UHF (25th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]
25th Anniversary Edition
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A lot of TV stations have forgotten what qualitymeans. But not Channel 62. They NEVER knew what it meant.
In the cult classic UHF, Weird Al Yankovic is George Newman, a daydreamer who becomes the manager of a small TV station that's losing money as quickly as its losing viewers. Before long hes programming shows like Stanley Spadowskis Clubhouse, Wheel Of Fish and Rauls Wild Kingdom. But can Channel 62s new popularity save it from sinister forces? To find out... dont touch that dial!
Starring Weird Al Yankovic, Michael Richards (Seinfeld), Kevin McCarthy (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), Fran Drescher (The Nanny), Gedde Watanabe (Sixteen Candles), Victoria Jackson (Saturday Night Live) and more!
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Top customer reviews
THE STORY: Music parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic plays George Newman, a guy who's always daydreaming. This causes him to lose one job after another. Then one evening his aunt & uncle hire George to manage local UHF station channel 62, which his uncle won ownership of in a poker game. The little station has been on the brink of bankruptcy for years, so with nothing to lose George puts his wildly creative imagination to work and concocts a programming line-up so unbelievably strange that soon the whole town is tuning in to see what's next. For instance there's "Raul's Wild Kingdom," where, among other things, the wildly enthusiastic host teaches poodles how to fly! Other off the wall shows include "Chef Barney's Bowling for Burgers," "Leave It To Bigfoot," "The Volcano Worshiper's Hour," and "Strip Solitaire." And of course Channel 62's number one show "Stanley Spadowski's Clubhouse" where CHANNEL 62's dim-witted janitor, (a side-splitting breakout performance by a pre-Seinfeld Michael Richards), hosts a kids' show so dementedly sick that even adult viewers love it. ("You're a lucky, lucky little boy! You found the marble in the oatmeal. That means you get to drink from... The Fire Hose!!!") R.J. Fletcher, owner of the town's local network affiliate, is outraged when the tiny little UHF station suddenly begins to top his in the ratings. He hatches a nefarious scheme to eliminate Stanley Spadowski, buy U62 from George's uncle and bulldoze the TV station into a parking lot! To stop the network mogul's plans George will have to raise a lot of money in a very short amount of time, so a telethon is launched to save U62 ...but the clock is ticking! Will George & his friends be able to triumph over the cold-hearted, big money plans of Channel 8's cruel owner or will the little station that could go belly up at midnight??? Tune in and find out!
THOUGHTS: The movie is lots of fun and you're almost certain to laugh at the undeniably silly movie & TV parodies. (For a real hoot, freeze frame the U62 scheduling board and check out some of the various TV show titles! LOL!) Weird Al gets major help from up & coming comedy star Fran (The Nanny) Drescher as U62's receptionist/anchorwoman, and Victoria (SNL) Jackson has a cute role as Weird Al's long-suffering girlfriend. Gedde (16 Candles & Gung Ho!) Watanabe plays an grouchy neighbor of Al's who runs a beginner's karate school and winds up hosting U62's "Wheel of Fish" ("Stupid! You're so STUPID!"). There's also the presence of sci-fi icon Kevin (1951's Invasion of The Body Snatchers) McCarthy, chewing up the scenery in grand style as the villainous network affiliate Channel 8 manager, R.J. Fletcher. Legendary soap opera star Anthony Geary has a hilarious role as U62's in-house studio technician, Philo - a decidedly odd fellow who isn't quite what he seems!
THE BLU-RAY: I wanted a chance to upgrade my DVD of Weird Al's infamous UHF movie to this new Blu-ray version but sadly I must report that the transfer has some noticeable over-saturation issues compared to the old DVD release. Sharpness & detail are an improvement though. Most of the bonus features have simply been ported over from the DVD. Even so, if you don't own the film and have a Blu-ray player then this is a worthwhile purchase. Otherwise, it's a double-dip recommended ONLY for hardcore Weird Al fans like myself. 4 STARS
However, in the years since, this film has achieved a massive cult following, prompting MGM to finally release a DVD Special Edition in 2002, which was out of print for a few years after that. Now here we are, 25 years after the film’s initial release, and UHF has finally received the home video release it deserves: in glorious, high-definition blu-ray, complete with tons of bonus features to boot. Before I get too technical about this, let’s get into the film itself.
