Movie Review by Siobhan Daly
Starring: Jack Black, Kyle Gass, JR Reed, Ned Bellamy, Fred Armisen
Director: Liam Lynch
The self-styled Greatest Band in the World, headed by Jack Black and Kyle Gass, have launched their grand assault on the silver screen in TENACIOUS D IN THE PICK OF DESTINY. With their unique brand of off-the-wall comedy mixed with classic rock music, this is destined to quickly become a cult film.
The movie follows ‘JB’ and ‘KG’, their musical aspirations and friendship as they embark on their quest for rock hegemony and global superstardom. It opens in JB’s hometown of Kickapoo, where rock is frowned upon as a sin. His father Bud Black (Meat Loaf) beats him for listening to the devil’s music. However, guided by Black Sabbath’s Ronnie James Dio (singing from a poster) to go to Hollywood to “find the secrets of his art”, the young JB sets off armed with just his guitar.
After many years of wandering through a variety of towns called Hollywood, JB ends up in Hollywood California and finds KG playing Bach on a classical guitar. Taken under KG’s wing (after being beaten up by Clockwork Orange wannabes) and forming the band, they start on their mission to write a masterpiece and along the way inadvertently discover all the great rockers used the same guitar pick. An ex-guitar tech (Ben Stiller, who is also the film’s Executive Producer) reveals the tale of the Pick of Destiny, “the darkest secret in rock and roll’s history”, involving a wizard, black magic, a fair maiden and a demon with a chipped tooth. The Pick now resides in the impenetrable fortress of the Rock and Roll History Museum and Tenacious D set out to achieve their dreams, with a little help from the Pick.
This is a hilarious film that parodies rock and heavy metal with an acute satirical eye. Cameo appearances from Rock legends Meat Loaf and Ronnie James Dio, along with Tim Robbins, Ben Stiller and Dave Grohl turning up as Satan all add to the movie’s undeniable coolness.
Director Liam Lynch says, “TENACIOUS D is about what you are and what you wish you were. It’s being the underdog, because you always wish for something else about yourself. Not everyone is in shape and because of that they’re ten times more sexy.”
“We needed to show the reality of The D in order to appreciate their hopes and dreams. You hang out in this crappy little apartment with them and you see how small their world is.”
Producer Stuart Cornfeld comments, “They have a pure agenda and a clear, positive goal. Jack and Kyle just want to rock and they’re not letting anything stand in their way. They’re 100% in touch with their dream and they’re going after it. They refuse to be disheartened by anything. It’s a wonderful energy to have.”
There are some scenes that are certain to become classics, in particular Jack’s laser deactivation at the Rock and Roll History Museum in which he finds an especially ingenious way of turning off the beams. Tenacious D fans will also love the references within the film to their first album, including an appearance from Sasquatch.
This is a very funny film with lots of laugh-out-loud moments. Jack Black said, “We didn’t want the audience to giggle or laugh politely. We wanted gut busters.” They have certainly achieved that. Spinal Tap have had the monopoly on comedic rock parody for a long time. Tenacious D have just stolen their crown.