I remember the day I discovered “Weird Al” Yankovic I became instantly obsessed. It in the springtime and I was watching The Box when suddenly the music video for Amish Paradise came on. Being the average elementary school student during the mid-90’s, I loved the song Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio (even though I mostly hated all rap music), so as soon as I saw Amish Paradise I was amazed. I never knew you could do that to songs!
I immediately bought his album Bad Hair Day. But that didn’t fulfill my obsession so a week later I purchased a VHS tape that contained all of his music videos. Not only did this introduce me to a bunch of songs over the years but it also contained the music video for the song UHF which for me acted like a trailer for what looked like a crazy movie.
I went out and rented it that day, then I watched it. After I watched it, I watched it again. It was the most bizarre film I’d ever seen. Even the films that Al drew his inspiration from (films by the Marx Brothers, Mel Brooks and Zucker Brothers) don’t have nearly the level of strange insanity that UHF contains.
The story follows George Newman and his best friend Bob who can’t seem to keep a job. One day his aunt and uncle hire George as the manager of failing UHF station Channel 62. Through their weird staff of people Raul (who hosts an animal show in his apartment), Kuni (who hosts the game show Wheel of Fish) and the over the top Janitor/Kid Show host Stanley Spadowski (Played by pre-Kramer Michael Richards) they’re able to become the number 1 station in the neislen’s.
Using this simple plot Weird Al and his manager Jay Levey were able to really cut loose with comedic and bizarre parodies of commercials, TV shows and movie trailers. Ranging from such insanely bizarre parodies as Gandhi 2 and a commercial for Spatula City.
This movie was predicted to save Orion Pictures due to it’s insanely positive test audience reaction. However the film went up against films like Ghostbusters 2, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Batman, Lethal Weapon 2 and Weekend at Bernies. This and poor critical reviews are attributed to it’s low box office numbers. Regardless the film became a cult classic throughout the 90’s.
This November I attended my first ever Weird Al concert. In between songs he plays clips from his various TV and Movie appearances on giant TV Screens so he has time to change costumes. At one point he played the Wheel of Fish segment from this. When Kuni asked ‘do you want the red snapper or what’s in the box?’ the entire audience started screaming “box”. It was then I realized this film has the potential to be on the same level as Rocky Horror Picture Show one day (if given a proper midnight screening).
<------ 96. Ghostbusters
94. Charlie Bartlett ---->