NOW Magazine - Hot Docs - - Reviews -

(Brad Besser, U. S.). 84 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNN In 1979, Trent Har­ris was testing a new video cam­era in the park­ing lot out­side a Salt Lake City TV sta­tion when a young man who called him­self Groovin’ Gary wan­dered up and started talk­ing to him. Har­ris wound up fol­low­ing him to a tal­ent show in Beaver, Utah, where Gary sang an Olivia New­ton-John song in drag.

Har­ris turned that footage into a short, and then re­made it twice – once in 1981 with a then-un­known Sean Penn chan­nelling Groovin’ Gary, and again in 1985 with Crispin Glover in the role. Pack­aged in a trip­tych as The Beaver Tril­ogy, those shorts have fas­ci­nated cult video afi­ciona­dos ever since. Now Brad Besser’s Beaver Tril­ogy Part IV fi­nally un­packs them, ask­ing key ques­tions like “Who the hell was Groovin’ Gary?” and “What did Har­ris hope to achieve with his re­makes?”

The an­swers are stranger than you might ex­pect – and that’s re­ally say­ing some­thing. NW Apr 26, 9 pm, TIFF 3; Apr 27, 1: 30 pm, TIFF 4; May 3, 12: 30 pm, TIFF 2

(Jeremy Coon, Tim Sk­ousen, U. S.). 104 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNNNN Back in the early 80s, long be­fore YouTube, a group of then 11-year- olds at­tempted to do a shot-by-shot re­make of the block­buster Raiders Of The Lost Ark us­ing a bor­rowed cam­era, DIY sets and their imag­i­na­tions.

They con­tin­ued for seven years, film­ing dur­ing sum­mer va­ca­tions, com­plet­ing all but the fa­mous air­plane scene. Years later the VHS tape was found, and thanks to folks like Eli Roth and Harry Knowles, earned a cult fol­low­ing.

Now decades later, they re­unite to film that miss­ing scene, bring­ing with them adult wis­dom, a few old grudges and new money and safety is­sues. The re­sult is an af­fec­tion­ate, sus­pense­ful and mov­ing look at in­ge­nu­ity, fandom and friend­ship. The film is lov­ingly struc­tured, care­fully edited (although I’m not sure the spliced in in­ter­views of ac­tor John Rhys- Davies are needed) and is sheer fun.

If Cri­te­rion ever re­leases Raiders on Blu- ray, this would make a wicked ex­tra.

GS Apr 26, 9: 30 pm, Hart House; Apr 28, 4 pm, TIFF 1; May 2, 6: 30 pm, Re­vue

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