IN THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR WITH JARED HESS DOUBLE-TAKE REVIEW: Jared Hess’s next film is “Nacho Libre,” which stars Jack Black (Kung Fu Panda, King Kong ), Héctor Jiménez (Gentlemen Broncos, Epic Movie), Ana de la Reguera (Cowboys & Aliens, The Book of Life), Darius Rose (Lower Learning, Bruce Almighty), Moises Arias (The Kings of Summer, Ender’s Game), and Cesar Gonzalez (WCW Thunder [TV series], Los árboles mueren de pie). It is directed by Jared Hess (Masterminds, Napoleon Dynamite) who also co-wrote it with Jerusha Hess (Don Verdean, Austenland) and Mike White (School of Rock, Orange County). Nacho (Black) has long dreamed of becoming a professional wrestler, wanting to become on of the greats like Ramses (Gonzalez). But being a friar at an orphanage has stopped him as the other monks tell him it is a sin to fight. When Nacho realizes that his dreams can help the orphanage, he decides to fight secretly in order to reward the kids he loves.
The second Hess film had a ton of weight on its shoulders, as everyone who knew the director were awaiting a terrific comeback after creating “Napoleon Dynamite.” And of course, the ratings this movie got were awful. Why? Who knows, I’m not going to read the reviews. I wouldn’t have to anyway, because Jared Hess has once again crafted a masterpiece. A tale about a friar who wishes to become a wrestler is so original, so funny, and so different that I don’t know why someone wouldn’t like it. I’d like to start this review with a look into the story. We all know what wrestling is. It used to be big at one point, but now it is fading (it isn’t entertaining at this point). If “Nacho Libre” wasn’t made and someone came up to me and asked “would you see a film about wrestling?” I would have said no. I don’t care about wrestling, but this picture makes it awesome. The moves, the characters, the tones. What helps this plot the most is how they know that wrestling is goofy. They don’t try to make it serious; this is a comedy for pete sake! Something about seeing Nacho hugging a wrestler in the ring and constricting him while saying “give you a little squeeze!” makes me laugh and feel great all at once. The matches are fun, entertaining, and have fantastic directing and music to support. But the thing is, they are just a perk to this thrill ride. What? I thought the matches were everything! If you actually look at this from a critical standpoint, you will see that this is a story of taking risks for the ones you love. The incorporation of religion and how everyone was talking Nacho down only fueled him more to pursue his dream, no matter what the word said. It was about how fame can get the best of people, and how Nacho needed to see for himself why wrestling is important to him. He used his passion and religion at once, blending both so that they could help him to help others in the end. I’m a Christian myself, so seeing this was nice. Thankfully, they didn’t make fun of Christianity. Hess’s directing in this feature presented this plot beautifully as the atmosphere and tones gave a sense of a gritty and bright world of Mexico. Spanish was even a key factor in this as almost everyone spoke it. I could feel the culture spilling out of the film, even though most of this movie could be exaggerated. The matches were orchestrated beautifully, and I laughed during every one of them. The musical score provided such originality to this flick as well. It is something fresh, and at times I could catch myself humming it because it is just too good. Besides the production itself, the acting was fantastic. Jack Black is phenomenal in this as he steals the show in every scene he is in. It’s what is expected of him. Hector Jimenez, who I never heard of until I saw this, was great as well. His character is bizarre and he shares a good portion of laughs alongside Black. When compared to “Napoleon Dynamite,” this movie is hard to think of as the weaker link. Unlike “Napoleon Dynamite,” this film has a more concrete story, one that doesn’t feel like a string of scenes which are purposeful to make me laugh. I had fun watching both of these and they were both hysterical. I hate to admit it, but I think that they are both just as good as one another. Thinking on cons of this release is hard. I found quite a few minor ones, but none that are worth mentioning. One that I will talk about though is the character that is the man who cheers for Nacho in the stands. He has one good eye and a different color one, whose only purpose is to be shown cheering for Nacho. He’s been to all of his matches, yet they don’t explain who he is or develop him. I guess it makes sense to show him as a representative to detail how people feel about Nacho and Steven’s performance, but other than that, the character is rather useless. That would be my only main concern. Overall, this was a funny, incredibly original film that matches to Hess’s first attempt. I implore anyone to check it out! FINAL SCORE: 97%= Juicy Popcorn
This movie has been inducted into The Juicy Hall of Fame.
Here is the trailer: