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UHF (1989)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 21 July 1989 (USA)
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An unemployed visionary becomes the manager of a local public station. The station becomes a success, with all sorts of hilarious sight gags and wacky humor.

Director:

Jay Levey

Writers:

'Weird Al' Yankovic (as Al Yankovic), Jay Levey
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
'Weird Al' Yankovic ... George Newman
Victoria Jackson ... Teri Campbell
Kevin McCarthy ... R.J. Fletcher
Michael Richards ... Stanley Spadowski
David Bowe ... Bob Steckler
Stanley Brock ... Harvey Bilchik
Anthony Geary ... Philo
Trinidad Silva ... Raul Hernandez
Gedde Watanabe ... Kuni
Billy Barty ... Noodles MacIntosh
John Paragon ... Richard Fletcher
Fran Drescher ... Pamela Finklestein
Sue Ane Langdon ... Esther Bilchik
David Proval ... Head Thug
Grant James ... Killer Thug
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Storyline

George Newman is a daydreamer whose hyperactive imagination keeps him from holding a steady job. His uncle decides George would be the perfect man to manage Channel 62, a television station which is losing money and viewers fast. When George replaces the station's reruns with bizarre programs such as "Stanley Spadowski's Clubhouse", "Wheel of Fish" and "Raul's Wild Kingdom", ratings begin to soar again. Mean-spirited and cynical mogul R.J. Fletcher becomes furious that the UHF station is getting better ratings than his network's programming. Because of gambling debts, the uncle is forced to consider selling the station to Fletcher, who would only too happily shut down (he cannot legally own two stations in the same town). George and his friends organize a 48-hour telethon to raise the money by selling investment stock from Channel 62 to save the town's new favorite station. Written by MGM/UA Home Video

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Television the way it was meant to be seen: in a movie theater. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 July 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Vidiot from UHF See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$6,157,157
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (rough cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The performers shown in the telethon (the Kipper Kids, the upside-down guitar-playing yodeler, Uncle Sam on stilts, etc) were all real acts. See more »

Goofs

The Bum told Fletcher that the penny he gave him was a 1955 doubled-die Denver mint penny. However the 1955 doubled-die cent was made in Philadelphia, not in Denver. See more »

Quotes

Chorus: [commercial jingle] Spatula City, we sell spatulas - and that's all!
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Comedy Central version deletes quite a little out of such a short film - mainly bits related to animal cruelty, such as much of the "Raul's Wild Kingdom" scene (involving teaching poodles how to fly) and the punchline of car commercial (the owner threatens to club a baby seal if buyers don't come). Among other bits deleted: a scene regarding gun nuts; part of the scene where Emo Phillips loses a finger in a saw; most of the first "Uncle Nutzy's Clubhouse" scene (probably because the final punchline involves a guy eating dog treats by accident); the part of the "Conan the Librarian" sequence where a guy says he has an overdue library book, and Conan bloodlessly cuts him in half with his sword; a sequence with an elderly lady who knees R.J. Fletcher in the crotch. See more »

Connections

Spoofs Super Bloopers and Practical Jokes (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Battle Hymn of the Republic
Written by Julia Ward Howe and William Steffe
Performed by The The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square with The Philadelphia Orchestra
Courtesy of CBS Masterworks
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Go buy this DVD right now!
26 September 2005 | by velcroheadSee all my reviews

It's very telling that I had to look 15 pages deep into the user comments to find one negative review of this movie. And the negative reviews were from insufferable snots.

This movie made me laugh as a teenager, but it also makes me laugh as a fully grown adult. Does that mean the humor is dumb or sophomoric? Not necessarily. What exactly is "adult humor" anyway? Does it necessarily need to contain graphic depictions of sex and generous uses of profanity to be considered sophisticated and adult?? I contend that it does not, and I cite UHF as an example.

The laughs here are genuine, and they come from lack of pretentiousness and an honest feeling that one need not take oneself too seriously at any given moment. Al lets us know that it's OK to make fun of yourself as well as the rest of society. Much of what he does is self-deprecating, and UHF is no exception. He doesn't stand around making fun of others and establishing an air of superiority over the rest of society. As George Newman, he becomes the everyman, infusing much of his own personality along with his on-stage comedic persona. And he's not afraid to kick himself around and then proceed to pull himself up via his own bootstraps. Nobody else has to be hurt.

Plot has never been a big necessity in these spoof/parody movies. "The Naked Gun," "Airplane," "Top Secret," "Johnny Dangerously," and many others have had the most skeletal of plots. Cop must find and bring to justice bad guy who shot his friend. Burned out ex-pilot must save aircraft when crew dies. Rock and roll star must overthrow Nazi plot. Mobster must overcome those who wish to take him down. And in "UHF" we have Loser Man must save TV station from evil network exec. The plot is not important; it's just a vehicle to get us from laugh to laugh and set up the next joke.

UHF's comedy, though basic, rings true, and if you'll drop all of your pretentious airs, you'll get it. (We all know you're not nearly as sophisticated as you think you are anyway.) Who among us can keep from laughing while Raul teaches poodles to fly? Who can stifle a chuckle when Stanley is doing... well... doing just about everything he does in this film? Al admits in his commentaries and interviews that "UHF" is no "Citizen Kane." But that's the beauty of it. There's nothing complex here. It's all about the laugh, and there's where this movie really scores.


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