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HTF REVIEW: "UHF" (with screenshots)


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#1 of 49 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted May 12 2002 - 04:08 PM

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UHF













Studio: MGM

Year: 1989

Rated: PG-13

Film Length: 97 minutes

Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)

and Standard (1.33:1) Transfers







badgers?! badgers?! We don't

need no steenkin' badgers!






I guess now is the time I come out of the

closet to admit that I am somewhat of a

"Weird Al" fan. During the 80's, I fell

in love with his offbeat interpretations

of current hit pop songs. His extraordinary

legacy of music and videos include "Ricky,"

"I lost on Jeopardy" and "Like a Surgeon".

Like it or not, Weird Al was a phenomenon

that soon was not to go away.



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In 1989, Weird Al was given the chance to

bring his humor to the big screen. And how

does one write a story that shows off all of

Yanchovic's talents? Put him in charge of

a TV station and let the parodies begin....



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George Newman (Yankovic), is a loser who just

can't keep a job. He lives next door to martial

arts schools, consumes twinkie hot dog sandwiches,

and has a very attractive girlfriend (how did THAT

happen?)named Teri (Victoria Jackson) that he stood

up for the umpteenth time.



When George's Uncle wins a UHF television station

in a poker game, he is unwillingly convinced to put

George in charge. When George arrives at the tiny

station, he finds an inhabited mad scientist's

lair under the control of eccentric chief engineer

Filo (Anthony Geary), and aspiring reporter Pamela

Finklestein (Fran Drescher).



Posted Image



With ratings already at their lowest, there is

nowhere to go but up. A last-minute decision to

let the station's dumb janitor (Michael Richards)

take over a kiddie-show results in the station's

ratings skyrocketing. This gives the opportunity

for Yanchovic to display parody upon parody of

commercials and movies that include Conan

The Librarian; Raiders of The Lost Ark; Ghandi II;

Spatula City
and Rambo. There's also

a homage to Dire Straits as Yanchovic performs

"The Beverly Hillbillies" theme song to "Money For Nothing".



Can Yankovic save the station? Even better

yet, can he save this movie? I realize that

UHF has become a cult movie over the years

since its release, but frankly, but this movie

stretches and stalls way too often. It's not

especially funny more than goofy, and I don't

think I ever really laughed out aloud once.





How is the transfer?





Mostly, the transfer looks very good. Where

this transfer succeeds is in the extraordinary

amount of color it shows. You'll be amazed at

the vivid colors of the Burger World uniforms to

the entire set of Stanley Spadowski's Clubhouse.

But one must wonder if the color levels were

turned up a bit too high. Flesh tones generally

run very red. This was bothersome to me, as

the transfer took on a very unnatural look. In

addition, there is a noticeable amount of video

noise in the picture. The transfer never really

hides the fact that this was a low-budget picture.



There is interesting use of the Dolby Digital

Surround track. While the sound generally sounds

more bland than robust, I was surprised that the

rears took on as much responsibility as they did,

adding crowd noise to a party or even the competing

station's office. The rears really come alive

during the Dire Straits music video spoof, as the

electric guitar stays firmly behind you as the

rest of the song plays through the front sound

field.





Special Features





UHF is presented on a 2-sided DVD with

a 16x9 widescreen version on one side and a

full-frame version on another. You will have

to access the full-frame side for one of the

Special Features.



MGM has put together a disc that will really

please the fans -- especially since Al Yanchovic

has added his own personal touch to it.



Posted ImagePosted Image





The DVD MAIN MENU is a hoot. Weird Al himself

walks onto a TV screen filled with menu choices

in each corner. As the menu choices go slightly

askew, Al comes out to investigate, often punching

or kicking the selections back into place. When

the TV screen becomes dirty, Al comes back out to

squeaky clean it with his cloth. As you select

individual options, Al makes some nifty adjustments

to the TV, taking you to the next menu phase. On

the Special Features screen, Al lurks amongst

the menu choices.



