Movie: "UHF"
Year: 1989
Rated: PG-13
Genre: Comedy
Directed by: Jay Levey
Writing credits: Weird Al Yankovic and Jay Levey

Reviewer: -RoG-
Posted: 3/6/2008

Plot: George Newman (Weird Al) is put in charge of a fledgling UHF cable access TV station and tries to turn things around for it with his wildly imaginative ideas for new shows.

Review: The fact that Weird Al's one and only movie was yanked (no pun intended) from the theaters after a week just goes to show that some people don't notice a good thing even if you staple it to their face. While it has thankfully become a cult classic over the years, Yankovic never did another movie, and if it had done better in theaters, I bet he would have. It's a damned shame because, my oh my... what an underrated comedy masterpiece UHF was.

First off, the cast is absolutely perfect. Naturally, you've got Weird Al in the lead as George Newman, a guy who's been fired from every job he's ever had who really wants to make his new Channel 62 TV station job work out. He's also a guy who makes a mean Twinkie-wiener sandwich. Kevin McCarthy plays R.J. Fletcher, the evil head of a rival VHF network affiliate station. He wants nothing more than to see George's puny UHF station vanish from the face of the earth. For those of you not in the know, VHF stations had all the high-quality programming, while UHF stations generally had more low-budget shows. Anthony Geary plays Philo, who seems more like an oddball mad scientist than a guy handling all the background technical operations of the station. There are plenty of other recognizable cast members too, but I don't think there's any denying that the true star of this film is Michael Richards as Stanley Spadowski.

Stanley Spadowski is a childlike, jittery janitor who truly lives for the joy of making something clean. When he's fired from the VHF station by R.J. Fletcher, for something he didn't even do, George hires him to be the janitor on the UHF station. For a while, things really aren't going well at Channel 62... that is until Stanley takes over the Uncle Nutzy's Clubhouse show and makes it Stanley Spadowski's Clubhouse. His maniacal energy and wild antics (such as letting a kid drink from the blast of a fire hose) turns it into an instant hit with audiences, and suddenly the UHF channel is back on the map. What's great is that even though Stanley is the star of a new hit TV show, he still wants to be the janitor because he loves scrubbing those toilets.

From that point onward, it's just a nonstop ride of wacky show concepts such as "Wheel of Fish", "Conan the Librarian", "Secrets of the Universe", "Raul's Wild Kingdom", and "Town Talk With George Newman". These shows are all so damned good it makes you wish they really existed.

Of course, when word gets around to R.J. Fletcher about the success of Channel 62, he makes plans to shut them down. For those of you who haven't seen the movie, I'm not going to spoil it for you, but suffice to say, it's a damned good watch. UHF is stupid fun humor at its best.

I should also mention that the soundtrack for UHF, done entirely by Weird Al, is easily one of my favorite albums of his. It features some of the commercials for the film such as "Spatula City" and "Gandhi II" but also includes new songs such as "The Hot Rocks Polka" (easily one of his best polka compilation tunes to date) and "The Biggest Ball Of Twine In Minnesota", which is an original tune proving just how talented and hilarious Weird Al really is. So do yourself a favor and pick up both the movie and the soundtrack for a weirdtacular good time. If you don't, you must be, as Kuni would say, "STUPID! You're so STU-PIIIIIIIIIIID!"

Weird Al may never do another movie, but at least we can always look back on UHF and enjoy its comedic genius. And if that doesn't satisfy your weird cravings, you can always look to his extensive library o' music videos. In closing, I leave you with the wise words of our hero, Stanley Spadowski:

"Life is like a mop. Sometimes life gets full of dirt and crud and hairballs and things and you gotta clean it out. You gotta stick it in here and rinse it off and start all over again. And sometimes life sticks to the floor so much that a mop, a mop, it's not good enough. You gotta get down there with like a toothbrush, you know, and you gotta really scrub 'cause you gotta get it off. But if that doesn't work, you can't give up. You gotta stand right up. You gotta run to a window and say, "Hey! These floors are dirty as hell, and I'm not gonna take it any more!""

