HTF REVIEW: "UHF" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, May 12, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein


    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.
    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....
    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).
    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
    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.
    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.
    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)
    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.
    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
  2. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

    Oct 3, 2000
    Likes Received:
    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. [​IMG]
  3. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

    May 16, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Georgia (the state)
    Real Name:
    Patrick McCart
    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. Rob Dwyer

    Rob Dwyer Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 26, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Holy sweet mercy! I didn't even know this was coming out!!!!!!
    *** Rob throws ancient VHS tape into garbage can in anticipation
  5. Scott_J

    Scott_J Cinematographer

    Jul 17, 2000
    Likes Received:
    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. Joseph J.D

    Joseph J.D Cinematographer

    Dec 4, 2001
    Likes Received:
    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.[​IMG]
  7. Matthew Chmiel

    Matthew Chmiel Cinematographer

    Apr 26, 2000
    Likes Received:
    "You get to drink from the firehose!"
    Weird Al is a comic genius. [​IMG] Come June, this DVD will be mine.
  8. Matthew H

    Matthew H Second Unit

    Jul 31, 2001
    Likes Received:
    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! [​IMG]
  9. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

    Dec 4, 1999
    Likes Received:
    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 [​IMG]
  10. BrettV

    BrettV Stunt Coordinator

    Apr 5, 2001
    Likes Received:

    Oh yes!



    Must own this.

    Wheel of Fish .. oh my.
  11. Scott_J

    Scott_J Cinematographer

    Jul 17, 2000
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    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. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

    Jan 23, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Thank you, MGM. Thank You.

    You have truly made a fan happy!
  13. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

    Jan 22, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Aaron Silverman
    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. [​IMG] )
    I'm thinking of something blue. . .
  14. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

    Mar 16, 1999
    Likes Received:
    "Is that it?"
    "Is that it?"
    "Is that it?"
    "Is that it?"
    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. [​IMG]
  15. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    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.
  16. Nick Graham

    Nick Graham Screenwriter

    Oct 16, 2001
    Likes Received:
    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. Scott_J

    Scott_J Cinematographer

    Jul 17, 2000
    Likes Received:
  18. Jerry Gracia

    Jerry Gracia Supporting Actor

    Oct 20, 1998
    Likes Received:
    It's mine!

    Thanks, Ron!
  19. Steve_Knutzen

    Steve_Knutzen Screenwriter

    Feb 17, 2002
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    I love this movie. I can't wait for the release.

    Although I would love a RED SNAPPER!

    Very Tasty
  20. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator

    Mar 4, 2001
    Likes Received:
    One Loudoun, Ashburn, VA
    Real Name:
    David Fischer
    I only barely remember this movie, but I'll be buying it for my roommate [​IMG]

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