PART IV TRILOGY
(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