10 Celebrity Biography Tropes That Are Weird: The Al Yankovic Story Parodies | Pretty Reel

Weird Al has been in the song parody business for nearly 40 years and on November 4, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story was released on the Roku channel. The biopic film is praised for its over-the-top storytelling that twists the truth while brilliantly capturing Weird Al’s aesthetic.

Celebrity biopics of the past all seem to have some things in common. These similarities have become tropes of the genre, and just as he parodies the music, Weird Al takes the biopic head-on.

Fact Vs. Fiction

Biopics are notorious for distorting the truth. Almost every movie that explores the life of a celebrity changes things up to add drama and make it more entertaining. It’s the most common and sometimes most frustrating trope in biopics, especially for those who know and appreciate the truth.

Biopics tend to greatly exaggerate or leave out important life moments because people think it makes the watch more appealing. Unfortunately, they are not wrong. Weird is almost so far from the truth about Weird Al’s life, it could be considered historical fiction. Eric Appel and Al took so much liberty in telling this story. They’ve added such ridiculous plot threads that audiences are sure to be entertained and laughing the whole time.

Flash-Forward Opening

Starting a movie mid-plot is a commonly used trope to hook viewers. While plenty of movies and shows do this, recent biopics are infamous for it. For example, Bohemian Rhapsody opens at the Live Aid concert, and Rocketman begins as Elton John enters group therapy. Both movies start here, then immediately jump back to the beginning to provide context for what’s going on.

In Bizarre, this trope is parodied when Daniel Radcliffe’s Weird Al is rolled into an emergency room, unconscious. Doctors frantically try to revive him, and all of a sudden he comes back to life with an idea for a brilliant parody song. This is where the film ends and returns to Al’s childhood. This hook leaves viewers worried and wondering what led up to this moment, but also with an idea of ​​what they are up to.

Family and childhood trauma

Every great artist big enough to make a biopic about them seems to have some sort of family or childhood struggle that greatly affected their life. Johnny Cash’s childhood trauma in Walk The Line is particularly heartbreaking.

Bizarre sees Al being verbally abused by both of his parents. While the aforementioned musician’s trauma can by no means be understated, Al takes this commonly used celebrity biographical trope and puts his own spin on it. The script has his mother bluntly telling him that he shouldn’t be himself, and his father overreacts when the accordion salesman shows up at the door. Bizarre is careful to avoid diminishing genuine traumatic experiences, but it also succeeds in showing that biopics aren’t always good at portraying these issues in the most authentic way.

Lip sync

Biographical films about singers always face an interesting problem when it comes to deciding how they want to sing. Sometimes the actor sings each song himself. Other times, even if the actor is a great singer, he may not be asked to provide his voice for songs because the subject of the film has already recorded his music.

Several biopics do. Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody and Jennifer Lopez in Selena are some of the best-known examples of the actor’s lip-synching to the original music. Daniel Radcliffe can sing, as evidenced by his performance in Miracle Workers and at the 2011 Tony Awards, but in favor of parodying this common trope, Weird sees the Harry Potter actor lip-syncing to Weird Al’s voice, and the film is not too worried. to make it appear otherwise.

Instant Fame

So many biopics want to jump into a professional celebrity career as soon as possible, so they skip several important steps to get there. However, this will often give the illusion that their fame was instantaneous.

Weird tackles this trope brilliantly. Al comes up with “My Bologna” on the spot, and he quickly records the song. It’s not even ten minutes after sending the tape to the radio station that the DJ announces his name and plays the melody. This sequence of events is hilarious and the reaction from his housemates is priceless. This is potentially one of the best scenes in the whole movie.

mentor figure

Not all celebrities are born into a life of glory. Many of them go from a normal working life to daily recognition on the streets once their talent is realized. Many of these celebrities have a mentor figure to help them through the transition, and several biopics like to capitalize on that fact. Reverend James Cleveland helps Aretha Franklin in Respect while the Colonel guides Elvis through chaos in the 2022 biopic.

In Bizarre, Al asks Dr. Demento to help him cross bridges in his career and personal life. Demento watches over the young man, opens doors for him and disapproves of his girlfriend. The real kick, however, comes when Dr. Demento asks Al if he can legally adopt him. It pokes fun at how closely these mentors care for their proteges in the movies. They sometimes go so far as to be a parental figure in the life of the star.

The toxic relationship

Several biopics highlight a celebrity’s most toxic relationships, and not all of them are romantic. Unfortunately, so many stars find themselves in contact with such horrible people. Elvis explores the nature of the King of Rock ‘n Roll’s relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. The film shows, and multiple sources have claimed, that the Colonel sent Elvis on a downward spiral that led to his death.

Freddie Mercury and Elton John also had toxic relationships with their respective lovers and managers, as shown in their biopics. Weird decides to use Madonna in this antagonistic role, who only uses Al for the “bump” his parodies give original artists in record sales. In real life, behind-the-scenes interviews reveal that Al and Madonna have only met once. When you consider the truth, the movie becomes so much better, and a hundred times funnier.

hit bottom

Each biopic explores the good and bad of a celebrity’s life and career. The most memorable parts of the movie come when the star is down and they somehow get out of their funk.

As Post Malone’s “Rockstar” alludes to the dangerous and unhealthy activities rock stars are often known for, Weird takes the behaviors and actions stars often exhibit in biopics that mean the bottom, and Radcliffe’s Al takes them all. . He smokes, drinks, gets into a toxic relationship, has multiple public outbursts, crashes his car, and ends up in the ER in a single day. It’s a series of wild events that are entirely made up and parody that trope nicely.

The death

Most celebrity biopics are made about people who have passed away, and these movies are made to commemorate them and all they accomplished.

Weird Al is still alive and well, but he and Eric wanted to play into that trope to give the movie an ending that suited the wild story they told. As a result, they use a hitman hired by Madonna to kill Al just as he accepts an award he’s always wanted. The death is shocking and leaves viewers choking on confused laughter.

Real photos at the end of the credits

Almost every biography movie about a celebrity, whether they lost their life or are still alive and breathing, has a photo montage at the end that shares footage of the real person.

Weird’s end credits reverse this trope. This is probably the most obvious parody of the film. In the beginning, real photos of Al in his childhood and youth are shown, but as the credits go on, the beautiful images become photo-shopped images of Weird Al in weird situations or with famous people like Fire. Queen Elizabeth. This sequence is brilliant and gives the audience one last big laugh. Despite its inaccuracies, Weird may turn out to be one of the most successful biopics of all time.

10 Celebrity Biography Tropes That Are Weird: The Al Yankovic Story Parodies | Pretty Reel