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Weird Al Yankovic's Greatest Parodies And Other Songs About Movies

Weird Al as Rambo in UHF
(Image credit: Orion Pictures)

One of the most unique pop culture icons of any and all eras, “Weird Al” Yankovic has been entertaining audiences around the world for — [checks old calendar] — more years than many of his fans have been alive. And one of the subjects that the expert parodist has returned to time and again across his genre-spanning career has been movies (and he’s no stranger to hopping on-screen himself). So to celebrate Roku Channel’s biopic WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story, starring the brilliantly cast Daniel Radcliffe, we’ve rounded up a list of the Grammy winner’s original songs, parodies and other highlights that tie into the world of cinema. 

While they won’t appear on this list, I do think there’s a midnight movie trilogy element to the trio of tracks “Attack of the Radioactive Hamsters from a Planet Near Mars,” “Slime Creatures from Outer Space” and "Nature Trail to Hell." Now let’s start off with a Weird Al classic that isn’t so far off from those fantastical sci-fi stories.

Weird Al as Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Saga Begins music video

(Image credit: Weird Al Yankovic)

"The Saga Begins" (Running with Scissors)

With 1999’s “The Saga Begins,” Weird Al delivered a pitch-perfect twist on Don McLean’s “American Pie” by laying out the plotline for Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. In hindsight, the idea sounds like the ravings of a malfunctioning droid, but it made perfect sense before the prequel’s uneven legacy could be cemented. Ahead of the song’s recording, but after he’d penned temporary lyrics based on internet spoilers, Yankovic was allowed to screen the movie ahead of its release, and reportedly didn’t have to make many alterations to what he’d written. Some would argue that the song holds up better than either Phantom Menace or “American Pie,” and some would also argue that there should be a corner of the Star Wars universe where Weird Al can portray Obi-Wan Kenobi in full.

Bearded Rocky in jacket in Rocky IV

(Image credit: AMC+)

"Theme from Rocky XIII (The Rye or the Kaiser)" (In 3-D) 

The biggest track from the album “Weird Al” Yankovic in 3-D (and for much of his career) was easily the Michael Jackson spoof “Eat It,” but don’t let it overshadow the food-punching parody “Theme from Rocky XIII,” set to the tune of Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.” Granted, this version of Sylvester Stallone’s boxer is far past his prime at this fictional point in the series that obviously doesn’t tie into the franchise’s ever-expanding timeline, but it’s still inspirational enough, especially for those aiming to become deli owners. 

Forrest Gump parody Gump music video

(Image credit: Weird Al Yankovic)

"Gump" (Bad Hair Day)

Even though Forrest Gump initially hit theaters nearly two years before Weird Al’s album Bad Hair Day hit stores, the era-spanning Tom Hanks hit was huge enough that “Gump” didn’t feel wildly out of place in 1996. It perhaps helped that the track it was based on, the ‘95 hit “Lump” from The Presidents of the United States of America, was even more timely than the movie. If you look up “Awesome Ways to Signify The Mid-90s With One Song” in the most needlessly specific dictionary, “Gump” would be atop that list. 

Weird Al in Spy Hard opening theme

(Image credit: Buena Vista Pictures)

"Spy Hard" (Medium Rarities)

The quality of the film Spy Hard aside, it was a match made in heaven for Weird Al to perform the opening theme to a spoof filming starring comedy genius Leslie Nielsen, and the track itself is as timeless a jam as anything in the artist’s library. Not only is it a fun and playful take on James Bond themes, but it actually boasts the work of conductor Bill Conti, who also composed the music for 1981’s For Your Eyes Only, as well as five of the six Rocky films. While the song doesn’t appear on any standalone albums from Yankovic, it is included in the collection Medium Rarities.

Gandhi II Parody from UHF

(Image credit: Orion Pictures)

"Gandhi II" (UHF)

Okay, this isn’t a song, as it were, even though there’s music involved. And the “Ghandi II” sketch from Weird Al’s 1989 feature UHF is easily the least timeless entry on this list, given as it’s not overtly respectful regarding anything on display. But it’s a silly idea both on paper and in action to witness this hypothetical sequel to Ben Kingsley’s Oscar-winning 1982 film Gandhi, so here we are. 

Johnny 5 in Short Circuit

(Image credit: Tri-Star Pictures)

"Here's Johnny" (Polka Party!)

This Polka Party song’s subject matter technically plays more into the TV side of things, given that it’s a tribute to The Tonight Show announcer Ed McMahon and his iconic “Here’s Johnny” introduction for host Johnny Carson. But the reason why it makes this list is because it’s parodying the 1986 single “Who’s Johnny,” which was the theme from the sci-fi comedy Short Circuit, with the title referring to the instantly identifiable robot Johnny 5, whose name in the film is inspired by the track itself. 

