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Documentary ‘Shut Up Little Man’ a look into neighbors’ lives

Courtesy of Tribeca Film

Imagine your neighbors next door yelling out at the top of their lungs and in a drunken voice, “Shut up little man, shut up little man.” It may seem funny or odd, but some may wonder what’s going on next door.

When Eddie Lee Sausage and Mitchell Deprey moved to California in 1987, they went on an adventure that led to “Shut up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure,” which will debut at the Gateway Film Center on Friday.

The documentary retells the story of Sausage and Deprey when they lived in a bright pink apartment building in San Francisco, which they blessed with the name “Pepto-Bismol Palace.”

The two lived next door to Raymond Huffman and Peter J. Haskett, two men who spent their days arguing, hitting and swearing at each other. Sausage and Deprey made fun of the two, but after several weeks, they were curious to find out what was really going on.

This poses the question of why people get so caught up in other peoples’ lives without knowing them.

To make things more interesting, Sausage and Deprey recorded their neighbors’ rants and conversations with a homemade tape recorder and without their neighbors’ permission.

After several hours of recorded conversations, they shared the cassette recordings with family and friends, and soon Huffman and Haskett were a viral hit. People named songs after them, made comic books, plays and even T-shirts, and repeated their rants.

The two didn’t think there was any way that a film about crazy, alcoholic neighbors would make it to a Sundance Film Festival.

But it did.

The movie grew on me. I found myself interested in what this adventure was all about. I was able to put aside the fact that it was a low-budget film and looked like it was made on one of those cheap movie-maker programs.

I guess that’s when my curiosity kicked in, and just like Sausage and Deprey, I wanted to know more about Huffman and Haskett. I learned that these characters had tormented lives, dealing with homosexuality, abuse and alcoholism.

It may not be the movie I would recommend for my friends, but it does make you think of those odd individuals in the world. You always have that weird neighbor that never comes out of their apartment or that is overly social and noisy.

Either way, you just don’t know people until you live with them.


Grade: B

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