Shut Up, Little Man!

“Do It or Don't” : Some Notes Toward a History of Shut Up, Little Man!

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“Do It or Don't” — The Shut Up Little Man movie, take three

In the fall of 1995 we were asked once again to convene in San Francisco to meet the latest screenwriter, Duane Dell Amico. Duane was working in tandem with the cult movie director, Neil Jimenez, who agreed to sign on as director of the film. Jimenez had essentially prophesied the nihilism and moral jaundice of disaffected youth (which later came to be called “Generation X”) in his cult classic, The River’s Edge. I for one was relieved and encouraged; I loved Jimenez’s work. Duane was definitely the most suave of the screenwriters we had encountered and, like Jimenez, could grasp the essential darkness and elemental hilarity of Peter and Raymond. Together, we walked around the old neighborhood, took pictures of the Pepto Bismol Palace, and shared a lot of stories about Peter and Raymond. Duane and I talked a lot about synchronicity, the process of Chance, and the Surrealist Paul Eluard, a poet we both admired. Mitchell and I were hopeful and confident that things had finally fallen into place. However, there was a disagreement between Jimenez, who wanted to concentrate on and heighten the darkness of the film, and one of the developers, who wanted to aim at a broader audience. It was around this time that Mitchell and I disengaged to a degree from the process and, metaphorically speaking, went to get popcorn.

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