Sunday, February 22, 2015

Movie Review UHF: I can see why people refence this so often.

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For as long as I've been on the Internet, for as long as I've been a fan of reviewers, whether it's the people at Channel Awesome, the Escapist or even the dudes or dudettes wandering around on Youtube and everything in between, there has been one movie that seems to be synonymous with almost all of these people.
NO, not that one! Look at the title.
That's right, the cult classic UHF. Aside from the humor, spot on parodies and of course the magic of Weird Al, UHF seems to be a spiritual precursor to the modern Internet critic. I mean think about it for a second, the movie is about a guy who has creativity, imagination and a good sense of humor but not an opportunity to let those talents shine. Then he gets that chance and with his paltry resources, perseverance, determination, a stroke of pure luck and one of the best motivational speeches about a mop (seriously) he created content that is beloved by hundreds if not thousands of people.
Gee, does
this sound
somewhat familiar?

 But yeah kind of spooky when you think about it. Now I might not be the first guy to make this connection but yeah, if you think about it it is there. But, here's where I run into a bit of a problem with this movie, I don't really want to talk about the contents of it because, 1st, most people should see the whole movie for themselves and not just for the clips but for my second reason. 2nd, I really want to figure out how is it exactly that movies like this succeed where other parody movies fail? But I will talk about my favorite character in the movie R.J Fletcher. This guy is every single over the top rich, white, old money douche-bag cliche all rolled up with a 100 dollar bill and smoking it in-front of a family of homeless people then walks away laughing like the Joker when he's done. I'm honestly surprised that out of all the clips of this movie that critics use, very few if any of them involve this guy. I seriously thought this guy deserved a cartoon show, even Ted Knight, Big T Larrity and Duke Phillips would tell this dude to calm down. Now for my questions about UHF, or for that matter parodies in general, how is it that the good and most remembered ones know which then popular subject matter to satirize? Now I think that this conversation can be traced back to one of my personal heroes Mel Brooks and his first hit parody "Young Frankenstein".
"It's pronounced Fronkensteen"
Whatever, I'll call you Ball Park Frank for all I care. Back on topic, the reason why a good majority of Mel Brooks' movies worked is that they were satirizing material that many people were not only familiar with but have also been around for at least decades. So for him, creating parodies that could stand the test of time was half the battle, the rest was up to him and his co-writers work, making sure that every joke worked and knowing exactly what it is about the material that they were handling was about and how to take said source material and turn that into something funny. Now creating a movie that satirizes current popular pieces of media is a far trickier task in my opinion. How do we know what material will stand the test of time and how can we write a good story that is able to tell these jokes and give this commentary without the jokes and commentary being the only things the movie has going for it. And for that Kids, it's time for an edition of "Good Movie, Bad Movie".

 Wayne's World is not only a good movie in its own right but the jokes are still funny and relevant to various forms of entertainment to this day, case in point.
My guess as to why Wayne's World and UHF work is because the writers know what exactly makes their subjects work, and craft the story of these movies so that the jokes could actually make sense of the movie's context. Another part of that is just plain old luck, back in the day who honestly thought that media pieces like Indiana Jones, Star Trek, The Graduate and what not would still be relevant? Back then, probably not a whole lot of people, I'm willing to be that back when these movies and TV shows came out they would get their brief time in the spotlight and be spoken of in the same breath as Pogs, Poodle Skirts, Miami Vice and Greatest American Hero. Now on to the other side of the coin.
Or anything done by Seltzerberg.
These movies only focus on making as many references to current movies as possible with very cheep and nonsensical framing devices. This on top of having flimsy premises and filling the rest of the run time with disgusting gross out scenes to try and milk shock humor just causes these movies to fall apart like a house of cards. Now I'm not saying that indulging in the Zeitgeist is completely bad but just try not to make your jokes only about what's happening right now or fill in the cracks in your comedy with just dick and boob jokes.

Now if I've truly learned anything from this review is to never talk about comedies. Mostly because if I'm talking about good comedies I'd just be explaining the jokes.

And if it's a bad comedy I'd be just me screaming about how it doesn't work. I may try something like this again if a movie comes along that just sends me over the edge or I truly want to highlight it, but don't expect reviews of comedies all that often from me.

Please be sure to read, comment, spread the links, re-tweet and follow me on Twitter @OnDavidsBrain! and support me on Patreon.

UHF is owned by Weird Al Yankovic, Orion Pictures, MGM, Shout Factory and Cinecorp.
Street Fighter (1994) is owned by Capcom, Universal Pictures, and Columbia pictures. 
Young Frankenstein is owned by Mel Brooks and 20th Century Fox.
Animaniacs is owned by Warner Brothers Animation, Warnert Brothers Television, Stephen Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment.
Wayne's World is owned by NBC films, Paramount Studios, Lorine Michaels and Penelope Spheeris.
Meet the Spartans is owned by Jason Friedberg, Arron Seltzer, Regency Enterprises, New Regency, 3 in a Box and 20th Century Fox.
Batman: The Animated Series is owned by Dc Comics, Warner Brothers and Paul Dini.