Thursday, September 5, 2019
Weird Al Watch: UHF (1989)
Format: Amazon Streaming
Viewing: No idea. Must be a dozen
My claim to fame is that I saw this movie twice in the theater. Once - because it was summer, Weird Al had a movie, and it was mid-afternoon. The second time I caught it was the day before I started high school, kicking off the tradition I kept up through college where you got and see a movie the day before the school year starts so you're thinking about something else.
You've either seen UHF (1989) or you haven't. Starring "Weird Al" Yankovic, already quite famous by 1989 thanks to several hit novelty records and MTV airplay, the movie is basically a bunch of music videos and really funny sketches tied together with a razor-thin plot about running a broke, non-network TV station on the edge of town. It's an underdog story about big corporate stations being run by mean people vs. underdogs who break the mold and come out on top thanks to creativity and a sense of community. Or something.
It's also a reminder of how much weird comedy could get in the 1980's, with skits like Gandhi II and Spatula City, and that firing a firehose into a kid's face can be hilarious in the right circumstances.
The cast is weirdly impressive when you realize it features both Michael Richards and Fran Drescher just before they broke big just a few years later, but also Emo Philips, Billy Barty, David Bowe, Victoria Jackson, Gedde Watanabe, David Proval and a handful of "oh, that guy!" actors. And, of course, in a stunning coup of casting brilliance - Kevin McCarthy as the evil network affiliate owner and operator.
I dunno. There isn't much to say about the film. It's still fun, even when you know not everything aged well or fallen out of relevance. But a lot of it still has that magic (ex: Conan the Librarian continues to work all too well).
And I genuinely like some of the gags, like the homeless guy asking for change to break a dollar. Just gold.
Anyhow- for some early Michael Richards genius and pre-Nanny Fran Drescher, you can do way worse. And Weird Al is just funny as all hell in this thing.