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2024 A to Z Challenge

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Tuesday, April 25, 2023

U is for UHF

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter U

Hello and welcome back to A Month at the Movies,  my contribution to the A to Z challenge for 2023.

This year I am copying from a myriad of other A to Z  challengers by reprinting the same synopsis about my theme with every letter.  You can skip over this part if you want to.  

I love movies and have decided to share with you a movie each day that I have enjoyed to one degree or another.  With each entry, I'll give a brief synopsis of the film, share a positive and negative review from Rotten Tomatoes ( a website, I didn't use much at all until preparing for the challenge), discuss its resiliency (the theme of the A to Z challenge this year), and other tidbits like whether the film may appear in my top 100 film list, which I have been revamping this year. I think that's enough in the way of introduction, considering you'll be reading it (hopefully) 5  more times this month.

Film: UHF (1989) 
Director: Jay Levey

Weird Al's Apartment in UHF
Weird Al's Apartment in UHF
By Mountain Mike Johans…, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47260199

I love parodies. I grew up listening to one of the greatest parodists of all time, Allan Sherman.  My Mom and Dad would send out a Christmas Card each year where they would write our family's annual exploits to the tune of a Christmas carol.  I myself have written a number of parodies and have posted many in my blog

I even wrote a parody last Saturday to publicize my S is for Silverado post and put it on my Facebook page.

 (Sung to the tune of Desperado by The Eagles) 
Silverado, you are in my top eleven.
You star two great Kevin’s 
Plus one Glenn, and one Glover 
You’re a western
 But so much more than your genre 
Which is why I’m so fond a 
 This joy I’ve discovered.  

But with no disrespect to Alan Sherman, my parents, or myself, my favorite parodist is Weird Al Yankovic.

When Weird Al first started out he would send his songs to Dr. Demento who would play them on his syndicated radio program.  My favorite of which, and my all-time favorite Weird Al Song, is It's Still Billy Joel to Me, performed to the tune of It's Still Rock and Roll to Me by (Wait for it ....) Billy Joel.

I mean Weird Al had the audacity to rip Billy Joel's music while performing Billy Joel's music. I was impressed. In 1989, Weird Al set his sights on television and the movies at the same time by starring in and co-writing UHF a movie about a t.v. channel.  

At the time most network television was broadcast on VHF (Very High Frequency) and most independent stations were broadcast on UHF (Ultra High Frequency).  While some might argue about the quality of these frequencies.  The quality of the programming was generally regarded as infinitely better on VHF. 

 Positive Tomato - The individual parts may be greater than the sum of the whole, but man, are those parts funny. Austin Trunick - Under The Radar

Negative Tomato - This is the dreariest comedy in many a month, a depressing slog through recycled comic formulas. Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times 

If I were to give UHF a 6 or less-word film review it would be: Walter Mitty meets SCTV. The film is essentially a bunch of parodies with a plot sandwiched in between them.  The movie begins with a pretty good Raiders parody.

Resiliency: Michael Richards (Kramer from Seinfeld) is the best part of this movie.  He plays Stanley Spadowski who shows resiliency after being fired from the best t.v. station in town where he worked as a janitor and ended up getting hired as a janitor at the station Yankovic manages to host a wildly successful children's t.v. program. 

Top 100: This movie straddles the fence between so dumb it's funny and so dumb it's dumb. It has many fine moments, but it is nowhere near making my top 100.

A to Z Connection: This is the 2nd film in the challenge about television (Quiz Show). 

Next Time: VHF (Very High Fears)


John Holton said...

"You get nothing! You so stuupid!" I love this movie almost as much as I love Allan Sherman, and that's a lot...

Birgit said...

I have to see this film because I thought you were actually going to talk about the UHF channel that played some gret old, bad but so good, movies like the Godzilla films and movies like Catwomen of the moon.

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