Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Al On Film

While writing today's anniversary review, I got to thinking about Weird Al. I love his Polka Medleys and Original/Style Parodies more than his straight parodies, but my favorite straight parodies of his are when he parodies an older song and writes the lyrics about a then-current release. I'd like to share these with you all now, because...it's awesome.

He's done this three times (I don't necessarily count "Yoda", since neither source was that old and it wasn't a whole plot reference), and in all three cases it was about a film that changed my movie-going life:

1. Jurassic Park
Parody of: "MacArthur Park" written by Jimmy Webb and performed by Richard Harris (yes, That One)
About the Film: "Jurassic Park" (1993)
Official Video:
My Favorite Verse: Actually the first:

I recall the time they found
Those fossilized mosquitoes
And before long, they were cloning DNA
Now I'm being chased by
Some irate Velociraptors
Well believe me, this has been one lousy day

2. The Saga Begins
Parody of: "American Pie" written and performed by Don McLean
About the Film: "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" (1999)
Official Video:

My Favorite Verse: I don't exactly know why this is the part of the story that's the most fun to sing in the shower, but I think the second-to-last line has something to do with it:

Well, we finally got to Coruscant
The Jedi Council we knew would want
To see how good the boy could be
So we took him there and we told the tale
How his medichlorians were off the scale
And he might fulfill that prophecy
Oh the Council was impressed of course
Could he bring balance to the Force?
They interviewed the kid
Woah, training they forbid
Because Yoda sensed in him "Much Fear"
And Qui-Gon said "Now, listen here
Just stick it in your pointy ear
I still will teach this boy"

3. Ode to a Superhero
Parody of: "Piano Man" written and performed by Billy Joel
About the Film: "Spider-Man" (2002)
Official Video: There is none. The album it came off of, Poodle Hat, had been banking on making a video of its parody of Eminem's Oscar Winning (I feel dirty typing that) single "Loose Yourself" entitled "Couch Potato." While Mr. Mathers gave his blessing for the song, he refused to give blessing for a video, leaving Al with just a half-assed vid for "Bob" (a song comprised of palindrome phrases sung in a Bob Dylan voice). But so that you can all hear the song, here's a fanvid reasonably cut to scenes from the film:

My Favorite Verse: Given what I said in my review of the film about a certain cackling madman, I think this comes as no surprise:

Now Norman's a billionaire scientist
Who never had time for his son
But then something went screwy
And before you knew, he
Was trying to kill everyone
And he's ridin' around on that glider-thing
And he's throwin' that weird pumpkin bomb
Yes, he's wearin' that dumb Power Rangers mask
But he's scarier without it on

Hope you enjoy those over and over again. I certainly do.


  1. Al is a national treasure! My mom took me, my sister, and our babysitter to see him at this bizarre theater-in-the-round (complete with rotating stage!)in Cleveland in 1984 or 85...I'm glad he's still going strong almost 30 years later.

    I think that the reason his originals and Polka medleys are sometimes superior to his straight parodies has to do with the strength of the song he's parodying; some of them just aren't great to begin with, and he often ends up improving on the original! What's so great about "The Saga Begins" is that little bit of melancholy he injects ("The Jedi I admired most...etc.")--that's the kind of thing that has always elevated him above mere song parodists. He's a very talented guy, and he would've found a niche in music even if he had never penned a single parody, but I'm happy that he found a gimmick that could bring him to a wider audience.

  2. I've seen ELO (minus Jeff Lynne), Kansas, Rush (twice!), Alice Cooper, Flo & Eddie (of The Turtles and Mothers of Invention fame), Queen (with Paul Rodgers, I sadly missed Freddie), and The Smothers Brothers live. As wonderful as they all are, none of them can hold a candle to the Weird Al concert I saw on my 18th birthday.

    And I agree with you about his improving on the originals. I can't stand The Rolling Stones (aside from "Paint it Black" and maaaaybe "Sympathy for the Devil" if I'm in the right mood) because I don't think they play or sing well at all. But thanks to Al's "Hot Rocks Polka", I now see that there's at least some decent writing in there.

  3. Has he done any parodies like this on his latest album Mandatory Fun?

    1. No, but MF is still an amazing album.

    2. Everything he does is perfect. The only song by him I don't care for is White and Nerdy as it has been used to death in AMVs.