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Honestly people, get over it. Stop being so damn sensitive, suddenly
people think everything is racist. People are so busy tripping over
themselves trying to be politically correct all the time, it's
ridiculous. Nacho Libre is not being racist. It's telling the story of
a guy who lived in an orphanage and became a wrestler to save it. Take
it for what is it...a movie. Yes, Jack Black's accent is annoying...but
guess what...it's a comedy, it's supposed to be one of the things that
makes people laugh. It's not supposed to be realistic so stop thinking
that it has to be.
Go watch the movie. It's funny and Jack Black is priceless.
Much to my surprise, as I begrudgingly went to the movies with my 12 yr
old son, I LOVED this film. I expected nothing, yet in return, I
received a wonderful 1 hour and 40 minute respite from the real world,
filled with slapstick humor and total silliness. Slapstick humor always
walks a tightrope between bad taste and belly laughs. The Three Stooges
are mind-numbingly inane: most laugh intensely and some never get the
joke. Laurel and Hardy isn't for everyone either. Nacho Libre is not
filled with Woody Allen irony, it doesn't have Christopher Guest's
drollness, and it's not James Brook slick. It's not sophisticated
humor! How can any film featuring Jack Black as a Mexican
friar/fryer/wrestler/wannabe wooer ... all for the "good of the
orphans" be taken seriously? It's simply for the 12 year old boy in all
of us who laughs when Moe hits Curly and laughs when fat guys, even
with over the top Mexican accents, are paired with skinny guys ... in a
wrestling ring ... with stretchy pants.
I originally wrote this as a reply to a poster who asked if the mean IQ of people who liked this was 93, but the post was subsequently deleted. But to him I say, "By the way, I'm a physician and my IQ is a tad over 93. But even if I had no job at all and even if my IQ was 93 ... who cares ... I laughed, with my son, eating popcorn, in the dark. And that's the joy of sharing a movie like this." No es?
Preface: I will avoid giving specifics on the movie in this review.
There is nothing more damaging to a comedy that knowing the jokes
before hand. Since I liked this movie, and it was funny. I shall shy
away from spoilers.
Jared Hess shoots his movies like a funny David Fincher. His obsession with grime and dirt and everything looking old and decrepit, is almost fetishistic. But he has grown a lot since we last saw his work, (shooting extreme close-ups of steak and tater-tots in Napoleon Dynamite). Not to sound cruel, but I was surprised while watching his latest effort, Nacho Libre, because, wellit looks like a "real" movie. There is dynamic lighting, proper shot composition, and interesting camera movements. I guess a budget increase from $400,000 to about 38 million makes a difference. Oh, and by the way, the movie is very, very funny. I'm talking cola out your nose funny. Starting with the addition of (the brilliant) Mike White to his writing staff, Hess has crafted a much more cohesive and narratively satisfying film.Though it does keep the skit-ish nature of Napoleon Dynamite, stuff actually happens in this film. The movie, (apparently based on a real monk, though the end of the credits state that the film is totally fictitious) tells the story of Ignacio (Nacho for short), an orphaned boy who becomes a monk at an orphanage. Nacho is in charge of "Cooking duties and dead guy duties" and is generally looked down upon by the other monks and priests, though the children love him. After the orphans nacho's are stolen by a homeless man and the head priest humiliates Nacho for his pitiful meal preparation skills, Nacho--who's greatest love in life is masked luchador wrestlingdecides to enter a tag team match, with the thief as his partner. They lose, horribly, but discover that even the losers get paid. And with money, Esqueleto, the street urchin (and yes, those are his real teeth) can live comfortably and Nacho can buy better food for the orphans. Orphans who are hilariously always referred to as "the orphans", as if to constantly reminding them of their misfortune. Also, during all of this, Nacho is trying to woo the new girl, Encarnación, who just happens to be a nun with the same name he has.
Given the current battery the Catholic Church is taking in public opinion, it is nice to see a movie that never once mocks the religion. Sure, there are priests who have the hots for Ana de la Reguera. But the she is so dumbfoundingly gorgeous, it would be silly for any man, much less one who must be celibate, to not at very least look twice at her. The church here is played as a wholesome, good place. There is never any salacious undertone to the scenes between the priests left alone with small children, and nobody "gets" the girl in the end, so all the general morals are upheld. Also, it is nice to see a movie about Latin culture starringgaspLatinos! Everyone in the movie, except Black, (who is actually playing a white guy, not a Mexican as many IMDb posters have postulated) is of Hispanic origin. And the culture comes off well.
