Are things about to get a little weird at your local cineplex? Famed song parodist, TV geek and MTV personality "Weird" Al Yankovic, who wrote and starred in the cult comedy UHF back in 1989, has a new movie in the works. He wrote it for Cartoon Network, but the channel has recently pulled the plug on all movie projects, leaving Weird Al with a script and a dream. Could the comedic genius (you heard us) end up in theaters again? We certainly hope so, because UHF is frickin' hilarious. Here are my ten favorite things about the film.
10. R.J. Fletcher
The passive-aggressive rageaholic owner of Channel 8, Fletcher is not only one of the most over-the-top villains ever (as played by Academy Award nominee Kevin McCarthy of Death of a Salesman and Innerspace fame), he also has one of the best/most offensive lines in the film: "I don't know how many times I've told those boys, never call chicks 'broads.'"
9. Wheel of Fish
The talented Gedde Watanabe has been sorely underutilized since his perfect trio of movies in the 1980s (Sixteen Candles, Volunteers and Gung Ho), but he closed out that decade with his hysterical role as the martial arts instructor who was given his own game show, Wheel of Fish. The fact that a contestant could choose between the fish they'd already won and a prize box that may very well contain absolutely nothing ("STUPIIIIID! You are so STUPIIIIID!") still makes me laugh to this day.
8. A (Relatively) Young Michael Richards
Before he was Kramer on Seinfeld, Michael Richards was... well, he was still 40 years old. But his biggest role to date had been in Transylvania 6-5000, so it's not like he was a star or anything, and his portrayal of slightly dim janitor (but brilliant kids' show host) Stanley Spadowski showed him at the top of his form. From his unnatural love for his mop to his janitorial-themed rallying speech at the end, every moment he was on screen was an amazing synthesis of verbal and physical comedy.
7. Gandhi 2 One of many commercials throughout the picture, this one shows Gandhi taking out the street trash and features a bad-ass funk soundtrack that recalls the theme from Shaft. "He's back, and this time, he's mad... No more mister passive resistance; he's out to kick some butt." Fun fact: The guy who played Gandhi was also the director.
6. Trinidad Silva, 1950-1988
Finding out that the actor who played Raul Hernandez, host of Raul's Wild Kingdom, actually died while filming the movie doesn't make his character any less hysterical. From "Today we are teaching poodles how to fly," to "Turtles are nature's suction cup," to "We don't need no stinking badgers!" Raul is the most quotable character in the film, thanks to Silva's passionate delivery.
5. Conan the Librarian
A cheap pun, but worth it just for the visual of Schwarzenegger stand-in Roger Callard, in full Conan regalia, in a library, Ah-nulding the line "Don't you know the Dewey decimal system?"
4. Emo Philips Cutting Off His Own Thumb
I just like Emo Philips. He's not in enough movies.
3. The Teaming Up of Fran Drescher and Billy Barty
Getting famous little person Barty (Under the Rainbow, Legend, Willow) to play diminutive cameraman Noodles MacIntosh, fighting to make it in the competitive and heghtist field of TV journalism, must have been a dream come true for classic TV lover Weird Al. And getting Fran Drescher to play the reporter? A dream come true for this Dr. Detroit fan.
2. Sy Greenblum, Owner of Spatula City
Sy's stilted reading of cue cards for his limited dialogue ("I liked their spatulas so much I bought the company") is the little touch that puts this commercial over the top of awesomeness. In addition to it being an ad for a store that only sells spatulas. Buy nine, get the tenth for one penny!
1. "Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies"
While this dream sequence/ music video is completely unrelated to the rest of the movie, it's a pretty uncanny parody of the original Dire Straits video. The 3-D computer graphics (now featuring Al and Jed Clampett) are as terrible and rudimentary as they were in the original, and the rapid-fire editing of the performance sequences are equally spot-on, with a day-glo-headband-wearing Al unable to figure out which camera is filming him at any given time. Watching him look back and forth with a bewildered look on his face never gets old.
What was your favorite UHF moment? Let us know below, then see what modern TV shows we think Al should write songs about.
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