Premieres December 30 on Disney+ ‘Weird: The Al Yankovic Story‘, a musical biopic that collects the life and work of “Weird Al” Yankovic, a character who perhaps sounds little in Spain, despite the fact that his music videos were quite common, even in the limited musical programming of the 80s on Spanish television. To put a face on it, he has offered Daniel Radcliffethe young actor who rose to fame 20 years ago with ‘Harry Potter‘ and who has spent all these years trying to get out of the magician’s robes.
Radcliffe has tried everything. He’s been a skinhead, a farting zombie, a teenager with demon horns, and even a fancy Victorian gentleman victimized by the woman in black, but none of the roles he’s been looking for have suited him as well as the idealized portrayal of Yankovic.a musician who has achieved success by parodying the music of others, in a way the first viral artist, since his work is enjoyed in small videos or humorous clips that are easy to share.
The movie equivalent of one of his songs
Long, long before ‘My baby woof woof’, Weird Al was already changing the lyrics of famous songs, his career began in 1976, when he was only 16 years old, and little by little he consolidated his brand with a permed hairstyle, Hawaiian shirts, virtuoso accordion, the hallucinated look and a whole career of insane and inventive parodic songs, which made ‘Like A Surgeon’ or ‘Amish Paradise’ hits comparable to the originals by Madonna or Coolio. What’s more, on YouTube she quadruples the views of some of the real songs.
A style that never takes itself seriously and gives the world of Weird Al such a language that it makes perfect sense that the film that tells the supposed true story of his life should also be weird and over-the-top, the climax of a career. man dedicated to parody, logically dedicated to laughing at all the tropes of musical reviews. On the one hand he is faithful to the eccentric spirit of his music, and on the other is the B-side of one of the best musical biopics of the century, ‘Elvis’one that so shamelessly embraces clichés that it seems as if she is laughing at them for sheer aesthetic exaggeration.
For Jankovic fans it is not something new. The singer already made an amazing parody film in the 80s called ‘UHF’ (1989) that anticipated the sly style of Mike Judge and other MTV prophets, a Perfect prelude to ‘Cabezas Huecas’, ‘Zero in conduct’ and, above all, ‘Wayne’s World’, even sharing the acid spirit compatible with the good vibes of ‘The Adventures of Bill and Ted’ of the same year. His own biopic of him is nothing more than an extension of that very 90s philosophy and is in line with other projects of his such as his own children’s program from that decade.
A cake to the face in the style of fashionable musical biopics
Of course, this new movie is made with his full input, co-writing the script and appearing as a record executive, practically winking at the camera as he berates his meta-film doppelganger. The director is Eric Appel, who was also behind the original sketch of ‘Funny Or Die’ on which the film is based, whose objective is to tell the character’s story, vindicating his success while smashing all musical biographical clichés there have been and to have
So much so that ‘Weird’ could deal with the life of an imaginary musician and it would still work the same. It is very possible that in Spain and other non-English-speaking countries his success has gone unnoticed, since his secret lies in the ingenuity of a surgeon (jé) in the syllabic reformulation of the original songs. A subject that is dealt with in the film, of course, while it dramatizes to paroxysm the common places of the curriculum of any rock musician.
There’s a rocky relationship with parents that turns ‘Rocketman’ into an old joke, a eureka moment, where inspiration strikes Yankovic to write ‘My Bologna’, which seems to trigger ‘We Will Rock You’ from ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ at the moment. ‘, and even the descent into drink and drugs that basically appears at the end of the second act of any contemporary musical review at the cinema. The joke rises to the bucket when Yankovic is hailed as a supernatural genius for replacing existing song lyrics, which is so crazy it ends up being real.
fuzzy reality and fiction
The core of the narrative is a series of skits centered on the musician, altering times, facts and the truth, playing with the concept in cool scenes like the ‘pool party’ style.The Dirt’ (2019), organized by Dr. Demento, the typical one in which the newcomer has to prove his worth to his peers, very much in the style of ‘Eight miles’which is also peppered with an absurd number of cameos that help shape the extra-film reality of the musician, a beloved guy full of friends in the industry.
So much so that one of the craziest things about the film is true, the idea that the major record companies were looking for him to do their parody and thus “dope” successful singles with a new life or somehow elevate those who they didn’t have it. A characteristic that defines the essential quality of the film, tell things that happened in such a way that you don’t know to what extent there is reality or fiction, such as the fact of his affair with Madonna or his collection of awards, represented in the film as a corrosive version of ‘A star has been born’ (2018).
‘Weird: the story of Al Yankovic’ is one more outburst of genius from a showman who bases his musical art on humor, who exemplifies in his being the gentle claim of the strange and what we consider strange. An artifact to empower geeks and nerds against the untouchable idols of the music industry, but above all a wonderful comedy full of rhythm and healthy stupidity, which shakes the starched stereotypes of cinema that makes people take themselves too seriously.