by Will Conley
He’s been in more movies than all of the other actors in Hollywood combined. His demo reel stretches around the globe seven times. He has been scientifically proven to produce the greatest volume of laughter per cubic foot in the history of comedy. I’m talking about none other than Jack Black, and all of the above is true.
The top five Jack Black movies are:
5. Ha Ha, Just Kidding, I’m
not going to name them all off right away. You thought I would just skip right to the payoff, and deprive you of the slow crescendo that ultimately results in a more meaningful and satisfying conclusion? You have a lot to learn about the birds and the bees, kiddo.
Not to mention rock n’ roll. A good rock song — as any Jack Black fan knows — must start with a taste, a hint of what’s to come. The anticipation must build, and build, and build, until BLAMMO! — it all explodes in a glorious fireball of guitar riffs and cymbal crashes, sending Dave Grohl as Satan back to the pits from whence he sprang.
That’s “Tribute”, off the eponymous album Tenacious D, Jack Black’s long-running comedic band project with guitarist Kyle Gass. Black has always been a die-hard rock music aficionado, and some of his best known movies revolve around that very topic.
I know what you’re thinking. You think I’m going to segue into embedding a YouTube video of the scene from the 2000 movie High Fidelity, in which Jack Black as a raging music snob working in a record store throws a tantrum over the Monday Mixtape he made for everyone. You’re thinking I’m just that obvious.
The 5th Greatest Jack Black Movie in the World: High Fidelity
Well, come on. That was the scene that lifted Jack Black out of the obscurity of some nothing, ho-hum place called “already been in tons of major films and co-starred in an HBO comedy series that ran for three years”, and into the hearts of millions of hipster, wannabe-slackers. Besides, everybody loves High Fidelity. I had to include it.
Oh, “Fifth greatest?!” you protest? “Why not first greatest?!” Because that’s what you thought I would do, that’s why. I’m always thinking. Don’t try to outguess me. I’ve been doing this for a looong time, pal.
Besides, at this point we’ve all seen High Fidelity at least five times each, and Hollywood has a shelf life, so. It’s number five. Deal.
The 4rth Greatest Jack Black Movie in the World: The School of Rock
I figure I’ll get the two main rock-related movies out of the way first, and continue to piss off everybody who thinks they should Occupy the top two slots.
The School of Rock made parents everywhere love Jack Black. He played the perfect music teacher: talented, passionate, inspiring, and of course, hilarious.
Yup, The School of Rock gets 4th place. And 3rd place? You’ve never even heard of it. I’m only including this next one because it was an important point in Jack Black’s career. I bet you’re seething now.
The 3rd Greatest Jack Black Movie in the World: Bob Roberts
Contrary to popular belief, Jack Black isn’t all about the blending of music references and manic comedy, although he does do a very fine belly drum.
Jack Black actually started out as strictly a dramatic actor. His first major movie role had him playing a fanatical political activist in the 1992 Tim Robbins drama Bob Roberts. It was a relatively small role, but it was the role that proved his acting chops and hinted at his talent for getting laughs.
Here he is intoning the angelic virtues of a crooked, extreme-right-wing folk singer who is running for president:
He’s good, right? He was only 23 at the time. Now he’s 24.
The 2nd Greatest Jack Black Movie in the World: Nacho Libre
Nacho Libre was one of those hard-to-categorize movies.
Because Nacho Libre was based on the true story of a Mexican monk who became a masked luchador to raise money for orphans, the comedy element had to rely on subtlety and truthfulness in acting. Yes, the faked Spanish accents mixed with modern English slang like “douche” and “sucks” did stick out like a sore thumb, but that was part of its strange charm.
Besides, what American is going to watch a heartwarming Nickelodeon movie about a priest in a cheesy mask and tights, unless there’s a little douche and sucks thrown in there to keep things fascinating?
The Greatest and Best Jack Black Movie in the World: Kung Fu Panda and Kung Fu Panda 2
Yes, I am proclaiming two cartoons as the greatest and best movie Jack Black movie in the world. Yes, the titles of the two movies sound corny. Yes, it’s safe for children, and all.
But they’re both just really, really well done. Especially the first one. And besides, the first one is listed as only the fourth most popular Jack Black movie on IMDB, and I felt King Kong could use some damn competition.
But seriously, even the Chinese allegedly loved Kung Fu Panda for how well it presented Chinese culture.
Movie clips don’t really do the films any justice, as the it’s more about the overall hero’s journey and the story arc as a whole. But here you go:
Okay, so to recap, Be Kind Rewind, The Holiday, Tropic Thunder, Shallow Hal, Envy, Walk Hard, The Jackal, King Kong, Enemy of the State, and the other 653 movies in which Jack Black appears, don’t count.
The five — well, six — movies that I ranked here are objectively the very best Jack Black movies.
This article is definitive.
You might know Will Conley from such films as This Film Doesn’t Exist and I Have No Recollection of Having Appeared in This Film. Check out Conley’s The Devil’s Dictionary, Volume Two, a fake reference-book-in-progress inspired by 19th century satirist Ambrose Bierce.