Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure

Overview

Eddie Guerriero and Mitch Deprey were a pair of bohemian punk rock fans who moved from the Midwest to San Francisco in 1987, renting a decaying apartment in the lower Haight. Eddie and Mitch soon became fascinated with their neighbors, two elderly men who were also sharing an apartment and whose drunken, foul-mouthed tirades went on day and night. While they rarely met them face to face, Eddie and Mitch got to know snippy Peter and growling Raymond very well as their verbal battles bled through the walls. In ...
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Overview

Eddie Guerriero and Mitch Deprey were a pair of bohemian punk rock fans who moved from the Midwest to San Francisco in 1987, renting a decaying apartment in the lower Haight. Eddie and Mitch soon became fascinated with their neighbors, two elderly men who were also sharing an apartment and whose drunken, foul-mouthed tirades went on day and night. While they rarely met them face to face, Eddie and Mitch got to know snippy Peter and growling Raymond very well as their verbal battles bled through the walls. In time, Eddie and Mitch began recording Peter and Raymond's rants and passed cassettes of edited highlights to their friends. The hilarious and harrowing recordings developed a cult following among collectors of off-the-wall humor, and with the rise of the Internet, the recordings began circulating around the world, far beyond Eddie and Mitch's ability to control their path. When the tapes became the inspiration for comic books, short films, and theater pieces, Eddie and Mitch found themselves at odds over how to capitalize on the viral phenomenon, while Peter and Raymond were largely oblivious to their strange notoriety. Filmmaker Matthew Bate examines the story of four men and their curious brush with semi-fame in Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure. The film was an official selection at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
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Special Features

Extended interview: Ivan Brunetti; Deleted/extended scenes; Behind the scenes
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
Director Matthew Bate offers a probing, frequently fascinating look at the cult phenomena that formed around Raymond and Peter, a pair of drunken, foulmouthed roommates, whose verbal (and occasionally physical) smackdowns were recorded by their bemused young neighbors, then traded on tape by enthusiastic audiophiles back when cassettes were still king. But Bate doesn't settle for simply offering fans of those infamous underground tapes the opportunity to meet both the cheeky creators and their slurring subjects; he takes it a step further by actually inviting us to explore the anthropological implications of our compulsive voyeurism, and reveals how the Internet has only served to fuel that somewhat unsavory tendency by blurring our concept of personal privacy. The year was 1987. Eddie Guerriero (aka Eddie Lee Sausage) and Mitch Deprey (aka Mitchell D.) were two Midwestern kids seeking to start a new life in San Francisco who moved into a decrepit tenement building with paper-thin walls and a horrid pink exterior that quickly earned it the nickname "The Pepto Bismol Palace." Just a few days after moving in, Eddie was awoken in the middle of the night by the sound of his two next-door neighbors -- a tart-tongued queen named Peter and his alcoholic, openly homophobic roommate Raymond -- having a heated, profanity-laden row. At first Eddie was incensed, but over time he became fascinated by the verbal firebombs being hurdled on the other side of the wall, and invited Mitchell to listen in. Instinctively, Eddie and Mitchell strung a microphone on the end of a ski pole, and carefully held it just outside Raymond and Peter's window. It was the first in what would ultimately become volumes of recordings, which ultimately spread like wildfire as voyeuristic audio enthusiasts began trading the tapes on the underground market. Before long, there was a play based on Raymond and Peter's antics, and later, multiple parties even tried to get a film deal off the ground. But the more popular the Raymond-and-Peter phenomenon became, the more questions it raised about privacy and who held the copyright on the recordings. Years later, Eddie Lee Sausage and Mitchell D. reunite in an attempt to air out old grievances and to try to interview Peter (Raymond had died years prior). But the further along they get, the more complicated the situation becomes. Admit it -- when you're sitting home and you hear your neighbors' voices drifting through the wall, you perk up a bit. Are they fighting again? Perhaps having a particularly acrobatic round of lovemaking? Whatever the case, our curiosity often gets the best of us in situations where privacy and personal space conflict, and when those neighbors are Raymond and Peter, it's easy to see how that initial curiosity can quickly spiral into obsession. Those who have listened to the Raymond-and-Peter tapes over the years will no doubt embrace the opportunity to hear Eddie Lee Sausage and Mitchell D. reveal how they came to capture audio gold, but the reason Shut Up Little Man! is more than a mere pop-culture origin story is the way Bate frames the events in a cultural context, then opens it up for discussion amongst a variety of artists and audiophiles, including Ghost World author Daniel Clowes. Without their unique observations, it's likely that Bate wouldn't have had the material for a full-length feature. Likewise, an extended segment tracing the multiple efforts to turn the Raymond-and-Peter tapes into a feature film is fascinating in the way it reveals how our hunger for fame can drive us to commit transgressions that we may later regret, and a thoughtful meditation on the nature of ownership under such convoluted circumstances offers genuine food for thought in an era when repurposed "found footage" can warrant as much praise as original works of art. With a dynamic visual style that recalls such previous documentaries as The Kid Stays in the Picture and American: The Bill Hicks Story, Shut Up Little Man! only falters when Bate attempts to fall back on reenactments. Though it makes logistical and contextual sense to show Eddie and Mitchell in the act of confronting, taunting, and recording their belligerent neighbors, actually watching a pair of middle-aged men attempt to portray their younger, more-rebellious selves is ultimately more of a distraction than a narrative enhancement. By landing a crucial yet difficult interview late in the film with a man who occasionally lived with Raymond and Peter in the Pepto Bismol Palace, Mitchell gets some satisfying answers to a few lingering questions regarding the pair and even manages to give the story something of a poignant conclusion. It's hardly the most-interesting aspect of a documentary that dares to discuss some particularly challenging issues regarding art and privacy, but it does manage to offer a sense of closure to a story that seemed too strange to be true and to humanize a pair of men who seemed to revel in their inhumanity.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/24/2012
  • UPC: 767685261910
  • Original Release: 2011
  • Source: New Video Group
  • Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Time: 1:30:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 48,517

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Eddie Lee Sausage Participant
Mitchell D. Participant
Raymond Huffman Participant
Peter Haskett Participant
Tony Newton Participant
Daniel Clowes Participant
Ivan Brunetti Participant
Henry Rosenthal
Mike Mitchell Participant
Gregg Gibbs Participant
Mark Gunderson Participant
Technical Credits
Matthew Bate Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Julie Byrne Co-producer, Executive Producer
Steve Cleary Executive Producer
Tony Cronin Production Designer
Sophie Hyde Producer
Bryan Mason Cinematographer, Co-producer, Editor
Raynor Pettge Animator
Julie Ryan Executive Producer
Jonny Elk Walsh Score Composer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure
1. 237 Steiner [11:10]
2. The First Recording [9:23]
3. Spreading It Around [6:42]
4. Artistic Inspiration [9:45]
5. Cult Phenomenon [7:14]
6. Hollywood Deal [3:57]
7. Fight for the Rights [10:43]
8. Finding Peter [6:09]
9. Morlity Tale [7:48]
10. Human Art [5:05]
11. Talking to Tony [5:03]
12. Best Friends [6:34]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure
   Play Film
   Scene Selection
   Special Features
      Return to the "Pepto" / Presentation by American Express
      Extended Interview With Ivan Brunetti
      Recreations
      You, Sir, Sound Like an Idiot
   Audio Set-up
      5.1 Surround
      Stereo
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