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UHF

UHF 1989

This is one of my favorite movies from when I was younger. I grew up listening to Weird Al’s parodies and when I saw that he had made a movie, I just had to see it. I was expecting a movie parodying movies just like his songs parodied songs. What I wasn’t expecting was a superhero movie. Weird Al plays George Newman, someone who can alter reality to suit his own means, and he uses his powers to defeat the evil head of the C8 corporation, R. J. Fletcher, a mastermind enemy with his cadre of henchmen trying to eliminate George’s base of operations, his UHF headquarters.

UHF

George Newman is an interesting choice for a hero, while he’s generally soft spoken, he does tend to let his emotions take over, whether he’s accosting a tyrannical employer or showering his love interest with gifts. On occasion he showcases his powers, whether it’s to steal a coveted idol or to rescue his trusty sidekick Stanley Spadowski from Fletcher’s henchmen. Some of his abilities include whipping someone’s arm clean off of their body, and catching a bullet in his teeth and explosively spitting it back out, not to mention being able to transform himself whenever the need arises. I also think there’s a bit of intestinal fortitude to be able to withstand the Twinkie weiner sandwich.

R. J. Fletcher is a menacing villain, firing his henchmen at a whim, even attempting to fire people that don’t even work for him on more than one occasion. He has ties with the mafia, using his influence to intimidate mafia bookie Big Louie, as well as being oft accompanied by a group of trigger happy gunmen. His constant goal is to track down the source of UHF’s power and destroy it, both by going to the head of the operation Uncle Harvey and trying to eliminate George’s sidekick Stanley.

His alter ego, Illinois Smith

As a sidekick, Stanley often does more than George on the public front, creating support from the masses with his vivacious personality, but he’s not without his fighting skills as well, as long as he’s not separated by his source of power: his trusty mop. He’s a master at janitor-fu and pratfalls, though unfortunately he lacks in the mental fortitude department, falling for a simple ruse from Fletcher’s henchmen. His sensibilities also helped design a large portion of the UHF-cave, complete with the firehose and quick-oatmeal pit to foil would-be intruders.

His other alter ego, AlboAs with many superheroes, George trying to hide his secret identity from his girlfriend Teri creates some major tension in their relationship. While he’s busy keeping things going in the UHF lair, he misses important dates with her and she becomes rightfully upset. It’s not until the end of the movie where he reveals his powers to her that she’s able to take him back so they can spend their time together.

Throughout the movie, George and Stanley aren’t the only heroes featured here, there’s also several others that get their moments to shine, like a brief appearance by Conan the Librarian, as well as their trusty tech guy Philo who keeps them supplied with gadgets and devices to help foil the evil Fletcher, and even he is able to reveal his secret identity at the end of the movie. This movie is not without its flaws, but it never fails to put a smile on my face, whether it’s Raul’s Wild Kingdom or Spatula City or the Beverly Hillbillies music video in the middle of the movie. It’s one of my favorites and I hope you have a happy April Fool’s Day. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.

So that's where he got all his advanced technology from.

So that’s where he got all his advanced technology from.

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About Bubbawheat

I'm a comic book movie enthusiast who has watched and reviewed over 300 superhero and comic book movies in the past four years, my goal is to continue to find and watch and review every superhero movie ever made.

Posted on April 1, 2013, in 80's movies and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I do love this movie. When I first saw it I thought it would be a blockbuster and was shocked it didn’t do well. Every Wierd Al fan needs to own this film.

  2. Well done, Bubbawheat. Nice way to handle April Fool’s Day. I really enjoy UHF; of course, I’ve been a “Weird Al” fan since childhood.

    • Thanks, I didn’t want to go the whole “mislead” route, and I thought this would be fun. And it gave me a chance to rewatch UHF which is always a good time. Will hopefully become a yearly tradition. The other day “Nature Trail To Hell in 3D” was randomly stuck in my head, I think that could actually become a movie in this day and age.

      • Oh, it totally could become a film in this day and age. To be perfectly honest, it could have back then — I once did a trawl collecting 80s movie trailers for some friends, and trust me, there’s no bottom of the barrel when it comes to horror films in the 80s.

  3. Love me some UHF, Bubba. Funny film, criminally underseen, but hey, that’s what gives it its “cult” status, right? I still to this day say “Let’s see what’s in the box…” as often as the better known “Aw, what’s in the box” from Se7en. I have to laugh whenever I watch Rambo 2 and I see the scenes Al was mocking. LOL

    Nice reminder of a fun film, Bubba, thanks!

  4. This film tanked because it came out on the same day as “Home Alone.” I was one of the very few people who was watching UHF that weekend instead. I ask you: which movie would you rather have with you if you were stuck on a desert island?
    When I think of Michael Richards, UHF springs to mind before “Seinfeld.”
    Weird Al is amazing. His spoofs are so wonderful that it’s easy to overlook the fact that he is an amazing musician in his own right, who surrounds himself with other amazing musicians.

    • After listening to the commentary, I do realize that this is not a well made movie, but it’s charm and character more than make up for it. I’d love to see him take another shot at making a spoof movie. I’m sure it would be head and shoulders above the ______ Movie that passes for spoofs these days.

      • Sometimes, if a filmmaker is really passionate, even a bad film can be likable and entertaining. To cite but one example: I love Cabin Boy. It has a perfect combination of weirdness and heart, and, more importantly, it’s a tribute to old Ray Harryhausen movies like “Jason and the Argonauts,” which I grew up watching on videotape and loving. A lot of elements determine whether we like a movie, and nostalgia and emotion are sometimes more important than whether a movie is objectively good. American Beauty is a brilliantly-made film, but I really don’t like it. I’d rather watch UHF. It takes me back to my childhood, and opens up a wellspring of memories and good feelings.

  5. A correction: I was totally wrong about Home Alone. I don’t know why I thought it came out on the same weekend as UHF. Maybe I’m thinking of another movie.

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