Claymation T-Rex in Jurassic Park music video

(Image credit: Weird Al Yankovic)

"Jurassic Park" (Alapalooza)

A track that led to one of the coolest music videos of all time, Alapalooza’s “Jurassic Park” was obviously timed to the release of Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster, and parodied a song that many of the musician’s younger fans (of any era) may not be so familiar with: Richard Harris’ 1968 single “MacArthur Park.” This and “Spy Hard” in particular highlight Weird Al’s vocal range in ways that stand apart from other songs, and I have to again mention that badass claymation music video, which was crafted by future Kung Fu Panda director Mark Osborne and Celebrity Deathmatch animator Scott Norlund.

Weird Al being kissed in music video for This Is The Life

(Image credit: Weird Al Yankovic)

"This Is the Life" (Dare to be Stupid)

The 1984 single “This Is The Life” humorously tells the story of a gangster’s “money’s no object” lifestyle, and isn’t parodying any particular artists’ tracks. But while it ended up on the album Dare to be Stupid, it was originally commissioned for the Michael Keaton comedy Johnny Dangerously. Clips from the movie were used in the ridiculous music video, though it doesn’t seem like Keaton and Yankovic shared scenes. That would be the life.

Weird Al as amish person in Amish Paradise

(Image credit: Weird Al Yankovic)

"Amish Paradise" (Bad Hair Day)

The first single off of Weird Al’s ninth album Bad Hair Day was “Amish Paradise,” a parody of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise,” which was itself a single from the soundtrack to Michelle Pfeiffer’s 1995 drama Dangerous Minds. The song itself isn’t so much related to anything cinematic, but the music video (and album cover) spoofed the video for the source material, which featured Pfeiffer reprising her film role. So it counts. To note, this is probably the most strife-adjacent song in Yankovic’s career, given Coolio’s initial claims that he never gave permission for the parody to exist, though it was all later ironed out with cool(io) heads prevailing. 

Peter Parker in wrestling gear in Spider-Man

(Image credit: Sony)

"Ode to a Superhero" (Poodle Hat)

Another one of Weird Al’s all-encompassing film summaries, “Ode to a Superhero” is a retelling of Sam Raimi’s first foray into comic book filmmaking, 2002’s Spider-Man, set to the tune of the Billy Joel classic “Piano Man.” I’d love for him to re-lyric this song to lay out the plot for Andrew Garfield’s debut in Amazing Spider-Man movies, and then again for Tom Holland’s arrival as the webslinger for Spider-Man: Homecoming. Perhaps it’s happened somewhere else in the multiverse. 

Captain Underpants in front of American Flag

(Image credit: Dreamworks Animation)

"Captain Underpants Theme Song" (Film Soundtrack)

As the feature film debut for a kids-geared franchise that adheres to the notion of being as silly as possible, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie nailed it in pulling a theme song performed by Weird Al himself. And I dare say it’s as catchy and memorable as the themes from any other modern day kids movies, Disney musicals included. (I got you, Weird Al.) Plus, George and Harold are known for listening to his music in the book series, which is perfect for this fourth-wall-breaking universe. 

Ritchie Valens singing on stage in La Bamba

(Image credit: Columbia Pictures)

"Lasagna" (Even Worse)

This is arguably the least deserving entry on this list, but I won’t be standoffish about such things. “Lasagna” obviously isn’t about a movie, and the song it’s based on — “La Bamba” as performed by Richie Valens and Los Lobos — is a 1958 recording based on a Mexican folk song. However, the main reason the food-based single exists is because of the 1987 biopic La Bamba, with Lou Diamond Phillips starring as Valens. 

Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back

(Image credit: LucasFilm)

"Yoda" (Dare to be Stupid)

Now we come full circle right back to the Star Wars universe, for another entry from Dare to be Stupid, the sway-worthy single “Yoda.” A parody of The Kinks’ hit “Lola,” Weird Al’s song is a retelling of some of the storyline from The Empire Strikes Back, from Luke Skywalker’s perspective. It’s impossible to avoid singing the little runt’s name along with Yankovic by the song’s end, and this track gets extra cool points for calling Yoda a Muppet, given the Muppet-verse icon Frank Oz was the hand and voice that gave the Jedi Master life

WEIRD: The Al Yankovic Story is set to make its grand premiere on Friday, November 4, on Roku Channel (opens in new tab). So be sure to have your accordion-shaped popcorn tins out and ready to go. In the meantime, head to our 2022 movie premiere schedule to see what else is heading to streaming and theaters before the end of the year.