By Chris Gore | March 22, 2001

Based on an infamous series of prank phone call tapes, “Shut Up Lil Man” recreates the abusive relationship of two old men with puppets. Yes, puppets. With character designs right out of a Jim Henson production, these foul-mouthed muppets, swear, brow beat, scream and abuse. Legend has it that this tape was recorded somewhere in northern California by a nosy neighbor who was a constant witness to the strange arguments of this odd couple. Filmmaker Mike Mitchell set these original tapes to the antics of some rascally puppets.
I actually made a film similar to this called “Red.” I cast classic actor and tough guy Lawrence Tierney in the lead and retold the story of the “Tube Bar” tapes using a series of still photographs cut to the audio. My personal assessment of “Red” is that it’s just okay – basically it’s too long and would make a better seven-minute film than the 30 minute version I completed. “Lil Man” is a hoot and works much better (I have to be honest) since the sight of the normally cute puppets belting out a series of swear words like s**t, f****r, m**********r is just damn funny. Great stuff!

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