cult classic, david bowe, fran drescher, gedde watanabe, jay levey, kevin mccarthy, michael richards, parody, polka, rambo, sixteen candles, spatula city, stanley spadowski, supplies!, tapeheads, tom whalen, uhf, victoria jackson, weird al yankovic, wheel of fish, you get to drink from the firehose
Are you ready Weaver? For those of you who’ve never seen UHF, you are missing out. Conceived of, written by and starring everyone’s favorite polkaman Weird Al Yankovic, UHF is a film version of what his music tries to achieves – pastiche and parody. One of the weirder yet funnier movies made in the 80s (a la Tapeheads), it remains largely unseen by most, which is a shame. Slacker George Newman (Weird Al) takes over a failing UHF tv station, U 62, that his uncle won in a card game along with the help of his best friend Bob (David Bowe). Worried that he is running his uncle’s tv station into the ground, George tries everything to make it work. At first they are an afterthought, but when they get the top-rated show, things change and the networks come after them and try to shut them down.
Michael Richards plays Stanley Spadowski, the mentally slow former janitor of the rival Channel 8, in a pre-Seinfeld role. George hires him after witnessing Stanley getting fired. Later, Stanley creates Stanley Spadowski’s Clubhouse as a filler show when George and Bob can’t find anything else to air. It instantly becomes a hit and people start flocking to U 62 to watch.
Stanley is a model citizen and someone we can all pattern ourselves after. Here he imparts some words of wisdom that we can all maybe use:
But when Stanley is kidnapped by RJ Fletcher (Kevin McCarthy), the head of Channel 8, the ratings go down and the revenue stops coming in. When George’s uncle loses a bunch of money to a bookie, Fletcher offers to pay off his debt in exchange for the deed to U 62. George starts a telethon to save the station, and when Stanley is rescued, well…you can guess how it turns out.
That Long Duk Dong from Sixteen Candles (Gedde Watanabe) makes an hilarious set of appearances in this is all the more awesome. His character, Kuni, and his show, Wheel of Fish, are among the best parts of the movie.
Weird Al applies the magic he uses in his music to create skits and commercials and other parts of the narrative to skewer the popular culture at the time. The Rambo sequence in the rescue of Stanley is priceless. The skits/commercials within the movie are unreal:
And how could we forget Spatula City?:
UHF has becomes a cult classic since it’s release with a small die-hard following. It is a film that hasn’t aged particularly well, but if you are a child of 80s, this one should hit home quite nicely. If you love/d his music, you’ll love this.
Here’s the trailer: