Weird: The Al Yankovic Story turns the musical biopic genre on its head as the film is the first major parody of the genre since 2007.
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story turns 15 years old in December. It was the musical biopic to end all musical biopics because of how much it parodied the genre. Since its release, every major musical biopic has hit all the checkmarks. Nearly 15 years later, along comes Weird and I wish I saw it with an audience. The press and industry screening during TIFF was in one of the smallest theaters. As such, I had to wait for a screener to arrive. This is a film that will certainly play better with a crowd then watching by oneself. Maybe Roku will allow the film to get late night screenings at repertory houses in the near future? We’ll just have to see what happens.
If “Weird Al” Yankovic’s dad, Nick (Toby Huss) had his way, he would be working in the factory. His mother, Mary (Julianne Nicholson), doesn’t like that he listens to Dr. Demento (Rainn Wilson) and hides Hawaiian shirts underneath the mattress. It’s a nightmare for any parent when you think about it. How do you tell your parents that your life is on a different path? I don’t know. Anyway, life would forever change when an accordion salesman comes knocking at the door. One look inside the box and the rest is history. Later on, he’s performing a parody song on stage and Dr. Demento just happens to be in the audience. I mean, this film features a soundtrack of some of his greatest hits.
Daniel Radcliffe has been making some solid choices in recent years since hanging up the wand. Weird is probably not the film that anybody could have ever predicted he would be starring in. And yet, when Roku released one of the first looks at the actor in the film, it was an uncanny resemblance. Let me tell you, he is perfect in the film. Obviously, it’s “Weird Al” Yankovic who is doing all the singing but Radcliffe is stupendous nevertheless. They could have had an accordion double and cut around him but Radcliffe puts in the work.
Evan Rachel Wood is equally terrific as Madonna. I do not know how much of the story is true and which is exaggerated. The thing about Weird Al is that his parodies led to a bump for the original songs. It’s no surprise, really, that Madonna would want the bump for her own music. We do know that it was Madonna who suggests a recording of “Like A Surgeon.”
The film is getting a small theatrical release so it will be up for Oscar consideration. Given the fact that it is also launching on The Roku Channel, one would think that the Emmys will be its best chances. Yankovic pens a new tune for the film’s end credits so it is up for Best Original Song during the awards season. If he doesn’t make the Oscars shortlist, Roku will probably put all their eggs in the Emmys basket. As amazing as Daniel Radcliffe is in the film, he has no chance of landing any Oscar nominations. Best Actor is stacked this year and of course, the musician slot is going to likely go to Austin Butler for his performance in Elvis.
This film is stacked with cameos every which way you look. No, I will not spoil them but it’s most definitely a riot. The only thing I will say is that–scratch that, why should I take the fun away? What shocks me is that they only filmed this in LA for 18 days. I know from many interviews that a lot of filmmakers wish they had more time but I can’t believe that they shot this in under 20 days. You couldn’t tell from watching the final product!
“Weird Al” Yankovic is the parody king of music so it should not be surprising that Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is a parody in movie form.
DIRECTOR: Eric Appel
SCREENWRITERS: Al Yankovic & Eric Appel
CAST: Daniel Radcliffe, Evan Rachel Wood, Rainn Wilson, Toby Huss, and Julianne Nicholson
The Roku Channel launches Weird: The Al Yankovic Story on November 4, 2022. Grade: 4/5
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