Beck does a few wonderfully fun songs for the soundtrack, and Danny Elfman's score is his best in years. (ironically, shortly after I wrote this, I discovered that he had taken his name off of the film because he was unhappy with the way his work was presented). There is a general irrepressible levity to the proceedings that is infectious. And though the movie meanders more than it should, you can't help forgive its shortcomings because it is so well natured. Oddly in contrast to this are the wrestling scenes. They come off as overly violent, and though this could have just been Mann's Chinese's killer sound system, I could hear bones crunch, and things looked painful. The action scenes aren't farcical like the rest of the film, though some of them are thrilling.
Parents should be aware that this movie could be a bit scary for children under 9 or 10, and though the film has a more positive role for minorities and women than any film I've seen in a while; it does seem a little bit inappropriate at times. There is nothing sexual, and there are good morals to be found, but the movie does have a strong line of toilet humor and Punch and Judy level slapstick throughout. However, this isn't really a kid's movie. It is just a movie, that happens to be rated PG. It is made for teens and adults, but there is nothing objectionable enough as to keep kids out. Overall, Nacho Libre is a pretty damned funny movie, with a good heart and lots of laughs. Jack Black even gets to sing, a few times! And while it is less instantly quotable than Napoleon Dynamite it is a better film overall. If you like Jack Black, Dynamite, Wrestling, or your kids have already seen Cars and you want to take them to something else, this movie is about as good as you could hope for. Though not especially deep, it is exactly what I want when I go see a big summer comedy. Now I just can't wait for the Tenacious D movie.
Post Script: Prepare to hear "I only believe in science" constantly after this film is released.
I saw this at the LA premiere at the Chinese Mann Theater. The audience was laughing so much at times, it was hard to hear the film. Jack Black may at times go over the top but he more than makes up for it with some moments of real genius. Besides the obvious jokes there's an intelligent, awkward humor here for those who look for it. Some critics are saying the plot is too predictable. C'mon. This is often an issue with critics trying to take storytelling in comedies too seriously. If a comedy succeeds in making you laugh all the way through, who the heck cares? Were you going to this movie to feel suspense or to pee your pants laughing? If the latter, you'll love this film.
It's good to know that farce is alive and well in the world. Since the
mid 90's it feels like film makers have lost their grip on truly great
weird comedy. Movies that speak to the few and turn off the rest. It
seems that even as the tools to unlock our imaginations get flashier
and flashier, and special effect budgets grow and grown, American film
grow static and stale. Then when it seems like all hope is lost, a film
like NACHO LIBRE comes along.
Somewhere in Mexico, a young priest named Nacho (Jack Black) longs to be recognized. He's tired of serving the same bland food to the young boys in his charge. He's tired of being disrespected by the other priests. He longs to be a luchadore (a Mexican wrestler), and to gain the affections of the stunning Sister Encarnación (Ana del la Regura). Then when all hope is lost he teams up with a new friend named Esquelta, and takes the Mexican wrestling world by storm. Will the orphan boys get better food? Will Nacho win the heart of Sister Encarnación? Will he lose everything he has, on a quest to become a great warrior? Giving this movie its due will provide those answers and more. The movie not perfect. It's a little overlong and some of the jokes fall flat on their face. But there is an earnestness and a sweet gentility in the film that will win you over. You cannot enter this movie with the wrong attitude and if you don't like weird movie its not for you. But if you let it entertain you and if you give into the fact that it really bizarre, it will work. You have to take every scene with grain of salt and logic must be thrown out the window. But if you turn off that part of your brain that strives for everything to be plausible, than this film will entertain.
Then for no apparent reason the movie does something I didn't quite expect, it begins to tackle a serious subject. Behind all the silliness is a story about how legalism traps us in a place of boredom and predictability. Whether it be religious legalism or secular legalism, NACHO LIBRE is about a misfit who succeeds because he goes out on a limb. He doesn't give up his religious fervor when the chips are down, when his atheist friend tells him to give into science and logic, and he doesn't give up on God because men of cloth treat him badly. He stays true to his faith and not his religion. This message is not beaten over the audiences head. This is not a religious picture. But it gives the film a dimension that I didn't expect.
Director Jared Hess, doesn't stray to far from his Napoleon Dynamite roots. But that's okay. It works here and he hits the right comic tones. I can't wait for the DVD because I'm convinced that the film really needs to be viewed a second time. Knowing what to expect allows the audience to settle into Hess skewed comedy. The film is very dry and if you don't know what to expect its easy to dismiss the comedy and think the film is horrible. You have to work at it a little bit and let it sink in. But when you get it you'll love it.
If you're looking for an hour and half of silliness you can't go wrong with NACHO LIBRE. It's cute, sweet, and you get to stare at Jack Black's upper torso for far too long. Trust me if you like weirdly sweet Mexican wrestling comedies this is the film for you.
This movie is based on a real priest, Rev. Sergio Gutierrez Benitez.
who has been in over 4,000 matches over the past 23 years. His ring
name is Fray Tormenta ("Friar Storm" in Spanish)and he does wrestle
under the mask in Mexico to support an orphanage. The story was on the
CBS evening news and a couple of the news magazine shows several years
ago. Every now and then you either see, or read something about him.