*Minor Spoilers Ahead*
George Newman (played by Weird Al himself) is an avid daydreamer whose imagination seems to get him fired from every job he gets, along with his best friend Bob (David Bowe). He also seems to have trouble being on time to dates with his girlfriend, Teri (Victoria Jackson), always an hour late to each meeting. Soon after, he attends a party where his well-off Aunt Esther and Uncle Harvey Bilchik (Stanley Brocl.) Harvey wins the rights to a UHF station called U62 in a high-stakes poker game, and Aunt Esther offers a job to George to manage the station.
George and Teri arrive at the station and meet an eccentric engineer named Philo (Anthony Geary), who lives at the station, constantly testing new gadgets for no obvious reason. The station secretary, Pamela Finklestein (Fran Dreschner) tells George that the mailman accidentally delivered a package that was meant for Channel 8, and George insists on delivering the package to the owner, Mr. R.J. Fletcher, who turns out to be a cynical maniac who kicks George out of Channel 8’s station almost immediately.
As George and Bob begin to manage the station, their ratings quickly decline, due to the fact that they have no interesting shows on television (including the supposedly kid-friendly “Uncle Nutzy’s Clubhouse”) and George almost gives up hope, offering the Clubhouse show to the station janitor, Stanley Spadowski (Michael Richards). Minutes later, Stanley turns the kids of the show into excited little tykes, and “Stanley Spadowski’s Clubhouse” is an instant hit.
As the ratings begin to rise for the station, George and Bob create bizarre, new shows to air on their station (including “Bowling for Burgers,” “Wheel of Fish,” and “Conan the Librarian.”) This only makes the station’s popularity even more massive, peaking the station at number one, above Channel 6- which catches the unforgiving eye of R.J. Fletcher.
Later, Uncle Harvey receives a call notifying him that none of the horses he bet on recently had won the race, and that he owes $75,000 to a mob boss named Big Louie. Mr. Fletcher offers to buy U62 from Harvey to turn into a parking lot, and Harvey instantly accepts. When Aunt Esther hears of it, she convinces Harvey to give George two days to raise the $75,000 needed to save the station, and Stanley hosts a telethon to sell shares so they can reach their goal to pay Harvey’s debt to Big Louie.
Unlike other comedies that try to be funny through stupidity, this film actually is quite successful at its attempt to do so. Of course, that may be in part to my fandom of Weird Al’s music, but it makes one wonder how popular this film would be now if he hadn’t become a musical success. The film is just so quotable, and I cannot stop from bursting out with laughter at almost each and every quotable moment in the film. “UHF” also succeeds at parodying many famous portions of scenes from classic films, including Gone with the Wind, Rambo, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Of course, my favorite aspect about this comedy is how quotable it is. I could fill up pages of quotes from this film that I laugh at no matter how many times I hear them. From combining a mortuary with “Toys-R-Us,” to an entire warehouse store dedicated to selling only spatulas, “UHF” is filled to the brim with comedic references and running jokes that it makes some of the most classic comedies look like droll, boring dramas. The plot can become so hilariously ridiculous that you almost forget about it, simply laughing at the stupidity of it all. If you haven’t seen this gem of a cult classic, I highly recommend it: just try not to take it too seriously.
More fun than a Twinkie-wiener sandwich, “UHF” is a lost gem that deserves recognition as one of the funniest parody films ever made. Weird Al Yankovic is simply brilliant in this film, and the supporting cast makes it that much better. Some of the jokes and references are so stupidly hilarious, I guarantee that if you watch the film, you will never forget it, nor regret it.
BUT... for those of us who grew up on Al, and who loved it the first time, you'll find it's every bit as fun today. Teaching poodles how to fly, drinking from the fire hose, revealing what's in the box, visiting Uncle Nutsy's clubhouse, giving a 1947 double-dye Denver mint penny in change, checking the supplies closet, returning your overdue book to Conan, shopping at Spatula City, and so much more.
The 25th anniversary edition of the DVD cleans up the image and sound quality nicely and reformats the extras. But really, if you're here looking at all, you already know you want it.