|Directed by||Jared Hess|
|Produced by||Jack Black
Ricardo Del Río
|Written by||Jared Hess
|Cinematography||Xavier Perez Grobet|
|Edited by||Billy Weber|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Running time||92 minutes |
Nacho Libre is a 2006 American-Mexican comedy film directed by Jared Hess and written by Jared and Jerusha Hess and Mike White. It was loosely based on the story of Fray Tormenta ("Friar Storm"), aka Rev. Sergio Gutiérrez Benítez, a real-life Mexican Catholic priest who had a 23-year career as a masked luchador. He competed in order to support the orphanage he directed. The producers are Jack Black, David Klawans, Julia Pistor and Mike White. The film received mixed reviews from critics.
Ignacio was the son of a Scandinavian Lutheran missionary and a Mexican deacon. They tried to convert each other but got married instead, then died while Ignacio was young. Now a cook for an orphanage, Ignacio dreams of becoming a luchador (lucha libre performer), but wrestling is forbidden by the monastery. Ignacio cares deeply for the orphans, but his food is terrible due to a lack of funds with which to obtain quality ingredients. One night, he is robbed of the orphans' tortilla chips in an alley and decides to make money to buy better food. He also reveals a desire to be respected by the other friars, to overcome a sanctimonious friar who mistreats him and consummate his feelings for the newly arrived tutor, Sister Encarnación. Ignacio decides to disregard the monastery's rules and becomes a luchador in order to make money. He pairs up with the tortilla chip thief, Steven, and they pair as tag partners and join the local competition, with Ignacio changing his name to "Nacho" to keep his identity secret.
Steven adopts the name "Esqueleto" (Skeleton); Nacho and Esqueleto are defeated in their first match, but are nevertheless paid, as every wrestler is entitled to a portion of the total revenue, and they continue to wrestle every week, with Ignacio using his pay to buy and prepare better food for the orphans. Ignacio is, however, discovered by an orphan named "Chancho" (Pig), who promises to keep it a secret and admires him for it. However, after losing many fights, Ignacio starts to look for help. Steven brings him to a gypsy-like man known as "Emperor" who tells Ignacio to climb to an eagle's nest, crack open the egg and swallow the yolk, claiming that he will gain the powers of an eagle. Ignacio completes the task, but still loses the following night's wrestling bout, along with several others. Ignacio gets frustrated after losing so many matches. He wants to win. He decides to seek advice from Ramses, a champion luchador. However, when he sneaks into a party and gets thrown out, and later when Ramses shoves him after meeting him in the street, he realizes Ramses is not in any mood to even help aspiring wrestlers, being too vain to think of anyone but himself.
Ignacio's secret is revealed when his robe catches fire during a prayer, exposing his wrestling costume. He admits that he is Nacho, although no one knows who that is as wrestling is forbidden at the monastery. Nacho tells them he intends to fight at the "Battle-Jam", a battle royale between eight luchadores, for the right to take on Ramses, and for a cash prize, which he will use to make life better for the orphans. Thereafter, both Esqueleto and Nacho compete with several other popular wrestlers in order to earn the right to challenge Ramses. The wrestler Silencio ("silence") wins; Nacho, due to the actions of an already beaten wrestler, comes in second place. Feeling shunned at the monastery, Ignacio leaves to live in the nearby wilderness. In the morning, Steven comes to tell him that Silencio's bunions are swollen and therefore cannot fight Ramses; he will, therefore, have to fight instead. It is revealed that Silencio's injury was caused because Steven had driven over his foot with a tricycle. Ignacio is distrustful of Steven, as he had previously stated that he hated orphans. Steven convinces him that he no longer does. Ignacio agrees to team up again. That night, Ignacio sends a message via Steven to Encarnación, explaining his plan and confessing his love to her (as a sister).
In the match, Nacho does well despite initial difficulty. With the crowd supporting Ignacio, Ramses resorts to cheating. Nacho then is nearly defeated — indeed, unmasked — by Ramses. (Although the unmasking is a very significant event in a luchador's career, suggesting the player's defeat and dishonor, the match continues with minimal acknowledgment of the act.) Encarnación then enters with the orphans. Elated and inspired, Nacho throws Ramses off, knocks him out of the ring and jumps onto him with a flair recalling his earlier brush with eagle eggs and their supposed power. Ramses is defeated. Ignacio becomes a pro wrestler and uses his prize money to buy a bus for field trips for the children. The film closes with Ignacio, Steven and Sister Encarnación taking the children to see an ancient city, Monte Albán, built by the Zapotec civilization. He even has an action figure made for him. Ignacio, by now, has earned Encarnación's favor, as demonstrated by her signs of encouragement and his somewhat awkward acknowledgment thereof.
