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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
Wild Subject Matter Just Doesn't Have the Legs to Carry a Feature
The story of Raymond and Peter, mean drunks and awful roommates whose constant shouting matches - committed to tape by frustrated neighbors - made them an unwitting, unsuspecting pair of underground celebrities. Like the thematically-similar Winnebago Man, the quest to learn more about these clueless cult legends is much more rewarding than what's actually at the end of the trail. While the focus hovers on revisiting the tapes, hearing the men who recorded them reminisce about the glory days, and watching dozens of talking heads throw on a headset and burst into genuine fits of laughter, it's a light, cheery smile a minute. Later, when the inherent humor of the material begins to run out, the whole picture begins to look downright pathetic. Hearing about the legal struggles that surrounded the story's film rights, witnessing the self-important ruminations of the guys who held the mic, seeing how confused and flabbergasted Peter was about the phenomenon, captured on film years later... these actually take away from what made the tapes so enjoyable in the first place. As a momentary distraction, an escape from the mundane to voyeuristically laugh at the worst state of the human condition, the tapes are in their element and at their best. This level of over-inspection only rubs away the veneer and many of the laughs.
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