Alfred “Weird Al” Yankovic, gifted singer and accordion player, took the music world by storm by parodying well-known tracks. Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” became an ode to food called “Eat It;” Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” transformed into a medical anthem called “Like a Surgeon.” It only makes sense, then, that a Weird Al biopic be just as bizarre and eccentric as he is. Directed by Eric Appel and co-written by Weird Al himself, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story tells the story of the musician’s life from childhood to the heart of towering stardom: A true story replete with a healthy assortment of exaggerations and fabrications.
Just like Weird Al isn’t your typical musician, Weird isn’t your typical musician biopic. Based on a 2010 Funny or Die sketch, the film operates as a scathing satire of the subgenre. Appel goes to great lengths to establish his film’s self-awareness from its opening scene: An energetic, anarchic sequence during which Al (Daniel Radcliffe) is wheeled through the corridors of an emergency room, seemingly on death’s door, only for him to spring out of bed and request a pen and paper. This delightfully absurd moment is followed by a musical biopic staple: The record scratch, “I bet you’re wondering how I ended up here” moment. From this moment onward, it is clear that Weird is as much a biopic as it is a parody of a biopic (just like Weird Al’s songs are equal parts songs as they are parodies of songs, get it?).
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