin' Gary", a performer that filmmaker Harris happened upon while filming for a Salt Lake City, Utahnews station. Harris was testing out a color videocamera that the station had just acquired in the parking lot of his workplace when he stumbled upon Gary taking photographs of their news helicopter. Gary immediately launched into a number of celebrity impressions, including John Wayneand Sylvester Stallone. Although Gary is seemingly very personable and humble, he also alludes to intense needs for fame, recognition and mass approval.
Several weeks after they first met, Harris traveled to the small town of
Beaver, Utahand filmed Gary, a rabid Olivia Newton-Johnobsessive, as he staged a talent show that featured Gary dressed in full drag singing the Newton-John song "Please Don't Keep Me Waiting". Gary refers to his onstage alter-ego as "Olivia Newton-Dawn".
The second installment, called "The Beaver Kid 2" features Sean Penn as "Groovin' Larry" Huff in a dramatic interpretation of the original documentary. It was filmed on black & white videotape and also incorporated some scenes from the original documentary. "The Beaver Kid 2" was shot on a budget of $100.
The trilogy is completed with "
The Orkly Kid", in which Crispin Glover reprises Penn's role, this time referring to his onstage persona as "Oliva Neutron Bomb". "The Orkly Kid" was shot in color film, is considerably longer in length and more professional-looking than the first two acts, and also features a number of new supporting characters and plot twists.
The film was also featured in the public radio show
This American Lifein the episode entitled, "Reruns." The episode first aired December 6, 2002.
According to Ira Glass, in the broadcast of "This American Life" referenced above, "The Beaver Trilogy" has not been released on DVD. The film was once posted on YouTube in 10 segments but is no longer available. [http://www.boingboing.net/2007/01/02/the_beaver_trilogy_o.html]
The original filmmaker self-distributes DVDs in the Salt Lake City area.Fact|date=August 2007 As of 2007, the Salt Lake Film Society has a copy for rent which is available at the Tower Theatre.
*imdb title|id=0256639|title=The Beaver Trilogy
* [http://www.cc.utah.edu/~th3597/orkly.htm Official Site]
* [http://www.thestopbutton.com/2006/02/20/the-beaver-trilogy-2001/ Review at The Stop Button]
* [http://www.thislife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?sched=1162 This American Life episode Reruns]
* [http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/movie.html?v_id=239375 New York Times review]
* [http://www.indiewire.com/people/int_Harris_Trent_000723.html Trent Harris interview with IndiWire]
* [http://www.filmmakermagazine.com/archives/online_features/beaver_trilogy.php Trent Harris interview/review with Filmmaker]
* [http://www.geraldpeary.com/reviews/the/beaver-trilogy.html Review at GeraldPeary]
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