- Actors: 'Weird Al' Yankovic, Wally Burns, Billy Selby, Jane Campbell, Barry Hansen
- Directors: Jay Levey, Robert K. Weiss
- Writers: 'Weird Al' Yankovic, Jay Levey, Robert K. Weiss, Hamilton Cloud
- Producers: Jay Levey, Hamilton Cloud
- Format: Color, HiFi Sound, NTSC
- Rated: Not RatedNR
- Number of tapes: 1
- Studio: 20th Century Fox
- VHS Release Date: September 10, 1991
- Run Time: 102 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 55 customer reviews
- ASIN: B000006H2Q
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,837 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
Compleat Al VHS
The Compleat Al is a mockumentary about the life of "Weird Al" Yankovic, from his birth in 1959, to 1985. It was partially written by Yankovic and directed by Jay Levey. It premiered on August 7, 1985, on the Showtime network. The title of the film is a parody from the 1982 documentary The Compleat Beatles.
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(although it could be argued that this "life story" is a bit premature. he'd only been a star a few years and released three albums, after all, but whatever...)
the curious title is a takeoff on The Compleat Beatles, a 1982 documentary film. (narrated by Malcolm McDowell, Compleat was considered the definitive Beatles documentary until the "Fabs" themselves reunited to tell their story personally via The Beatles Anthology.) not that he can resist sampling a few other bits. for instance, there's a scene of a fan showing an interviewer her painting of Al, directly echoing a similar fan's such tribute to Paul McCartney.
it proudly proclaims itself the "almost true" story. for instance, it's tale of his childhood in Lynwood, California (complete with his father's old home movies) is essentially reported as happened, but he wasn't, say, born in the hospital elevator en route to the delivery room as a harbinger of his "rise to the top."
also to be taken with the proverbial grain of salt are the stories of how success went to his head. (lamenters here include Al's band and his parents as themselves.) or the running-gag of photos from his dates, all of which find his escorts covering their faces. contrary to the inherent suggestion here, insider reports to this day steadily paint Al Yankovic as one of the most together artists that either music or comedy have ever seen.
and of course like any full-fledged humorist, how could he release a direct-to-video production and NOT take a few stabs at the videocassette experience? the lunacy is off an' runnin' with the standard this-program-is-copyrighted-so-no-broadcasting-or-copying lecture. on top of the obvious copyright issues, we are warned that numerous catastrophes - civil unrest, volcanic eruptions, spontaneous combustion of our pets, the Earth being dislodged from it's orbital axis - could result of our "careless, unthinking efforts to deprive the producers of income."
also included are his first eight videos. the box makes them sound like a bonus feature, but they are in fact part of the main attraction, firmly in the body of the film itself. these of course necessitate some interesting segues. the most memorable sequence, about half an hour in, finds our hero approaching a creepy haunted-type house to obtain Michael Jackson's permission to do "Eat It." the "King Of Pop" is depicted as an almost ethereal godlike being, somewhere between The Wizard Of Oz and Don Corleone. this is an interestingly prescient move because, with the film being released in 1985, it would seem to just barely predate Jackson's decline into eccentricity. does this mean that "Jacko" was wacko all along?
the most interesting feature for me was a few clips from his MTV "Al TV" specials. my favorite gag here is the suggestion that Elvis Costello and ABBA have decided to tour together, "so see ABBA & Costello when they come to your town."
it's also worth noting that one Robert K. Weiss co-wrote and co-produced. Weiss' prolific film output includes Amazon Women On The Moon, Al's own UHF, and The Naked Gun series. do i really have to remind you that the man himself turns up in all three installments of that spoof extravaganza?
simply put, like pretty much everything else on Earth, music needs someone to demonstrate it's lighter side. it's a drag that, after decades of Tom Lehrers, Ray Stevenes, and Allan Shermans, rock has only managed one consistently reliable clown, but doesn't that just make the man and his work that much more precious?
I mean he's still great, but I'm reminiscing here.
Anyway, in my opinion this holds up. The transfer to DVD looks fine to me.
s life story.His videos from that time are combined with photos and home movies of Al through his life up to then.I remember checking the VHS tape of this from the video store.At long last ,here it is oon DVD!!!A must for the Weird Al-coholic!