Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure
by Ruben R. Rosario
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The opening of Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure shows a definition of the meaning of audio verite, which consist of found audio recordings and prank phone calls. Thus begins a true audio adventure of 2 groups of men, the volatile Raymond and Peter and their merry prankster neighbors, Mitch and Eddie. After hearing Peter and Raymond fight constantly for three consecutive nights in a row, Mitch and Eddie decide to record them as a prank and try to make light of their living situation. Matthew Bate’s Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure is an examination of life imitating art and an exploration of underground cult sensations that precede the internet viral video era.
The film is an amazing look into the lives of two very dysfunctional men as well as an intriguing subculture of collectors of audio verite. The simple fact that Mitch and Eddie sort of created an underground sensation within this world as well as comics, stage plays and other odds and ends are as absurd as the material they recorded. The film uses all of the best elements to capture what it was like to live next to such volatile men as Raymond and Peter as well as get a glimpse of media can manipulated to create things as pop art. Director Matthew Bate does a fine job at making this doc as a quirky dark comedy with these two men as well as an examination of pop art itself.
One of the intriguing debates and questions that the film poses in terms of pop art is if Eddie’s and Mitch’s recordings and compilations are deemed as art. I would have to say that it is in terms capturing raw emotion and putting on display for the world to come to their own interpretation of such emotions on display. However, the way they did it was very wrong and seems pretty bad to peer into the lives of such individuals with no form of courtesy. Once we finally get a glimpse of the real life versions of Raymond and Peter, the film does a good job at discerning the differences between the tragic reality and the fantasy that has been created through the recordings.
Ruben R. Rosario is a graduate from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Audio for Visual Media. He works as a freelance location sound mixer, boom operator, sound designer, and writer in his native Chicago. He’s an avid collector of films, comics, and anime.
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