Which is the best of the three vignettes that make up The Beaver Trilogy
? Is it the short documentary from 1979 that captures a fame-hungry small town eccentric in a parking lot? Or is it the dramatic reinterpretation of this footage by a young Sean Penn that is, along with Jeff Spicoli, the best performance of his career? Or is it Crispin Glover's pastiche of Sean Penn's drama? The brilliance of Trent Harris' film is that the more self-conscious the performances, the greater the spectacle and the less successful the affect. Glover's over-the-top camp is so entertaining and so forgettable, but the goofy laugh of original subject "Groovin' Gary" is the one of the most haunting character tics in cinema, so open and then instantaneously, fractionally so self-aware and self-hating.
The editors of Not Coming to a Theater Near You will introduce The Beaver Trilogy tomorrow night at 92YTribeca.