Movie Review-Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure

The documentary “Shut Up Little Man!” tells an oddly hilarious at times and fascinating and sad story about an underground phenomenon that began in the most unlikely of ways. In 1987, two Midwestern transplants moved into a cheap San Francisco apartment to experience the thrills of a big city existence. As their fates would have it, they were next door to some obnoxious loud drunk neighbors whose nightly rants crossed the line into some of the nastiest confrontations. The dysfunctional duo seemed an oddly matched pair–one a violent racist and the other an annoying pain in the ass. As the boys listened to the nightly fights and even tried to address the issue, they were met with indifference and threats. So they started recording the conversations. And as they shared the tapes with friends, more and more interest built up over the squabbling pair. Over the next couple of years, the cassettes were traded across the United States and a genuine pre-Internet viral sensation was underway.

The title to this film revolves around something that became like a catchphrase for the arguing. This film is very one sided as it is told mostly from the vantage point of the guys who made the recordings as they look back on the situation and revisit locations from many years ago. As they recount this story it’s hard not to be really into this story and enthralled by the horrendous arguments. And I found the whole scenario absolutely funny and at times very sad. I am a child of a family who at times did not know they were doing it, but were mentally abusive. And to sit thru some parts of this film was almost like feeling I was watching my own story. But as the film progresses, we see what happens in the years following the original events. That is when the film hit another note, emotional. This curiosity of what was happening turned into tapes and comedians and comic books and movie deals. Think about this, what if you were having arguments with someone and someone took those recordings and tried to make a profit off it? When you have no clue this is happening and people want to profit off of you. All these parasites that tried to get rich on stuff that was not even theirs.

The film was a very fascinating watch and will leave you thinking a lot once the ending credits go. The film was hard hitting at times, and hilarious at others, but raises a lot of questions as to would someone capitalize on our arguing if they knew they could and then try to make a profit? What price does privacy go for these days?

7.5 out of 10