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeWhole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Guitar Hero virgin
Mar 6th, 2008, 05:10 PM
oh and good review
Mar 6th, 2008, 05:48 PM
Yes, for a very long time this has been one of my favorite movies. Especially Conan's face when he finds out the customer's book are being returned late.
but it still damn hurts.
Mar 6th, 2008, 06:00 PM
Mar 6th, 2008, 06:05 PM
BADGERS? We don't need no stinkin' BADGERS!
Fake Shemp
Mar 6th, 2008, 07:40 PM
If that little kid hadn't cracked a smile after hawking that huge clam right on Al/George's nose, it might well have been the funniest moment in theatrical history. As it turned out, it was pretty gd funny even with the smile goof.

Would love to say I caught this in the theater during the week it was out - sadly, I did not. Fortunately it hit cable pretty quick, and the copy I made got enough viewings to wear it thin thin thin until eBay landed me a VHS copy. Finally the gods smiled and released it on DVD
Forum Virgin
Mar 6th, 2008, 08:05 PM
OH, RoG, only a 4 pickle rating? This film made 'Amazon Women on the Moon' look like 'Kentucky Fried Movie.' Of course, I am biased, having fallen in love with Al in 1985, when I was 9. When this hit video it blew my tiny mind.
Fake Shemp
Mar 6th, 2008, 08:24 PM
RoG - IMHO this movie deserves to be a full feature review - not just a quickie Weekly
Mr. everywhere
Mar 6th, 2008, 08:27 PM
i want to see it now
The Magnificent Bastard
Mar 6th, 2008, 09:18 PM
First of all, I second Ferrit's idea.

Also, I so wish Weird Al would make another movie. I have a feeling it would be much more successful these days. I think UHF was just ahead of it's time.

Oh well, I guess he's too busy with his music videos, etc. to make another one.

BTW, anyone here seen his Trapped In The Drive-Through vid, yet? It's hilarious.
Pickled Patriarch
Mar 6th, 2008, 10:08 PM
Originally Posted by plooker View Post
OH, RoG, only a 4 pickle rating? This film made 'Amazon Women on the Moon' look like 'Kentucky Fried Movie.' Of course, I am biased, having fallen in love with Al in 1985, when I was 9. When this hit video it blew my tiny mind.
4 pickles is a very good rating. I just try to reserve my 5 pickle ratings for my ultimate favorites. A lot of sites out there hand out perfect ratings all too often, so I wanna be honest with all o' my reviews in terms of what I think of 'em. I generally don't think much of sites who hand out perfect ratings constantly, just doesn't seem like you can take their opinions seriously. UHF rules though, no doubt about it and Weird Al was a huge influence on me as a kid and the fact that he's still just as good these days as he was back then says a lot about just how talented he is.

Originally Posted by Ferrit View Post
RoG - IMHO this movie deserves to be a full feature review - not just a quickie Weekly
Honestly, I don't think it does. I generally give full feature reviews to a) undiscovered gems that hardly anybody has seen or b) cheesy movies with an amazing amount of unintentional humor.

An intentionally hilarious movie like UHF would be hard to do my usual commentary on, because nothing I say would really add onto it. I've been working on a big feature movie review all this week and it should be up sometime next week... I guarantee it won't disappoint. Action, cheese, the works.

We now return you to Stanley Spadowski's Playhouse, already in progress on Channel 62.
Fake Shemp
Mar 6th, 2008, 11:45 PM
Point taken. Looking forward to the next big feature movie review. They're what give my life purpose

I'm thinking of something orange....something orange....orange....give up? It's an ORANGE!!!
Mar 7th, 2008, 01:20 AM
I first saw this movie about four years ago or so, whenever it was that it came out on DVD. I loved it right away but it made me wish I saw it when I was a lot younger since this seems like nostaligic-about-childhood kind of movie.
Forum Virgin
Mar 7th, 2008, 03:03 AM
Great flick, BIG EDNA!? BIG EDNA!? I recently named a gigantic sledding hill I made with some friends "Big Edna."
Mar 7th, 2008, 03:21 AM
FUN TRIVIA: R.J. Fletcher's son is played by the same guy who was Jambi the Genie on Pee-Wee's Playhouse
Forum Virgin
Mar 7th, 2008, 04:34 AM
This flick had completely slipped my mind. I was not even aware that is was available on DVD. Damn! I'm going to have to pull out my box of old VHS tapes and give this a look. Christ! I must be the only person on the planet that still has a VCR. I hope the heads don't need cleaning.
lurking on the walls
Mar 7th, 2008, 07:44 AM
i love this movie, the only reason it did bad in theaters was because it was released the same time as Batman and Indiana Jones
Last of the Time Lords
Mar 7th, 2008, 07:51 AM
I love this movie to death. It may have flopped (C'mon! It was competing with Batman and Indiana Jones!) but I'd rank it up there with Airplane and Naked Gun for fans of wacky comedies.
Retardedly Handsome
Mar 7th, 2008, 10:03 AM
The was one of the best movies to come out in the 80's. When he is Rambo and blowing everything up and just yelling is incredible. It's almost like he saw into the future and was preparing for the new John Rambo movie.

