Weird: The Al Yankovic Story

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
Original title:Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
Director:Eric Appel
Release:The Roku Channel
Running time:108 minutes
Release date:04 november 2022
Explore all facets of Yankovic's life, from his meteoric rise to fame with early hits like Eat It and Like a Surgeon to his torrid celebrity romances and famously depraved lifestyle.

Mulder's Review

"Eric Appel, who directed the movie, also directed the original Funny or Die clip back then and I think he'd just seen the Notorious B.I.G. biopic, which plays fast and loose with the facts. And he thought, "You know, it would be funny to do a fake biopic trailer for somebody who not only is alive, currently, but who, famously, you know, doesn't have a lot of scandal in their life." And he thought of me.  Also because like how meta would it be to do a parody of a guy that's famous for parodies" - "Weird Al Yankovic

For all those who don't know the artist Weird Al Yankovic yet, this movie is certainly a very good introduction to the crazy universe of this extraordinary American artist who has left his mark on the music industry with his numerous song parodies and music videos.  This artist is not only an excellent singer, songwriter, actor, American author and producer but he also managed to create his own musical universe by parodying movies, TV shows and especially many musical hits. With such a career and many video clips that have become cult, it was logical that this artist could have his own biopic with the current fashion of biopics on artists for the most part dead, whether Elvis Presley, Freddie Mercury or other personalities. However, far from being a realistic biopic like many films, this one turns out to be a parody of these films with certainly a base close to reality but especially numerous scenes finding the humor of the artist and as such it is the artist Madonna who is the target of choice this singer who marked the 80s and 90s by a succession of memorable hits.

The artist Weird Al Yankovic has totally invested in this film both in terms of the scenario, production and playing a memorable supporting role of music producer. We understand better the presence of many cameos of artists in this film as Jack Black, Conan O'Brien, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Patton Oswalt. With the same energy as his numerous music videos and several of his cult songs such as Eat it Like a surgeon, Amish paradise, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is certainly one of the best comedies of this year and above all resembles Weird Al Yankovic, that is to say, an artist capable of the worst eccentricities and a genius lyricist who, in his own way, gave back to cult films such as Jurassic park, Star Wars and other American blockbusters. Finding its source in a parody trailer released in 2010 and already directed by Eric Appel, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is the craziest biopic of the year and above all a comedy destined to become cult.

To better understand how "Weird Al" Yankovic came to be, the film begins by showing his childhood in which his father is a worker and his mother a housewife (at least in this film). He receives an accordion as a gift from his mother, but she asks him to keep it hidden from his father's view. His father would like his son to follow in his footsteps and work in the same factory as him, while Alfred Matthew Yankovic prefers to find his own way as a musical artist. His first musical parody is the song My Sharona by the band the Knack, according to this film, which is completely removed from reality to reinvent the life of this artist in an eccentric way. It is interesting to note that unlike many other American artists and with a few rare exceptions (such as his personal conflict with the late Coolio), "Weird Al" Yankovic has never been in the headlines and has managed to make a name for himself in the music industry, selling more than 12 million albums and winning no less than five Grammy Awards. 

The film also looks back at his relationship with radio host Dr. Demento (Rainn Wilson) and especially his stormy relationship with the artist Madonna at the beginning of his career. We regret a little the replacement of the actress Olivia Wilde present in the fake trailer of the film by the actress Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld) even if this one comes out rather well by representing a Madonna not so far from the one we know.  The film even proposes a surreal meeting between Pablo Escobar, a great fan of this artist (in this film. Not hesitating to go into excesses without fear of censorship and to address all subjects, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story turns out to be an irresistible comedy that works perfectly thanks to the remarkable performance of Daniel Radcliffe. The actor who played Harry Potter in many films seems to want to move away from simplistic blockbusters to play in films that are close to his heart. Whether it is films like Horns (2013), Swiss Army Man (2015), Guns Akimbo (2019), Escape from Pretoria (2020), The lost coty (2022) this actor has been able to break his too smooth image to become a real comedian as comfortable in a comedy, a horror film or an action movie. By interpreting Weird Al Yankovic he simply delivers here one of his best interpretations and makes this film one of the must-see of this year.

The music occupies an important place in this film. Whether through the many musical numbers of the film but also to the musical creations of the Budapest Scoring orchestra. While many films fail to put music at the center of the story, director Eric Appel finds the perfect fit to give his film a real soul and pay tribute, even if it is in a comical way, to the genius of an artist who never ceases to surprise us, make us laugh and simply entertain our lives with a sense of punchline aimed at pure genius.

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
Directed by Eric Appel
Written by "Weird Al" Yankovic, Eric Appel
Based on Weird: The Al Yankovic Story by Funny or Die and Eric Appel
Produced by Weird Al Yankovic, Eric Appel, Mike Farah, Joe Farrell, Whitney Hodack, Tim Headington, Lia Buman, Max Silva
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Evan Rachel Wood, Rainn Wilson, Toby Huss, Julianne Nicholson, Quinta Brunson
Cinematography : Ross Riege
Edited by Jamie Kennedy
Music by Leo Birenberg, Zach Robinson
Production companies : Funny or Die, Tango
Distributed by The Roku Channel
Release dates : September 8, 2022 (TIFF), November 4, 2022 (United States)
Running time : 108 minutes

Seen on November 4, 2022

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