It Looks Like the Weird Al Biopic Is Gonna Usher in a Bunch of Awful Copycats

It Looks Like the Weird Al Biopic Is Gonna Usher in a Bunch of Awful Copycats

Hollywood sure does go through phases with the dreaded music biopic — highly dramatized versions of highly marketable rock stars’ life stories fall in and out of fashion every few years as studios try to cash in on established fanbases following the success of films like Walk the Line or Bohemian Rhapsody before audiences grow tired of seeing the exact same story told over and over to different soundtracks.

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story seemed like it would break the endless cycle by satirizing the tired entries that came before it in a ludicrous, over-the-top, deconstructive parody featuring Daniel Radcliffe as music’s most popular parodist. However, it now appears that Weird is only going to start a new trend — yesterday, lauded independent filmmaker Alex Ross Perry told the New Yorker that he will be directing a “screwball movie” about the iconic indie rock band Pavement that will be “legitimate, ridiculous, real, fake, idiotic, cliché, illogical,” in the director’s words.

Someone tell Weird Al to start recording “Harness Your Tropes.”

Perry’s Pavement film will be the culmination of a creative partnership that started with Slanted! Enchanted!: A Pavement Musical, a Broadway workshop that paired the music of the legendary lo-fi group to a bizarre stage spectacle earlier this month. Perry also put together a pop-up Pavement museum to celebrate the group’s reunion tour back in September titled “Pavements 1933-2022,” which featured both real and fake memorabilia from the alternative music icons’ 30-year run.

As Perry told the New Yorker, the Broadway musical was but a precursor to the cinematic experience he hopes to create with the band. In fact, the musical will apparently be featured in the film, which Perry describes as “a semiotic experiment,” comparing the process to past Bob Dylan biopics, saying, “You take the Todd Haynes Bob Dylan movie, the Scorsese documentary, the Pennebaker documentary and the movie Dylan himself directed that everyone hates — Renaldo and Clara — and put them all in a blender.”

Perry’s increasingly esoteric description of the pending Pavement movie sounds like he gathered all the deconstructive, absurdist aspects of Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, took out the silliness and self-effacing tone and added a level of vainglorious arthouse solipsism centered around Perry’s thesis of: “What if Pavement, the Pynchonian rock group that never had a platinum record, was the most important band of all time?”

Though the upcoming Pavement movie is clearly trying to target a very different audience from Weird, the success of one absurdist, untruthful music biopic may have been the gateway to more postmodern experimental projects that take the premise of “what if we filmed a heightened, fictional backstory for this band” to insufferable new heights.

We’ll just go back to watching Walk Hard for the umpteenth time.

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