Notes from the back row 

Using a multitude of time-proven scientific methods you can pretty much divide the population into two categories – people who think Jack Black is brilliant, and people who don’t. If you compile and plug that data into a pie chart and then overlay it with a similar chart depicting the ratio of Napolean Dynamite fans to non-fans, the overall result will kind of look like a baby blue Mexican wrestling mask with stark red trim.

Nacho Libre , opening this Friday, is part comedy, part drama, part high-flying wrestling action, and all awesome. Co-written by long-time Black collaborator Mike White ( School of Rock) and Napolean Dynamite ’s Jared and Jerusha Hess (Jared also directs) this picture will be called childish idiocy by some, and best of the summer by others. I’m going with the others.

Black stars as Nacho, a half-Mexican orphan raised in (go figure) a Mexican orphanage. Now an adult, Nacho cooks for the children and blames his terrible food on bad ingredients. Nacho has dreams of becoming a Luchador (wrestler) and finally acts on them, sneaking out to practice with a skinny thief/wrestler named Esqueleto (The Skeleton). Along the way he falls in love with a nun but Nacho, ever the charitable soul, really wants success so he can buy better food for the children.

Nacho Libre combines Black’s penchant for physical comedy (he wears a lot of tights) and killer facial expressions (apparent even under the aforementioned mask) with Jared Hess’ ability to create really strange but interesting characters. Add in the rags to riches mythology of Mexican wresting, the on-stage morality battle between tecnicos (good guys) and rudos (bad guys) and a throwback to the popular Santo wrestling pics of the old days and you have a funny, goofy, yet touching movie that’s a perfect alternative for discerning cinema goers and budding pie-chart scientists everywhere.

Speaking of pie, Minced pie replaces lasagna as Garfield’s favourite food in Garfield: Tail of Two Kitties in which everyone’s favourite fat cat goes to England and shits on the classic prince and the pauper premise.

Forget the fact that Garfield has been off the social radar for about 15 years now, or the fact that his last movie had about as much flavour as a vegan potluck (seems like all they serve is flakes) and you start wondering why this movie was even made. Unless you’re five years old and simple you’ll want to say ‘no thanks’ to second helping.

‘No Thanks’ kind of fits this week’s other sequel movie as well. The Fast and the Furious:Tokyo Drift is a testosterone-fueled street racing flick and will probably be a big hit among that special demographic of easily impressed skanks and dudes with tiny dicks. Street racing is gay – and not gay in the cool, Oscar-winning, up-the-bum kinda way either. Tokyo’s action sequences are somewhat, kind of, a little bit engaging but anytime someone opens their mouth you want to run them through the guts with a samurai sword.

Which is exactly what I want to do to Sandra Bullock every time I see her. Sandra’s back this week, reunited with Keanu Reeves in The Lake House , a romance-across-the-boundaries-of-time flick where she and Keanu fall in love while living in the same house, two years apart and using a time-warp mailbox to communicate. Sounds out there but it is technically really well made and the sappy romance is what some people like. If you liked The Notebook you’ll dig this too. Personally, I’d like to dig a hole and bury Sandra Bullock in it, but that’s just me. Although I do have some scientific evidence to support me, (Exhibit A: every movie she’s ever made.)

AT VILLAGE 8: June 16-20: Mission Impossible III, Da Vinci Code, Cars, Garfield: Tale of Two Kitties, The Omen, X-Men Last Stand, Over the Hedge, The Breakup, Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Nacho Libre, Lake House.



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