Raindance Film Festival: I Thought I Told You To Shut Up!!

Directed by Charlie Tyrell
Narrated by Jonathan Demme
Interviews with Matt Groening, Ed Asner, Dave Thomas and Kevin Pollak

by Joanna Orland

In 1977, cartoonist David Boswell created comic book anti-hero Reid Fleming, the World’s Toughest Milkman. Nearly thirty years later, the Hollywood movie adaptation still remains in contractual limbo. Director Charlie Tyrell examines the origins of Reid Fleming, the timeline of the film that never was, and the enduring fan base that makes Reid Fleming worthy of his own documentary I Thought I Told You To Shut Up!!.

Listed as one of The Simpsons creator Matt Groening’s 100 Favorite Things, Reid Fleming has had a cult fan base since his debut. “I don’t know if Homer would’ve been bald if I hadn’t seen Reid Fleming,” says Groening of the World’s Toughest Milkman. It’s not only Groening who features in this film, but other fans including Kevin Pollak, Ed Asner, and Dave Thomas who wrote a draft of the script for the Reid Fleming movie that never was.

Imagine what could have been with Robin Williams, Jack Nicholson, Bob Hoskins, John Lovitz, Jim Belushi and Bill Murray all being envisioned for the title role. But Warner Bros never made Reid Fleming’s movie, and the film rights belong solely to them, leaving Fleming destined for nothing but comic book cult status.

Director Tyrell looks to rectify this by giving Reid Fleming and David Boswell another chance at cinematic life in this documentary short. Not only are interview subjects talking about the history of Fleming and singing his and Boswell’s praises, but beautiful animation is used to tell the story, breathing life once again into Reid Fleming. Perhaps this taster of Fleming in motion will give Warner Bros the nudge they very much need to bring Reid Fleming out of their vaults and straight to the big screen!  They really need to stop pissing on our flowers.


Our interview with director Charlie Tyrell.


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