In 2011, we told you all about Beaver Trilogy, a one-of-a-kind collection of three short films. Ostensibly, director Trent Harris’s Beaver Trilogy is about a chance meeting with a charming teenage kid from Beaver, Utah, who also happens to be an Olivia Newton-John impersonator, but the picture is so much more than that. A 2015 documentary examines the trilogy, the director who couldn’t let the story go, and the alluring, mysterious teen known simply as “Groovin’ Gary.”
Beaver Trilogy touches on a range of topics, including serendipity, celebrity, reality vs. fiction, small town life, exploitation, manipulation, obsession, regret, guilt, and fate. Part of the cult surrounding the film has to do with the fact that when Harris made fictionalized versions of the “Groovin’ Gary” story (parts two and three of the trilogy), he cast two future stars in the lead role: Sean Penn and Crispin Glover.
The original “Groovin’ Gary” (the documentary tells us his real name is Richard “Dick” Griffiths).
The 2015 documentary, Beaver Trilogy: Part IV, is a must-see, even if you’ve never had the pleasure of viewing Harris’s movie. I’m hesitant to go deeper into the Beaver Trilogy, as we’ve covered the film, but I also think anyone who’s intrigued will really enjoy it and the doc, so why go any further? I will say that the documentary reveals there is redemption for both Harris and the kid from Beaver he’s forever connected to.
Trent Harris has uploaded a few clips from Beaver Trilogy to YouTube, but the full film isn’t currently streaming anywhere. A DVD can be purchased directly from the director. It’s how I acquired the disc, and it’s always fun to spring on friends who are totally unaware of its existence.