Soundtracks I Have Loved: UHF
Year Released: 1989
I Bought It On: Cassette, which I can't find, and I am not pleased about that
How Does It Hold Up?: Your question insults me
1. Money For Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies
2. Gandhi II
3. Attack of the Radioactive Hamsters From a Planet Near Mars
4. Isle Thing
5. The Hot Rocks Polka
7. Let Me Be Your Hog
8. She Drives Like Crazy
9. Generic Blues
10. Spatula City
11. Fun Zone
13. The Biggest Ball Of Twine In Minnesota
What more can be said about the genius of "Weird Al" Yankovic? Well, as it turns out, one more blog post's worth. And then there will be no more left to say. We will merely speak his name, perhaps listen to a song or two, and then nod knowingly.
But, first, this edition of Soundtracks I Have Loved, which will examine the genius of Mr. Yankovic through the prism of what may be his greatest achievement, the cinematic tour de force (I'm debating whether to change that to tour de farce...hmmm...nah, let's leave it) UHF and its companion soundtrack.
UHF, one of many excellent films featuring cinema's greatest little person actor, Billy Barty (see also Body Slam, which also starred Roddy Piper, Captain Lou Albano, and Charles Nelson Reilly...do you really have to ask if I have the soundtrack?), has lost very little of its charm over the years. I could, I suppose, see how the charm might not be for everyone, but, well, if you're one of those people, you've clearly stumbled upon the wrong blog. You may now leave.
For those who have stayed, here are the best five seconds of UHF--maybe the best five seconds in film history (sorry, Asian people).
Or perhaps you prefer "Wheel of Fish":
Maybe you're a "Spatula City" fan:
What I'm getting at is that you're bound to find something to laugh at in UHF. And if you don't, well, hey, good for you. Enjoy your life of dullness and snobbery. Jerk.
Only the last of three clips above (along with "Gandhi II"..."no more Mr. Passive Resistance") is on the soundtrack, which features both songs included in the movie and some other stuff floating around Mr. Yankovic's sainted head at the time, both parodies and otherwise. Of the otherwise, I had a particular fondness for the big finale of "Generic Blues" ("Maybe I'll blow my brains out mama, or maybe I'll just go bowling instead) and the ridiculousness and bombast of "The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota", which I can only hope will be the next kids' book he writes (here's the first one). I was less pumped up about "Attack of the Radioactive Hamsters From a Planet Near Mars" and the title song. But the latter grew on me. And the video's excellent.
Oddly enough, the parodies on the soundtrack aren't among Mr. Yankovic's finest ("She Drives Like Crazy" is particularly weak, but, then again, maybe I just hate the original), though "Isle Thing" has its moments and fits the soundtrack theme well, as does "Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies," which gets bonus points for having Mark Knopfler actually playing on it (thus enabling his guitar work on the song to be more easily heard in Canada.
But the soundtrack's best parody is easily "Spam." Weird Al and food are almost always a home run.
"Spam," however, is not the reason why I loved the soundtrack to UHF (nor is the 17-second "Let Me Be Your Hog" or the theme to Stanley Spadowski's Clubhouse, "Fun Zone", though I have no quarrel with either). No, the song most likely to make me rewind my cassette over and over again was the unbelievably awesome "Hot Rocks Polka" not only one of my favorite Weird Al songs, but also one of my favorite polkas. And that's me saying it, so take heed.
I could listen to that every day and not grow tired of it. In fact, I might start doing that. Hooray...a new goal in life!
And so ends this SIHL installment and my praise of our greatest parodist (and fantastic live performer...honest...go see him and you'll agree) "Weird Al" Yankovic. Actually, to be honest, my praise will never stop. I lied at the beginning of the post.