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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There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who love Weird Al, and deranged lunatics. If you love Weird Al, you'll love UHF. Frankly, if you love Weird Al, you've probably see UHF a dozen times already.
It's basically a sketch comedy film. There is an over arcing story about Al's character running a TV station. But mostly its a bunch of mini skits of the various shows his station produces. It's hilarious. It's definitely in a defined Weird Al style.
It's also a throw back to another era, back when the UHF channels on the TV dial were the only place to go for off branded oddball crappy television. It wasn't like it is now where you can get crappy television on 200 channels. This movie wouldn't work today, as it would be called "Another generic crummy channel on cable that has some dumb show about a fake celebrity who's only famous for making a sex tape". But back in the day, you got 1, maybe 2 channels on the UHF stations...and it was the only place to see low budget slop. Ahh...those were the days. Of course UHF TV in real life never had programming as good as Ghandi II, but it was okay.
UHF reminds you of those days, while being filled with Weird Al awesomeness.
This message sponsored by Spatula City.
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
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.
It has Weird Al and Michael Richards from the 80s - that should set the stage enough to know it's going to be goofy. So as long as you aren't expecting Shakespeare, you might like this. There are parodies of movies like Rambo and comedy bits throughout the movie. Michael Richards is pretty funny as Stanley Spadowski the Janitor. I enjoyed this movie. I hope you will too.