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. (NR, 83 min.)
Stick around for a Q&A with director Trent Harris via Zoom after the film!
Our story begins in 1979, with a 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 to film a talent show. At the show, the man dons a blond wig and performs in drag as Olivia Newton John. Harris captures it all on tape: A portrait of a true outsider. Harris shot a dramatic piece, “Beaver Kid 2” based on the documentary; This interpretation of the story, made in 1981 on a home video camera with a budget of $100, features a young Sean Penn as “the Beaver Kid”. Still possessed, Harris then rewrote the script, cast up-and-comer Crispin Glover in the lead, and created the final segment, “The Orkly Kid”, with funding from the American Film Institute. The trilogy unveils the inner world of a fantastic character in three incarnations. [Letterboxd]
Starring: Groovin' Gary, Sean Penn, Crispin Glover Director: Trent Harris Genre(s): Documentary, Comedy, Drama