There is a pretty cool Audio Commentary

with Al Yankovic and Director Jay Levey. Al

is in full gear as he makes fun of the bankrupt

Orion studio, citing problems with many of the

shots in the film that could have been cleaned up

if the studio had more money. At one point, there

is a surprise commentary appearance by Emo Philips,

as both he and Al recreate the shop teacher skit.

As much of this commentary that I heard, I thought

it was quite fun. Al takes complete control as

if he had pages of notes in his hand about every

remembrance he had about that film.



Posted Image



Behind The Scenes is a 1989 featurette

that begins on the set of "Wheel of Fish".

To thank all the children that participated in

filming that sequence, Al hands each of them their

own dead fish as they leave the set. We get some

glimpses of the RAIDERS sequence being shot. The cast

seems to be having a lot of fun as Victoria Jackson

and Michael Richards jokingly talk about the film's

star. (length: approx. 3 minutes)



Posted Image



The film's original Music Video is a

collage of film clips with Al spoofing some of

the greatest 80's music video artists including

Prince, Robert Palmer, ZZ Topp and INXS.



There are approximately 181 Production Stills

that show all the off-screen antics of the cast as

well as shots not seen in the final cut of the film.

Somewhere in the set of photos is Al being presented

on the set of the film with gold record awards.



Posted Image



You will have to flip the disc over to the

full-frame side in order to access the Deleted

Scenes
. These come with a personal video

introduction by Al himself, now 13 years older.

There are some real funny moments here, and the

fact that Al personally walks you through it all

makes it even more fun to watch. He even makes

you sit through a love scene with Victoria Jackson.

I think fans will love the 15-20 minutes worth of

footage that is shown here even though Al does

everything he can to convince you that it "stinks

on ice".



There are also some Easter Eggs scattered amongst

this disc, but alas, I didn't have the time to

search them out -- but be sure to click on the menu

choice that reads: "On the Other Side".





Final Thoughts



I must give credit to MGM who went to lengths

to make this DVD appealing to the fans who had

pressed the studio to release it. The mere fact

that Al is so personally involved with this disc

makes it a trophy for the fans that have supported

this film through the years. I must warn, however,

UHF is a film strictly for Weird Al fans.

For anyone else, it can be torturous.





Release Date: June 4th

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 49 OFFLINE   Scott Weinberg

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Posted May 12 2002 - 04:19 PM

Great review, Ron!



I'm also afraid that I may not like this movie as much as I did way back when, but this is a disc I MUST own. The special features alone make it a must-buy. Posted Image

#3 of 49 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted May 12 2002 - 04:34 PM

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UHF is very cheesy, but most of it works pretty well. It's a shame that Yankovic wasn't given total control over the movie...the film oddly seems weighed down by the plot. If the entire movie had been more TV parody-oriented rather than being a narrative, it would have clicked.



Still, the Raoul's Wild Kingdom segment is perfect!



I'll be selling my EP speed VHS for 6000 dollars on ebay now.

#4 of 49 OFFLINE   Rob Dwyer

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Posted May 12 2002 - 05:00 PM

YES! Holy sweet mercy! I didn't even know this was coming out!!!!!! MUST BUY!!! MUST BUY!!! *** Rob throws ancient VHS tape into garbage can in anticipation

#5 of 49 OFFLINE   Scott_J

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Posted May 12 2002 - 05:07 PM

Thanks for the review, Ron. I can't wait to get this DVD in my hands - 1 of my favorite movies ever (and yes, I'm a big Weird Al fan). One small request, Ron, if you have the time. When I watched part of the movie on VH1 a couple months ago, I noticed in the scene near the beginning where Al was leaving Burger World, the phone number on the Burger World sign was blurred out. Could you please check the disc to see if it is blurred out on the movie? I'm just wondering if it's MGM'a doing or VH1's. No big deal, just wondering. Thanks. BTW I also heard that Victoria Jackson and Michael Richards (!) also make appearances on the commentary.

