Tuesday, March 29, 2016

#2,052. Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny (2006)

Directed By: Liam Lynch

Starring: Jack Black, Kyle Gass, JR Reed

Tag line: "The greatest motion picture of all time"

Trivia: Dave Grohl underwent seven hours of makeup to be turned into Satan

Having already brought their unique blend of comedy and hard rock to television (via several half-hour episodes that aired on HBO), the musical duo Tenacious D, aka Jack Black and Kyle Gass, next made their way to the big screen with 2006’s Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, a rollicking, sometimes hilarious adventure that’s guaranteed to please.

A fantastical tale of how the band was formed, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny begins with a young JB (played as a boy by Tony Gentile) ignoring the wishes of his God-fearing, music-hating father (Meat Loaf) and running away to Hollywood, where he’s sure he’ll become a big star. Years later, JB (Black) meets up with fellow enthusiast Kyle Gass (as himself), who, despite claims that he’s a successful rocker, is flat broke and on the verge of being homeless. To raise enough money to pay Gass’s overdue rent, the two friends sign up for an amateur talent competition, and then set out to write the best song of all-time. After doing a bit of research, they discover that the one thing every rock star has is a kick-ass guitar pick. According to an employee at a local record store (Ben Stiller), this pick, which for decades has passed from one rocker to the next, is actually a tooth from the mouth of Satan, and whoever possesses it immediately becomes the greatest guitar player on earth. Thus begins an adventure in which JB and Kyle do everything they can to get their hands on this supernatural pick (known as the “Pick of Destiny”), in the hopes it will make all of their musical dreams come true.

Before the film’s title flashes on-screen, we’re treated to a rock opera-style opening sequence that tells the story of JB’s home life, and what drove him to strike out on his own at a very young age (this scene co-stars a pair of rock legends: Meat Loaf, portraying JB’s father, and Ronnie James Dio as himself). After that, the laughs in Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny come fast and furious, with highlights including JB’s first meeting with Kyle (who’s playing guitar for spare change on the beach); a drug-induced fantasy where JB frolics in the woods with Bigfoot (an uncredited John C. Reilly); and the pair’s attempt to sneak into the Rock and Roll Museum to steal the Pick of Destiny, which is in a room guarded by laser beams (JB manages to switch off these lasers in a most unusual way). All of this leads up to the finale: a hard rock showdown with Satan himself (Foo Fighters front-man Dave Grohl), which closes the movie out in grand fashion.

Featuring strong performances by the two leads (especially Jack Black, who’s at his unhinged best) and profanity-laced original songs that are laugh-out-loud funny, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny hops from one uproarious scene to the next with the greatest of ease, and as a result is an incredibly entertaining rock musical.

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