I watch movies to be entertained. If I wanted "deep thought" I'd go to a library. This is Jack Black being Jack Black. The dialog is crude, humor slapstick, and storyline so, so. But it's funny.
I wouldn't buy it for my personal collection, but it's good for an evening of rental movies at home.
"Nacho Libre" contains much of the same dry, deadpan humor that made "Napoleon Dynamite" so much fun to watch. I'm sure Jared Hess's brand of humor is not for everybody. We're living in an era where Dane Cook is our top comedian. So if you're expecting the same loud, obnoxious gags you see in most comedies nowadays, you'll probably be disappointed. I, on the other hand, love this type of humor. Just like in "ND," the actors don't try hard to be funny. Jack Black is not very convincing as a Mexican. With his skin so white, he sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the rest of the cast. But that's no big criticism. This is a comedy farce, and if his accent didn't sound so phony, I doubt his character would be nearly as funny. As an extra treat for all the "ND" fans out there, his character is paired off with a soft-spoken Mexican buddy. They make a good comic team, with Jack being so short and fat, and his buddy being so tall and thin. I tend to just roll my eyes at many of the crude gags I see in movies nowadays, but I even enjoyed the bathroom humor in this movie. I found myself laughing most of the way through, and this is one of the rare cases where I felt that the film lived up to its trailer. Some of the funniest gags were given away in the trailer, but there are many other funny gags that weren't. If I have any complaints, the movie does sort of drag in the third act. But all in all, "Nacho Libre" is good fun for the entire family. I can't wait to see Jared Hess's next project.
I make no apologies for liking this movie. It seemed everyone at the
video store, from the manager on down, all thought otherwise....but I
took a shot, rented it, and laughed my butt off watching this film. Now
I own it.
Jack Black was hilarious as the monk-pro wrestling wannabe "Nacho." The premise alone is humorous: an overweight Mexican monk who would rather be a famous wrestler. It doesn't say much for his spirituality, but it made for a lot of laughs.
It's all outrageous, absurd humor, not meant to do anything but evoke laughs, at any cost......just harmless fun. Detractors should keep that in mind.
I have no interest in wrestling but the wrestling scenes in this film had me constantly laughing out loud. Black's tag-team partner, "Esquelito" (Hector Jimenez) was just as funny as the main star, if not funnier. Just the look on his face with all his teeth sticking out was funny!
I have no interest in being a monk, either, but I know none of these "monks" in here were realistic figures, especially the nun: "Sister Encarcion" (Ana de la Reguera ). No offense, but only in the movies are nuns this beautiful. Wow, Reguera looked like a cross between Penelope Cruz and a young Winona Ryder. And, she wasn't just beautiful, but a sweet lady, too.
Although it's a comedy, the story had some nice touches of sentimentality and humanity, namely: "Nacho's" attitude adjustment, his genuine compassion for orphaned kids that the Brothers and Sisters took care of, and his basic desire to do good despite a very weak commitment to "vows."
Maybe that's why there are so many critics of this film: it wasn't mean-edged and nasty enough to satisfy them. However,those who appreciate good slapstick will like this movie.
Also, if you appreciate bold, beautiful colors, you'll find this an attractive movie. There was a feast of brilliant colors shown. I was impressed how much effort was made to make this movie look nice in addition to getting laughs.
In, a very, very pleasant surprise: much better than I ever hoped it would be....and recommended for those wanting a bunch of belly laughs for an hour-and-a-half.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you didn't know a face is the good guy in wrestling.
I'm a big fan of wrestling and I was afraid this movie might do wrestling a injustice but I was surprised by how good this movie was. It can be a bit slow and awkward at times but this is a excellent film.
It is hilarious at times but as I have said at other times it can be a bit slow. It comes from the same people who made Napolean Dynamite and School of Rock, both two of my favorite movies and so I thought this should be similar, and it was but there were differences from those two films in terms of humour.
Jack Black is, like in many of his other films, excellent in this. The rest of the cast is good and most of them were unknowns.
It is laugh out loud funny and even if you don't like wrestling you will probably like this if you liked Napolean Dynamite.
Saw this on a plane flight from Thailand to Japan, and it seemed as if I was the only one laughing. Once I found where this movie was coming from, it had me LOL and getting a few glances from others more interested in the food. Let me explain. Its not gag, punchline funny and was never intended to be. The understated dryness of visual gags and 'dead pan' delivery of dialog makes this movie totally ridiculous and a crack up! Black is great and pulls off some excellent poses. The movie is clever and artistically shot, adding even more depth to the humour. At worst this movie has a few slow spots, but it is peppered with some great 'laugh till there is dribble running out the side of your mouth' slapstick.
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