#6 of 49 OFFLINE   Joseph J.D

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Posted May 12 2002 - 05:24 PM

Thanks Ron, this looks like riot! Glad to see that Weird Al himself was personally involved. Going to purchase this one blind (never saw this one, although as a teen of the 80's - I am familiar with his brand of humour). Considering that it is an MGM release, the price should be quite reasonable.Posted Image
Recently watched- Lucy(2014), Megamind 3D, Visiting Hours, Paranormal Activity 4, The Legend Of Hercules 3D, The Maze Runner, The Three Musketeers 3D(2011), The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Burn Notice: Season 4, WKRP In Cincinnati: Season 2, Sweet Smell Of Success, Hero and the Terror, X-men: Days Of Future Past (The Rogue Cut)

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#7 of 49 OFFLINE   Matthew Chmiel

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Posted May 12 2002 - 06:06 PM

"You get to drink from the firehose!"



Weird Al is a comic genius. Posted Image Come June, this DVD will be mine.


#8 of 49 OFFLINE   Matthew H

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Posted May 12 2002 - 06:17 PM

Thanks for the review, Ron. This is by far my biggest title that hasn't been released yet, so I am SO psyched. On June 4th, this puppy is mine! Posted Image
Matt

Mobu? Sounds like some sort of damn car polish.

#9 of 49 OFFLINE   Jeff Kleist

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Posted May 12 2002 - 06:36 PM

There was a real phone number on the Burger World sign, that's why it's blurred. It might be painted out digitally now, who knows



UHF is a classic film, and should be, and has been treated with the same respect as Citizen Kane Posted Image

#10 of 49 OFFLINE   BrettV

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Posted May 12 2002 - 06:43 PM

Yes. Oh yes! YEEEEEESS!!! OH LORD YEEEEEEEEEESSSSS! Must own this. Wheel of Fish .. oh my.

#11 of 49 OFFLINE   Scott_J

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Posted May 12 2002 - 07:02 PM

Jeff, I know there was a real number. I was just wondering if it's still there, as it was on my VHS copy of the film.

#12 of 49 OFFLINE   Alex Spindler

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Posted May 12 2002 - 07:30 PM

Thank you, MGM. Thank You. You have truly made a fan happy!

#13 of 49 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted May 12 2002 - 10:14 PM

This is gonna be better than drinking from the FIRE HOSE!!!!!



(Ron, I think you set the record for Most Spellings Of A Name In One Post! "Yankovic" is correct. Posted Image )



I'm thinking of something blue. . .
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#14 of 49 OFFLINE   Keith Paynter

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Posted May 12 2002 - 11:58 PM

"Is that it?"

"Nope."

"Is that it?"

"Nope."

"Is that it?"

"Nope."

"Is that it?"

"Nope."



Thanks, Ron.



BTW, UHF is as dated as Strange Brew, but damn if it ain't funny as hell. I guess you had to be there. Posted Image
I don't like SPAM!

#15 of 49 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted May 13 2002 - 01:16 AM

To answer your question.... As Big Edna throws the two boys out of her burger joint, the phone number can be clearly seen on a sign that says PHONE AHEAD.

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#16 of 49 OFFLINE   Nick Graham

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Posted May 13 2002 - 03:31 AM

While I tend to agree with Ron's overall view of the movie, this one does have some great scenes.....with Raul's flying poodles being one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

#17 of 49 OFFLINE   Scott_J

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Posted May 13 2002 - 04:32 AM

Thanks, Ron. Posted Image

#18 of 49 OFFLINE   Jerry Gracia

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Posted May 13 2002 - 07:15 AM

It's mine! Thanks, Ron!
I do not have anything clever nor’ interesting to place in my signature box…so I’ll leave it blank.

#19 of 49 OFFLINE   Steve_Knutzen

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Posted May 13 2002 - 10:46 AM

I love this movie. I can't wait for the release. Although I would love a RED SNAPPER! Very Tasty
"Oh I can hold my breath for a long, long time!"

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#20 of 49 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted May 13 2002 - 11:37 AM

I only barely remember this movie, but I'll be buying it for my roommate Posted Image




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