Directed by: Jay Levey
Writing credits: Weird Al Yankovic and Jay Levey
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!""
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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.
RoG - IMHO this movie deserves to be a full feature review - not just a quickie Weekly
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