Matt Chat 88: Decapitating the Donimator

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Don's back this week with--er, wait? Who is that? Adam (Interghost)? And Matt doesn't seem to be himself--he seems a bit, well, WEIRD. Look, I can't summarize this, so check it out for yourself.

Download the audio here (also available on iTunes).

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Bret (not verified)
UHF

Matt, do you happen to be a fan of UHF?

Bill Loguidice
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And it had Kramer!
Bret wrote:

Matt, do you happen to be a fan of UHF?

I'm not Matt, but I'll answer anyway. I LOVE Weird Al, but that film is unwatchable. There, I've said it. Actually, Al's work is very Jekyll & Hyde. He can be a genius (mean it) one moment and just awful the next. I mean some of his song parodies are off the charts brilliant, but others are unlistenable they're so bad. It's rare to find such a mix of amazing and awful. I think UHF was pretty much universally awful, though I know the film does have its fans.

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Matt Barton
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I love Weird Al! I grew up

I love Weird Al! I grew up with his videos and music, listening to his tapes over and over again. He's an inspiration to me. All throughout grade school and high school, I was relentlessly picked on and even beaten up for being different, being a nerd. After a day of abuse, I'd crank up the Weird Al and revel in it.

I could never be objective about his work, so it's not even worth trying! However, I think he would agree that UHF wasn't the picture it could have been. I always wished (and still wish) that he'll get another crack at a film. Maybe next time they'll do the right thing and not bother with a plot, since that's what really messed up UHF. Actually, Kramer ends up being funnier in that film than Al himself! It's really a shame that he gets judged on that one work, when it would take almost anyone 2-3 times to get it right. It's not like George Lucas is known for THX 1138! Imagine if he'd been cut off there and not allowed to make Star Wars!

At any rate, Al would've been better off just doing a big spoof of the popular movies of the time, sorta like he does with pop tunes. It seems like at first he was going for a Mel Brooks type thing, but then got derailed into a sappy underdog film about a TV station. I could have thought of so many different movies he could have done instead of that. Maybe it could have been a big spoof of an artist's entire career, such as Michael Jackson's. (Imagine something like Steve Martin's The Jerk but with Weird Al and the Jackson 5. Holy cow, I'm laughing just thinking about it).

He'd also probably be brilliant at a mini-series that could do 45-minute spoofs of whatever films were hot at the box office.

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Matt Barton
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I should add that I finally

I should add that I finally got to see Weird Al last year at the Minnesota State Fair. While it was of course mind-blowing to see him after so many years of admiration, I had mixed emotions about the show itself. During costume changes, they showed film and video clips from talk shows and other shows that mention Weird Al. Something about it just made it seem that Al was trying to prove something--that he's made an impact and deserves to be successful, or some such. It was weird, but not in a good way--almost felt defensive or insecure. Of course I wanted to cheer for Al, but it seemed like these videos were showering him with more praise than the audience. In short, he was tooting his own horn a lot too much in my opinion. Indeed, I think it would have been more effective to have silly videos where people are trashing or not understanding Al's humor, since then the audience could boo or laugh at them. The videos they showed, on the other hand, kinda left you thinking, wow, this guy is really full of himself. A little disappointing.

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Bill Loguidice
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It's funny that you mention

It's funny that you mention that about the show, Matt, because he's always lamented that he never had a song place on the charts. It seems like being a master parodist who has outlasted the careers of all others is not enough--he craves that legitimate success. It's kind of sad, really, because it almost makes you wonder all the energy he's put into trying to make regular songs work he couldn't have made the parody thing even more successful. Still, I have much admiration for him.

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Matt Barton
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I know what you mean, Bill.

I know what you mean, Bill. It's like he's not entirely comfortable being a parodist. He wants to be taken seriously as an artist. I don't think he's gone so far (as I know) to release an entirely serious song, but the new look (especially losing the aviator glasses) turned me off in a major way. Of course he's free to do whatever he wants, but I felt a bit stung, almost like he was rejecting the old Al image for something cooler. Again, it's like he wants to be "sexy" rather than just plain old nerdy. To me, the appeal was the older days when you could look at him and say, WOW, that guy is pretty much rejecting the conventions--about time we saw a real nerd on MTV! It was a triumph for nerds everywhere. Now when he does a song like "White and Nerdy" you get the impression that he's making fun of that rather than being that, if you know what I mean.

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clok1966
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Geezzzz UHF was alot of

Geezzzz UHF was alot of fun!!! hehe I felt it was very Weird Al but as you mention there are fans of it and ...err Not fans? I do agree Kramer had one of the best parts "who wants to drink from the fire hose!". I guess when i think about it the parody shows where the only part of the movie where he got to go really off, the "story" was poor and so on.. but I still enjoyed it. I have seen him 3X at shows and talked to him once (as much as anybody does at those signing things) and have a CD of his signed by him when I did talk to him. been awhile since he released any cd's hasnt it? 5 or more years ( or have I missed some?).

matt you just need a shirt like his and the glasses and instant helloween costume! Of course nowdays nobody would know who you where.

Catatonic
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Weird Al has some pretty

Weird Al has some pretty great non-parody songs under his belt, and I wonder if he sticks with the parodies for commercial reasons. His parody music videos on the other hand are all pretty great. But that seems to have become a dead art form.

Matt Barton
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Al doesn't have to stick with

Al doesn't have to stick with modern hits. He could easily be a VH-1 superstar, doing parodies of classic videos. In fact, I think that's where he excels (parodying 80s and early 90s videos). I'd love to see that, though I admit it's probably unlikely.

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Bret (not verified)
Hmm... Seriously?

Here's a quote right here between the main character and his girlfriend.

Teri: George, did you get fired again?
George Newman: [banging his head against a counter] YES!!! YES, It's TRUE, IT'S ALL TRUE!! I JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT'S WRONG WITH MEEEEEEE!!!!!! [instantly changes his mood] So, what's for dinner? [takes a look at what's for dinner] Mashed potatoes?! My favorite! Teri, you shouldn't have!

I was almost completely sure you were parodying UHF or something. Unfortunately I couldn't find a clip online to show you.

When I was around... maybe 7 or 8 years old - UHF was an instant favorite. I NEVER stopped laughing throughout the entire film. It was hysterical.

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