I’m excited to announce that in 2015, on the third Thursday of every month, Matchbox Cineclub will be making The Old Hairdressers Glasgow a home for all our favourite cinematic orphans, outcasts and outliers. We’ll be showing films you most likely won’t see anywhere else – weird movies, cult movies, lost and banned movies, even films that have simply slipped through the cracks and deserve another look.
We’re launching with a double bill that defines cult appeal – The Beaver Trilogy (2001; 1979-85) and Rubin And Ed (1991), both showing by kind arrangement with their director, Trent Harris. The former is a prescient consideration of fame culture, a fascinating exposition on the interplay between fact and fiction, documentary and drama, essence and performance…and your only chance to see painfully young incarnations of Sean Penn and Crispin Glover perform Olivia Newton-John songs in clumsy, earnest drag. The latter, Rubin And Ed, is another true American original – a deadpan, tilting-at-windmills masterpiece of outsider art, as well as a curious pop culture footnote. Free entry to one and all and all are welcome, 7pm-late – tell your friends!
The Beaver Trilogy is a genuinely unique experience. It’s three short films, with each sequel a considered escalation of the previous instalment. The first, The Beaver Kid (1979) is a documentary short on a subject almost literally stumbled upon by Harris while testing a new colour video camera outside a Salt Lake City TV station. Panning across the station’s car park, Harris’ camera finds Groovin’ Gary, a fame-seeking missile hailing from nearby Beaver, Utah. In town seemingly with the sole purpose of getting on TV, Gary’s so excited at the chance meeting that he basically just gushes infectious enthusiasm, jibber jabber and dubious celebrity impersonations. Harris himself is so enthused he then follows Gary to Beaver to capture his preparations for a local talent show – a show Groovin’ Gary plans to headline in full drag, performing as “Olivia Newton-Don”.
In the “sequel”, The Beaver Kid 2 (1981), Harris recreates the events of his own documentary, almost shot-for-shot, as a work of fiction, casting an actor to play himself…and a pre-Spicoli Sean Penn to play “Groovin’ Larry”. Harris reuses footage from the original short even as he recreates his encounters with the Kid from one remove, jettisoning the first person immediacy of his documentary and adding new scenes to create a more satisfying dramatic arc. The third film, The Orkly Kid (1985), takes another swing at the fictional treatment, but expands the story even further. This final time around, Harris cast Crispin Glover (in the same year he appeared as George McFly in Back To The Future) as the Kid, transposing the action to the fictional town of Orkly and rounding out the cast with some other familiar ’80s faces, including Courtney Gains (later to play young Hans Klopek in The ‘Burbs) and Elizabeth Daily (already the star of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains, Walter Hill’s Streets Of Fire and Tim Burton’s Pee Wee’s Big Adventure).
Just a few years later, Harris cast Glover as the co-lead of Rubin And Ed (1991), a compellingly strange picture. Also starring Howard Hesseman and Karen Black, Rubin And Ed is notable in part for its association with Crispin Glover’s legendary appearance on Late Night With David Letterman. In 1987, a full three years ahead of the film’s release, Glover appeared in full costume – conspicuous wig, platform boots and wacky trousers – with no explanation. Oh, and also out of his mind on drugs. Anyway, that was the impression people got, and it’s kind of difficult to counter after watching Glover, having narrowly missed Letterman’s head with a clumsily performed, platform-booted karate kick, clutching for the host’s shirt as he tries to abandon the stage of his own live TV show. With a quintessentially early ’90s score often oddly reminiscent of Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’, Rubin And Ed itself is a genuine, dyed-in-the-wool, no-kidding original, and that’s before you even get to the water-skiiing cat.
There’ll be more up-to-date information at the Facebook event page, here.
And we’d be more than delighted if you said hello over at Matchbox Cineclub’s Facebook page, here.
And if you’re so inclined, check out our trailer and some of our Video On edits over at Vimeo, here.