The UHF sound track was the first cassette that I ever bought. I still have it in my car. The odd thing is I don't have a tape player in it anymore. I guess I should clean my car one of these days. I think I could talk about that soundtrack all day.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go enjoy a nice Spam sandwich.
Forum Virgin
Mar 7th, 2008, 11:27 AM
A friend of mine still has his ticket stub from the day he saw it.

One of my alltime favorites. Some of the better shows on it were Celebrity Mud Wrestling and Bowling for Burgers with Chef Bernie.
Emu Emu is offline
Level 29 ♂
Mar 7th, 2008, 12:15 PM
The only thing I really remember about this movie is the Conan sketch, because when they played it on Comedy Central they cut out the part with the kid being sliced in half, but they left the sound in so that it happened off screen. It actually made it a lot funnier.
Forum Virgin
Mar 7th, 2008, 02:15 PM
I must have seen this right when it hit theaters because I definitely saw it there. I remember it running with a trailer for Nightmare on Elm Street 5 (I think) that I was too scared to watch.
Mar 7th, 2008, 03:14 PM
I was a big Al fan as a kid and remember seeing this in the theater on opening day. I liked it, but thought it was missing more music. I would've given it 3 1/2 stars then and I'm sticking with that rating now.
is hopped up on goofballs
Mar 7th, 2008, 03:41 PM
Forum Virgin
Mar 7th, 2008, 03:46 PM
My MOP! MY MOP! You don't understand my dad gave me that mop!
My favorite line.
Mar 7th, 2008, 08:23 PM
I saw some other movie where they referenced the "Supplies" gag but I don't remember what it was. Kind of how the "Rectum, damn near killed em" joke is.
Crazed Techno-Biologist
Mar 7th, 2008, 11:08 PM
I love this film!
It waas well transitioned in piece to piece,
and the story in itself was ridiculous.
i wonder why,
he never made another one. =[
Mar 8th, 2008, 12:08 AM
It truly is a shame that this movie was pulled out of the theater.
Basement Monkey
Mar 8th, 2008, 12:29 AM
I love when he puts the dog in the punch bowl and when he eats the twinkie hot dog.
plastic bag
Mar 8th, 2008, 08:23 AM
UHF is amazing, one of those movies i can watch over and over again and not get sick of, so many classic bits.

everyone should try a Twinkie wiener sandwich at least once in there lives.
Simpson's Trivia King
Mar 9th, 2008, 01:16 AM
I'm sorry Rog, i know you've already explained this, but to give that film anything less than five pickles is blashemy....
Forum Virgin
Mar 9th, 2008, 07:52 AM
Oh, man. One of my favorites for sure. That boulder scene is both gratuitous and awesome.
Mar 9th, 2008, 11:58 AM
Haha, I started reading through the comments and was planning on posting "Supplies!" but I was beat. This movie is amazing. I've gotta pick this up on DVD and watch it again. I really miss Weird Al's old tv show, too.
Pickled Patriarch
Mar 9th, 2008, 03:32 PM
Fiercealmond, damn straight! The Weird Al Show was shot down waaaay too early. Highly underrated at the time and I still say it has one of the best theme songs I've ever heard for a TV series. Speaking of it, I reviewed the Weird Al Show's Obligatory Holiday Episode a while back... be sure to check it out if you haven't already.
Official forum judge
Mar 9th, 2008, 10:21 PM

Also I miss the TV show too
Forum Virgin
Mar 10th, 2008, 12:36 AM
sailin the seas o cheese
Jun 25th, 2008, 02:05 PM
the other day i found it and it was the deluxe vershion with deleted secenes and aperntly wierd al thinks its crap
Jun 26th, 2008, 12:27 AM
weird al thinks YOU'RE crap