- Jack Black as Ignacio/Nacho
- Troy Gentile as young Ignacio
- Ana de la Reguera as Sister Encarnación
- Hector Jimenez as Esqueleto/Steven
- Peter Stormare as Emperor
- Carla Jimenez as Cándida
- Richard Montoya as Guillermo
- César González as Ramses
- Moisés Arias as Juan Pablo
- Donald Chambers as Silencio
- Darius Rose as Chancho
- Diego Eduardo Gomez as Chuy
- Craig Williams as El Snowflake
Director Hess originally wanted musical artist Beck to be behind the soundtrack for the film. Beck, being a fan of Hess, accepted. However, Paramount Pictures didn't think Beck's style fit the movie, and decided to try to get composer Danny Elfman to replace him. Elfman then wrote a full score and recorded it in May 2006. However, only about 2/3 of Elfman's score ended up in the movie.
Due to how much of Elfman's music filled the film, Elfman's representatives asked that Elfman be the only person credited for the film's score. Hess caught wind of this and would not allow the studio to remove Beck from the credits. When finding that he would not have the only music credit, Elfman told Paramount to remove his name from the film. An agreement was eventually reached where both Beck and Elfman were credited for their respective parts of the score.
The release date was originally set for May 2006, but was changed by Paramount to avoid competition from Fox's X-Men: The Last Stand and one of Paramount's other films, Mission: Impossible III. It was then placed between the releases of Disney/Pixar's Cars (June 9) and Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures' Superman Returns (June 28).
The film received mixed reviews by critics; it was labeled as "Rotten" on the Rotten Tomatoes website, with 40% of the reviews being favorable and an average rating of 5.1/10. Rotten Tomatoes' critical consensus states: "At times hilarious, but other times offensive, director Jared Hess is unable to recapture the collective charisma of his Napoleon Dynamite characters, instead relying on a one-joke concept that runs out of steam. Sure to entertain the adolescents, however".
According to Roger Ebert, "it takes some doing to make a Jack Black comedy that doesn't work, but Nacho Libre does it". Michael Medved gave the film two and a half stars (out of four) calling it "amusing, but resistable [sic]", but adding that "director Jared Hess [employs] the same off-beat humor that made his Napoleon Dynamite a cult hit".
Box office performance
The track listing for the official soundtrack to Nacho Libre. The soundtrack was released October 24, 2006
- Hombre Religioso (Religious Man) - Mister Loco
- "A Nice Pile-Drive to the Face" (dialogue) - Jack Black
- Move, Move, Move - Alan Hawkshaw and Alan Parker
- Papas - Mister Loco
- Singing at the Party - Jack Black with Ismael Garcia Ruiz y Su Trio
- Ramses Suite - Danny Elfman
- "All the Orphans in the World" (dialogue) - Jack Black and Héctor Jiménez
- There is No Place in This World for Me - Beck
- "I'm Serious" (dialogue) - Jack Black
- 10,000 Pesos - Beck
- Irene - Caetano Veloso
- Pump a Jam (Ramses) - Cholotronic
- Black is Black - Eddie Santiago
- Half Forgotten Daydreams - John Cameron
- Encarnación - Jack Black
- Tender Beasts of the Spangled Night - Beck
- Saint Behind the Glass - Los Lobos
- "Beneath the Clothes We Find the Man..." (dialogue) - Jack Black
- Forbidden Nectar - Jack Black and Mucho Macho Acapulco
Some songs that were not included on the soundtrack, but were in the movie, are "Mucha Muchacha" by Esquivel, "Bubblegum" by Mister Loco, "Holy Man" by Beck and "Bat Macumba" by Os Mutantes.
In November 2006, Jack Black revealed that a sequel was a possibility: "I sure hope so, I love working with Jared. I think it's a good bet that we'll collaborate on something again. Mike had an idea that it would be Nacho goes to Japan, we'll see though." However, Jared Hess (who directed the original movie) revealed in October 2009 that Paramount had never approached him about doing a sequel to Nacho Libre, though he said he would "love to work with Black again".
- "NACHO LIBRE (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. 2006-06-15. Retrieved 2012-01-18.
- "Nacho Libre (2006) – Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
- "Danny Elfman scores Nacho Libre - ScoringSessions.com". Scoring Sessions. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
- Mike Sampson. "The truth behind Nacho's music - JoBlo.com". Joblo. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
- "Nacho Libre Movie - Starring Jack Black - Directed by Jared Hess - Official Site". Retrieved 2010-08-09.
- "Nacho Libre". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
- "Nacho Libre". Roger Ebert. Retrieved 2010-12-22.
- "Amazon.com: Nacho Libre: Various Artists: Music". Amazon. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
- "Nacho Libre for DS - GameSpot". GameSpot. CBS. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
- "Jack Black Talks 'Be Kind Rewind' and a Possible 'Nacho Libre 2'". ropeofsilicon.com. Retrieved 2011-06-02.
- "Jared Hess says he's never been asked about making 'Nacho Libre 2'". hitfix.com. Retrieved 2011-06-02.
- Official website
- Nacho Libre at the Internet Movie Database
- Nacho Libre at AllMovie
- Nacho Libre at Box Office Mojo
- Nacho Libre at Rotten Tomatoes
- Nacho Libre at Metacritic