UHF (1989)

uhf poster 1989 movie weird al yankovic
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 7/10

Weird Al Yankovic and a fun supporting cast with goofy skits

Not much of a plot...but didn't expect one

Movie Info

Movie Name:  UHF

Studio:  Orion Pictures

Genre(s):  Comedy/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  July 21, 1989

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

uhf stanley spadowskis clubhouse michael richards

Where’s Jerry?

Harvey Bilchik (Stanley Brock) wins a small UHF station on the outside of town.  Convinced by his wife, Harvey gives the station to her nephew George Newman (“Weird Al” Yankovic) and his friend Bob (David Bowe) to manage.  Competing with the big network mogul R.J. Fletcher (Kevin McCarthy), George begins to make a dent in the market with his weird programming choices like Wheel of Fish, Conan the Library, Gandhi II, and a surprise hit from their janitor Stanley Spadowski (Michael Richards).  When Harvey mistakenly gambles away the UHF station, the crew must come together to find the money to save it.

Directed by Jay Levey, UHF is a campy comedy movie.  The film was written by Weird Al Yankovic and Jay Levey.  The movie was met with mixed reviews and did pretty poorly in the theaters but later became a cult on video and late night and cable television.

I have a real soft spot for this movie.  My friends and I would quote and joke about it often and my old VHS tape was pretty worn before it was finally released on DVD.  I concede that UHF isn’t a good movie, but it is entertaining.

uhf al capone glovebox road maps weird al yankovic

Road Maps!!!

The movie movies fast and does not dwell on jokes (so if they fail, they fail and the film moves on).  In this fast movement, the movie jumps from skit-to-skit quick enough to keep a viewer interested.  If you don’t like a portion of the movie, it quickly switches to another one.  The parodies are pretty clever and the Spatula City commercial is possibly the one of the best parody commercials of all time (it even ranks up there with some of SNL’s best commercials).

The movie also benefits from a strong cast of B-actors and character actors that ended up being bigger after the movie.  Not only did Michael Richards play an essentially toned down version of Kramer, but also has a great character in Stanley Spadowski with a ton of one-liners.  Famed little person Billy Barty plays cameraman Noodles MacIntosh with his reporter Pamela Finklestein played by Fran Drescher.  Gedde Watanabe who went on to be a minor player on ER was Kuni (the host of Wheel of Fish), SNL alum Victoria Jackson played Weird Al Yankovic’s girlfriend Teri and Invasion of the Body Snatchers star Kevin McCarthy plays the over-the-top R.J. Fletcher.  Other cameos include Dr. Demento and Emo Philips.  You get all of that, plus Weird Al Yankovic…what a deal!

uhf drink from the firehose stanley spadowskis clubhouse michael richards

You found the marble in the oatmeal…you get to drink from the fire hose!!!

The story is pretty typical fluff for ’80s and feels like a Revenge of the Nerds or one of the Police Academy movies.  It isn’t going to hold you to your seat, but it is more about the jokes instead of the plot.  The jokes and parodies are very typical of Weird Al Yankovic, and many are included in the soundtrack he did for the movie.  The movie also incorporates the music video for “Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies” which parodied Dire Strait’s song and video.

UHF is a goofy B-Movie classic.  It isn’t great, it isn’t awful, but it is fun.  If you’ve never seen it, you’d probably watch it and think nothing of it, but it is the type of movie that is better with a group of friends making fun of it and just not taking it seriously.  So crank up the volume, yank off the knob…we have it all on UHF!

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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