Movie Reviews

10 Fabricated Storylines in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story


  • Weird: The Al Yankovic Story pokes fun at the tropes and conventions of traditional music biopics, while also introducing zany ideas like polka music being illegal.
  • Some of the major differences between the film and the real-life story of Weird Al include the portrayal of his legal troubles and his relationships with celebrities like Madonna.
  • Additionally, the film presents the idea that Weird Al’s parody songs were his original work, when in reality, he is famous for parodying other artists’ songs.

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story brings the story of the beloved comedian and musician “Weird Al” Yankovic to the big screen in a biopic that is in keeping with his wacky style. Daniel Radcliffe stars as Yankovic as the movie follows the artist overcoming personal obstacles, reaching the heights of fame, and spiraling out of control, all leading to his tragic end. Of course, just as Weird Al parodies famous songs in his work, the movie is a parody of the popular genre of musical biopics.

Weird pokes fun at the common tropes that these movies depict. In doing so, the film tells a lot of deliberate mistruths about Weird Al’s life for comedic effect. While watching the movie, there are plenty of outrageous moments that the audience will likely know are meant to be taken as comedy and not biographical facts. However, with some aspects of Yankovic’s life intertwined with the story, figuring out everything that Weird fabricated can be a little tricky.

Weird Al’s Unsupportive Parents

They Never Discouraged Him From Playing The Accordion

At the beginning of the movie, a young Weird Al is discouraged by his traditionalist parents from playing the accordion. In one scene, his parents are devastated to find out that the teen Al had sneaked out of their home and attended an illegal “polka party”. Obviously, there is no law against playing polka, but it is a moment that highlights just how unsupportive his family is in his dreams of being a singer.

This is a trope that is highlighted in so many other musical biopics, from Walk the Line to Rocketman, giving the artist an oppressive upbringing that they must escape while also carrying the childhood pain of not being accepted by their parents. In real life, Al Yankovic was close with his parents, who encouraged him to pursue his passions and he received accordion lessons from the age of seven (via The New York Times).

The movie makes Al’s father out to be an antagonist right up until he finally reveals that he had childhood ambitions very similar to Al’s song parody and polka dreams. This leads to a funny moment of Al reconciling with his father only to win a Grammy and subsequently rub it in his father’s face.

Weird Al’s Relationship With Madonna

The Musicians Never Had A Passionate Affair

After Weird Al achieves fame for his music, he attracts the attention of one of the biggest names in music at the time, Madonna. The pop singer is quickly drawn to Al and the power he wields, embarking on an immediate and passionate love affair. However, while Madonna has fun with the relationship, she also hides ulterior motives with the hopes that he will parody one of her songs, thus giving her a boost in popularity.

Hilariously, the entire relationship is not only false, but Madonna and Weird Al have actually never met in person. However, Madonna did remark to a mutual friend that she wondered if Weird Al would parody her song “Like A Virgin”, which he went on to do in “Like A Surgeon” (via Distractify). It seems like that small comment led to the movie’s entire subplot about her being obsessed with getting him to cover one of her songs.

Dr. Demento’s Celebrity Parties

Fictional Characters And Celebrities From Different Era Interact At The Parties In Weird

The scene where Weird Al attends one of fellow parodists, Dr. Demento’s, famous house party is Al’s introduction into the world of celebrity. The soiree is filled with many famous faces, including Andy Warhol, Pee Wee Herman, Divine, and Queen bass guitarist John Deacon. It is also a scene that allows for some of the funniest cameos in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story with the likes of Conan O’Brien and Jack Black popping up as some of these famous party guests.

Given the fact that some of these characters (like Pee Wee Herman) are fictional, the party is not based on reality. Many of the attendees were famous in different decades, making for a nonsensical parade of big names for no real reason. This is likely a reference to musical biopics that are often cram in big namesof the era to grab the audience’s attention. This includes BB King appearing in Elvis and Elvis in Walk the Line.​​​​​​​

“My Bologna” Was Not An International Big Hit

It’s A Parody Of The Knack’s “My Sharona”

One of the funniest running jokes in the movie is the fact that Weird Al is a lot more successful in the music business than he is in reality. While Weird Al has become a beloved icon in his own right, he is also a very niche musician who operates outside of the mainstream. In the film, Weird Al becomes a megastar thanks to his parody “My Bologna”, a parody of The Knack’s “My Sharona”. Although he had faced a lot of rejection when he entered the music industry, his first single shot him to immediate fame.

“My Bologna” was a modest hit and sold 10,000 copies after it was featured on Dr. Demento’s radio show. While that is a strong showing for a parody song, it is not the kind of smash-hit that would propel him to superstardom. Indeed, according to the notes from Permanent Record: Al in the Box, his record label had no intention of promoting the song. However, the movie is in on the joke, well aware that this type of track would never become so big.​​​​​​​

Weird Al’s Backing Band

The Real Weird Al’s Band Were Not Old Roommates

At the beginning of the movie, a young adult Weird Al moves out of his home and is encouraged to pursue doing parody music by his roommates. After he has his first concert, his roommates grab instruments and play a backing band for him. Surprised that they can play instruments, the roommates say it didn’t seem relevant until now. The band as minor supporting characters who give Weird Al someone to interact with invokes tropes of films like Bohemian Rhapsody, where the lead singer is the sole focus of the movie.

