Sundance Review: Beaver Trilogy Part IV


Director:Brad Besser

Cast:Bill Hader, Trent Harris, Dick Griffiths

Running Time:84 Minutes


Salt Lake City, Utah in the 1970s can be a wild ride for someone that is a bit"¦different. Enter Trent Harris and Dick Griffiths, men who were made to entertain the world. By golly a name like Dick Griffiths alone is destined to be on the silver screen. He's the most talented impressionist that no one has ever heard of; until a chance encounter with a young filmmaker named Trent Harris. Together their journey is brought to a fitting conclusion by Brad Besser thanks to his quirky documentary Beaver Trilogy Part IV.

Besser gives the audience a dual look at the director behind the original Beaver Trilogy, Trent Harris, as this documentary chronicles his pitfalls as an avant-garde filmmaker. Thanks to box-office flops like Rubin and Ed and Plan 10 From Outer Space, Harris became a bit of a mix between the deplorable Ed Wood and enigmatic Tim Burton. With Beaver Trilogy Part IV, Harris reunites with his most famous subject, Groovin' Gary aka Dick Griffiths, a bellbottom wearin', Olivia Newton John impersonating kinda guy. If only Grease needed a stunt double, or an extra like Mr. Griffiths, we may be sitting here talking about his wonderful career, instead of John Travolta's.  This documentary reveals that in the film industry, some people seize their moment and others don't quite get a chance to reach their full potential. For Groovin' Gary, he tried to seize an opportunity, and then suddenly disappeared because he wasn't ready for the lifestyle and fame that came with it.  This was a man that lived big in a small town and maybe Hollywood didn't deserve him. 

Overall the documentary is clouded in mystery with more archival footage than I care to see. It would have worked better with up-to-date interviews and footage with Dick Griffiths. Also, some feedback from Crispin Glover and Sean Penn would have been ideal since they were tasked in reincarnating Griffiths in drag. It would have brought everything together and the audience would have gotten a better feel for their perspective on the legend of the Beaver trilogy.  Instead, this film falls short of its subject matter and demands a full-length documentary on Griffiths' life.  Maybe Harris can make a comeback of his own in honoring the man that put him on the map in the first place


About Matt Kerwin

Matt Kerwin

Leave a Reply