It’s great to be back! What an honor it is to be invited to participate in another movie marathon with my buddy the Juicy Reviewer. Juicy Popcorn is the epitome of excellence in the movie review biz, and if you love movies then you are in good company my friend.
Here we are at the second movie in our marathon, “Nacho Libre”. This movie may have flown under the radar for many movie goers, but it’s a real gem that deserves a closer look. Jared Hess once again brings us his unique vision, but now there are large shoes to fill after his very successful debut with “Napoleon Dynamite”. Let’s see how he did.
IN THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR WITH JARED HESS DOUBLE-TAKE REVIEW: It’s been said that dying is easy, comedy is hard. Somehow Jared Hess'”Nacho Libre” makes comedy look effortless, I guess that sounds like a huge complement, but it’s true. “Nacho Libre” is a charming tale about a hapless monk named Ignacio, who grew up as an orphan in the monastery where he now works as a cook. Dirt poor, Ignacio can’t even afford to buy the ingredients needed to prepare proper meals for the monks and orphans who also live at the monastery. Secretly Ignacio dreams of greatness in the squared circle. Sadly wrestling is strictly forbidden by the monastery, so Ignacio devises a plan. He dons a mask and assumes the secret identity of Nacho Libre. Nacho now sets his sights on the reigning champ, Ramses, a malevolent grappler who treats him with utter disdain. If Nacho can somehow win the title and prize money that goes with it, he will be able to better the lives of the little orphans that he cares so much for. But Nacho risks everything if his true identity is ever discovered.
What an odd plot for a comedy, right? But I think that’s what makes this story work so well. Poor Nacho, stuck in a thankless job, searching for more from life than his meager existence allows him. Director Jared Hess is known for his quirky movies, and he pulls out all the stops in this one. This movie succeeds on so many levels, it’s funny, odd, clever, and even a little tragic. I like Jack Black, and he’s at his best here as Nacho. He turns in a nice performance, and even has a few scenes that showcase his trademark musical talents. Nacho along with his best friend and tag team partner Steven (Jimenez) endure many tribulations in this wacky misadventure. Jimenez acts as a perfect foil for Nacho’s nuttiness, and his performance is definitely memorable. The rest of the cast also shine, but honestly Black and Jimenez garner the lion’s share of the scenes here. Frankly “Nacho Libre” is just plain fun. Hilarious is the only way to describe the over-the-top wrestling scenes, but the choreography is surprisingly realistic. Gosh, this is such an odd and original movie, too bad Hollywood doesn’t make more movies like this instead of the “comedy clones”that are churned out today. I like the gritty feel this movie has, the dirty Mexican streets act as a perfect setting for Nacho’s antics. Juvenile humor is sprinkled liberally throughout the story, with lots of odd references to corn, but I laughed at all of it in spite of myself. Gross out moments abound, Nacho eating a raw eagle egg to gain “eagle powers” is especially cringe worthy. Usually movie soundtracks can be a little forgettable, but here it’s very nicely done, it’s simplicity sets a perfect tone for most of the scenes. I could watch this movie over and over again, and have. As a buddy movie they don’t get much better than this, there’s real chemistry between these two, and it shows. The finale is truly worth mentioning, with heart pounding action and an epic finish, it’s cinematic gold. Without nitpicking I’m at a loss to find any glaring flaws with “Nacho Libre”. I have read some pretty bad reviews for this movie, and I say ignore them all. Don’t overthink it, just sit back, laugh, and take the film for what it is, a funny movie with a big heart. Give it a try. This movie is good, really good. FINAL SCORE: 95%= Juicy Popcorn.
Here is the trailer:
Jack Black- Nacho
Hector Jimenez- Steven
Ana de la Reguera- Sister Encarnacion
Silver King- Ramses