In 1987 San Francisco, Eddie Lee Sausage and Mitch Deprey began recording the squabbles of their stranger than fiction neighbors, the bigoted Raymond Huffman and the out and proud Peter Haskett. The recital of the pair's outrageous reality quickly took on a life of its own. This darkly funny documentary chronicles the history of Raymond and Peter, as well as what happened to former slackers Eddie and Mitch, who paint a picture of not only their outrageous neighbors, but also of San Francisco's Lower Haight neighborhood in the late 1980s. Interviews with others who were influenced by the recordings document their broad influence on a variety of artists, near and far. Written by
It may actually be a plus that the director takes no moral viewpoint about the material, but it is disturbing that no one really sees the ugly moral, if not legal, ramifications of the exploitation of the two drunks. Yes, it is difficult not to laugh at any colorful alcoholic, as comedians have alway known, and the recent suppression of such humor may only add the laughs we are indulging in when we hear these two.
The pranksters, of course, went way past that and harassed them with prank calls, still, it could have been viewed as edgy, if caustic, humor. Those who went crazy for this stuff, however, are the type of people who kick a cripple, and watching the attempts to turn this fad into a big Hollywood payoff is car wreck time, you want to look away but you can't.
It's funny that the identity of the big name comic who wanted to do the movie is protected, the two losers are granted no such compassion or dignity. Indeed, the director displays no real interest in them other than as push pin dolls for comic derision. Who were they, really, and how did they get to such a desperate state of life? To ask these questions might have spoiled the fun of deriding them.
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