“Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” is a fictionalized and over-the-top version of Yankovic’s life. Though a few scenes take their inspiration from real-life events, the narrative is mostly a work of fiction. Directed by Eric Appel, the film stars the fabulous Daniel Radcliffe, who plays the protagonist, Weird Al Yankovic. The narrative takes us through the highs and lows of the peculiar life of the accordion player, though mostly, it remains an exaggerated recollection of events. Al Yankovic has co-written the story with Eric Appel, and we cannot help but imagine the amount of fun they would have had while writing it. The writers are at their quirky best, and they are able to take us on an entertaining and hilarious ride.
Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
“Life is like a parody of your favorite song,” says Weird Al Yankovic, and we couldn’t agree more with the parody king. “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” opens, and in the first scene itself, we see Al Yankovic being taken into an operation theater. Just when the doctors thought that they had lost him, Yankovic woke up and shocked everyone. Weirdly enough (we totally intend the pun), Al Yankovic asked for a pencil and a piece of paper, as he had had an epiphany of sorts. Born on October 23, 1959, the parody king was a peculiar kid from the very beginning. He was a fan of Dr. Demento and never missed his show, though often he had to hide and listen to it. Dr. Demento’s show was among the list of things that his father, Nick, wanted him to abstain from. Nick Yankovic worked in a factory, and he wanted his kid to follow in his footsteps. But Al had other plans. Music was his calling, though he was interested in a specific genre. Al found pleasure in recreating songs by changing their wordings and adding a unique flavor to them. The first time Nick learned about it; he lost his temper. Firstly, his son didn’t want to work in the factory, and secondly, he didn’t even want to create original songs but tamper with the already existing ones. Al always believed that by changing the lyrics, he was making the songs better, but his father believed that it was no less than blasphemy. Mary and Nick were quite blunt (which is an understatement) with their kid. They told him to stop being himself and to stop doing whatever he loved. It felt like somebody had given them a truth serum, and they had forgotten what the words like diplomacy and subtlety meant in real life. One day, a salesman came to their door. He brought an accordion with him. He said that it would change Al’s life, not because he could create great music but because girls would get attracted to him if he played it. Nick was a man of excess, and he relentlessly beat the salesman, so much so that he choked on his own blood. Nick left the house, and Mary came and bought the accordion, though not out of sympathy for the almost dying salesman but because she wanted to do something for her child. She asked Al to make a promise that he would always play the accordion in secret so that nobody would know about it. The choking salesman tried to speak in between, but he was asked not to interfere as the mother-son duo was trying to have a very serious conversation.
Weird Al Yankovic did everything that his parents asked him to do, not particularly out of respect but due to the fits of rage his father used to get time and again. Al attended his first high school party, and he played the accordion there, probably for the very first time in public. Up until then, he used to play it secretly in his closet. Everybody was mesmerized by his skills, but soon the “poker party” had to stop as the cops came, and of all the people present, they caught Al. Yankovic cursed his luck, and was taken back to his parents. That was probably the first time he confronted his father. They entered into a heated argument, and Al told his father that he had decided that he was going to play the accordion, firstly because he was good at it and secondly because he had no interest in working in a factory. Al moved out after he graduated and started chasing his dreams of becoming the most unconventional and unique parody artist that the world had ever seen.
‘Weird: The Al Yankovic Story’ Ending Explained: What Happened To Al Yankovic? Did He Reconcile With His Father?
Al’s three roommates, Jim, Steve, and Bermuda were always kind to him and supported him. They saw his talent and urged him to record his music. They didn’t have the money to go to a recording studio, so they recorded it in a washroom, where, according to them, the acoustics were just about perfect. Al sent the cassette, which had his parody song, “My Bologna,” to Captain Buffon, a radio jockey who had his own show on KSLY radio. To the surprise of his roommates, Captain Buffoon played his song, which was heard by people from all around the country. Al went to meet Ben and Tony Scotti, who ran a record label, and they rejected his song and asked him to come when he had something original. Weird Al Yankovic started playing in small pubs and clubs. He often thought that his music wouldn’t be appreciated in such places as they generally had a very hostile crowd. But surprisingly, they loved what Al played. During one such performance, Al met Dr. Demento, who took him under his wing and added the word “weird” in front of his name. Together, they took the world by storm. Weird Al Yankovic became a popular name in the world of music, and even Oprah Winfrey took his interview, as she was intrigued by his eccentricities and his huge collection of Hawaiian shirts. All of a sudden, it struck Yankovic that he should create something original, and that is how he came up with “Eat It” (in reality, a parody of Beat It by Michael Jackson). It earned Yankovic a Grammy in the best comedy recording category. Yankovic insisted that he had composed the song first and that the kid from Jackson 5 was just trying to become famous by creating a parody of his original works. Madonna came to meet Yankovic and instantly fell in love with him, though Dr. Demento always believed that she had come so that she could lure the parody king into recording one of her songs. Up until then, it was said that Yankovic had a Midas touch. Whatever he touched turned to gold. The sales of the original songs used to increase if he made a parody of it.
After staying with Madonna for a short period of time, Yankovich’s life became a mess. Yankovic didn’t know what he was doing or where he was going. He lost sight of the bigger picture. His band members, too, left him as he had transformed into a mean and self-absorbed individual. Al was a train wreck. He wasn’t able to hold himself together. He had lost a lot of people. Madonna was the one who was misleading him. She was alienating him from his loved ones on purpose. She knew that Al loved her, and she was using that fact to her advantage. One day, amidst all this chaos, Madonna was kidnapped by Pablo Escobar, and Al went in search of her. Pablo kidnapped Madonna only because he wanted Al to attend his birthday party. Pablo Escobar was a big fan of Al Yankovic from the very beginning, and he just wanted to meet the legend in person. Weird Al Yankovic killed Pablo Escobar, but just as he was about to escape with his girlfriend Madonna, she had a change of heart. Now that Pablo Escobar was dead, she wanted to stay and handle the cartel. She knew that a lot of money could be made from drug smuggling, and she said she was not foolish enough to let the opportunity go.
Al and his father, Nick, had a reconciliation of sorts. After Madonna ditched him, Al went back to work in the factory. He met his father there, who told him how proud he was of his son. Nick told him the reason he never wanted his son to pick up an accordion. Nick came from a traditional Amish family, and he wanted to become a musician. He wasn’t able to become one, and even his community abandoned him. He blamed the accordion for ruining his life and decided that he would never pick up one in his life. So, when his son wanted to follow a similar path, he got reminded of his past, and it came to haunt him. He didn’t want his son to go through the same ordeal. Weird Al Yankovic found the lyrics written by his father, called the “Amish Paradise”. Al knew that it was the only push that he needed to once again go back on stage and do what he was destined to do. He performed The Amish Paradise (a parody of Gangsta’s Paradise) in front of a huge crowd, and his father felt elated to hear his lyrics being appreciated by thousands of people.
All the musicians of the country had gathered for the music award night. Hulk Hogan and Diana Ross came to present the award for the best accordion player in an extremely specific genre of music. Weird Al Yankovic won the award and came on stage to collect it. He had just given his acceptance speech when a mercenary got up from the crowd and shot him on the orders of Al’s ex-girlfriend Madonna.
A melancholic message is displayed on the screen, stating that though Weird Al Yankovic might not be with us, his music will live on. The irony of the situation was that the extremely lamenting music playing in the background adds to the humor. We cannot help but laugh out loud when we see a slideshow of Al Yankovic’s childhood pictures on the screen while the end credits start to roll slowly, making us privy to the tongue-in-cheek wit of the makers.
“Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” is a 2022 Drama Biopic film directed by Eric Appel.