The real Weird Al does have a backing band, but they are not old roommates of his (via Grunge). However, they are meant to represent the people who were with Al from the beginning whom he quickly casts aside when his fame takes him down a dark path. The movie even pokes fun at the idea of band members being overlooked as Queen bass guitarist John Deacon is a character in the movie who nobody recognizes. ​​​​​​​

The Real Musician Does Not Drink Or Use Drugs

Midway through the film, Weird Al, at the height of his fame, falls into a life of drink and drugs. His drunkenness during concerts leads to his downfall and eventual arrest. By the end of Weird, Weird Al is a successful John Wick-style killer with a high body count, including famous drug lord Pablo Escobar. It goes without saying that Weird Al did not actually kill Pablo Escobar.

Instead, it is a parody of celebrity biopic tropes, where the singer’s love of partying and a life of excess causes a career downfall. Movies like Get On Up, Ray, and Walk the Line dealt with these celebrity protagonists finding themselves in trouble with the law. Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody also explored the drug abuse that can occur in this world.

While Weird is not mocking the struggles these artists went through in their real lives, they do seem to be poking fun at movies that sensationalize these moments. In real life, Weird Al is a Christian who lives a very clean-cut life with no alcohol, drugs, or swearing (via History vs Hollywood).​​​​​​​

Weird Al’s Original Music (Sort Of)

The Musician Is Famous For His Parodies, Not His Own Songs

With the real Weird Al’s participation in the movie, Weird is never afraid to poke fun at the idea that he is a singer who is getting famous from other people’s songs. Weird Al tries to break out of the box of being a parodist and starts writing original songs. His first original song, “Eat It”, is his most successful yet. When he finds out Michael Jackson is parodying the song in a cover called “Beat It”, Weird Al breaks down sobbing.

This is one of the movie’s funniest jokes with it presenting the idea that Al simply came up with the song “Eat It” independently and was then ripped off by Jackson. Of course, the reality is that Jackson’s song was the original and is one of the singer’s biggest hits. Weird Al Yankovic has many original songs in his discography, but none of them are featured in the movie.

It should also be obvious that Al never claimed any of his parody songs were originals and this is simply the movie once again having fun with the idea of presenting his legacy as being more than it really was.​​​​​​​

Madonna’s Cartel Ties

The Real Pop Superstar Has No Ties To Criminal Organizations

In the climax of the film, Madonna is captured by drug lord Pablo Escobar and his drug cartel, making for a random action sequence that feels like it belongs in a Rambo movie more than a music biopic. Weird Al rescues Madonna and kills the entire cartel, Escobar included. However, the romantic and heroic rescue proves to be a turning point in the romance between Al and Madonna as she attempts to convince Weird Al to join the cartel with her and live a life of organized crime.

Unsurprisingly, there is no evidence of Madonna being tied to any drug cartel. While the movie was clearly not based in fact up until this point, this is a moment when it becomes clear that Weird is going to go in whatever strange direction it feels like. Not content with simply having Madonna be a bad influence on Al in the celebrity world, the film doubles down and makes her a full-blown action movie villain, which has a hilarious payoff in the end.​​​​​​​

Weird Al’s Movie Career

The Real Singer Was Never Offered The Role Of James Bond

At the height of Weird Al’s fame in the movie, he becomes the biggest star in the world, breaking all the music records held by legendary artists like The Beatles. However, he is also seen as spoiled and ungrateful, quickly developing an attitude about the kind of projects he would take on. In a moment of frustration, Weird Al mentions his annoyance at being constantly bombarded with movie offers, including the roles of Indiana Jones and James Bond.

The real Weird Al has starred in a number of movies, mostly comedies, such as The Naked Gun films, as well as a supporting role in this movie as real-life record executive Tony Scotti. However, he has not been offered the part of James Bond or Indiana Jones. Of course, this is another instance of Yankovic being very aware of his own image and presenting the mere possibility that he would be sought after for these iconic roles as laughable. ​​​​​​​

Weird Al’s Murder

The Real Weird Al Is Alive And Well

At the end of the movie, Weird Al’s career gets back on track, and he wins a Grammy. It is the kind of redemptive moment that usually comes late in biopics like this, albeit sometimes followed by the death of the artist. As it turns out, Weird was keen on playing with that idea as well. At the ceremony, Madonna, seeking vengeance, uses her cartel agents to target Weird Al and shoot him dead on stage. The movie ends with a title card confirming the idea that Weird Al was assassinated live at the Grammys.

Thankfully, the real Weird Al is alive and well, and the Madonna plot line in the film is an increasingly ridiculous, hilarious running joke. The scene pokes fun at the way many celebrity biopics, often tastelessly, portray the tragic deaths of the celebrity at the end of the movie. However, it is also a completely random ending that leaves fans with a hilarious and unexpected joke.

The movie then takes this even further with a brief final scene in which Madonna visits his grave and a hand rises from the dirt to grab her, in an homage to Carrie. It is hilarious that Weird: The Al Yankovic throws in a supernatural aspect right in its final scene without explanation. However, the assassination moment is one of the biggest laughs in the movie as Weird Al is clearly alive — he did appear in the movie, after all.

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is a comedy/documentary film featuring Daniel Radcliffe as the accordion-slinging comedic musician. In an exaggerated take on his life, the movie follows Al Yankovic’s early days and critical career points, including a tumultuous affair with a major celebrity, a domineering manager, and the various songs and performances that elevated him to stardom.

Eric Appel

Release Date
September 8, 2022

104 minutes

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