Movie review of “Beaver Trilogy Part IV”: A shaggy-dog documentary made on a shoestring, the ironically titled “Beaver Trilogy Part IV” examines how seductive and destructive the desire for fame can be. Rating: 2.5 stars out of 4.
A shaggy-dog documentary made on a shoestring, the ironically titled “Beaver Trilogy Part IV” examines how seductive and destructive can be the desire for fame.
In 1979, a man named Trent Harris, shooting random footage in a TV station parking lot in Salt Lake City, happened to film a passer-by named Richard LaVon Griffiths. Griffiths was an engagingly goofy blue-collar guy with a silly laugh who loved to entertain people with frankly terrible impressions of such famous folks as John Wayne and, fatefully, Olivia Newton-John.
Being on-camera was his life’s dream. It turned into a nightmare when his performance as Newton-John, complete with high-heeled boots and awful long blond wig, apparently scandalized his hometown audience in the rural town of Beaver, Utah. This was the ’70s, remember.
Movie Review ★★½
‘Beaver Trilogy Part IV,’ a documentary directed by Brad Besser. 85 minutes. Not rated; for general audiences (but contains theme of suicide). Grand Illusion, through Thursday.
Harris filmed the performance and later re-created and dramatized it in two subsequent short movies starring Sean Penn and Crispin Glover, both just starting their careers.
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Those three short features, spliced together by Harris into the “Beaver Trilogy,” portrays a man descending into suicidal depression.
This movie about the making of those movies focuses on how Harris and Griffiths shared an obsession with fame via film and were radically changed by that obsession.