Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jared Hess|
|Cinematography||Xavier Perez Grobet|
|Edited by||Billy Weber|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|92 minutes |
Nacho Libre is a 2006 American 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.
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Ignacio was the son of a Scandinavian Lutheran missionary and a Mexican deacon, who both died while Ignacio was young. Now a cook for the Oaxaca, Mexico monastery orphanage where he was raised, Ignacio dreams of becoming a luchador, but wrestling is forbidden by the monastery. Ignacio cares deeply for the orphans, but his food is terrible due to being unable to obtain quality ingredients, which he cannot afford. Ignacio feels unfulfilled due to his desire to wrestle and his disdain for most of his orphanage duties, and struggles over his feelings for Sister Encarnación, a nun who teaches at the orphanage. One night, while collecting donated tortilla chips for the orphans, Ignacio is robbed of the chips by a street thief named Steven. After a fight ensues between the two, Ignacio decides to disregard the monastery's rules and becomes a luchador in order to make money. He convinces Steven to join him with the promise of remuneration if they win, and the two join a local competition as tag partners.
Ignacio changes his name to "Nacho" to keep his identity secret, while Steven adopts the name "Esqueleto" (Skeleton). They are defeated in their first match, but are nevertheless paid, as every wrestler is entitled to a portion of the total revenue. They continue to wrestle every week, with Ignacio using his pay to buy and prepare better food for the orphans. Ignacio gets used to losing some fights, but after a while, he starts to look for help. Frustrated, Ignacio blames their losses on Steven's lack of religious faith, while Steven accuses Ignacio of being too fat. 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 next several bouts, frustrating him. He seeks advice from champion luchador Ramses, but Ramses is vain and in no mood to help aspiring wrestlers.
Attempting to gain respect within the local circle of professional wrestlers, Ignacio becomes increasingly tempted to pursue wrestling for personal gain instead of providing for the orphans. At the advice of Steven, Ignacio asks Encarnación out on a date to try and impress her. He wears expensive "recreation clothes" he previously purchased, and devises a plan in which Steven's friends pretend to antagonize Ignacio during the date so that he can display his fighting moves. The plan backfires when Ignacio mistakes two men on the street for Steven's friends and physically confronts them, thinking he is defending Encarnación's honor. Steven's friends arrive in the middle of the confrontation, just as Ignacio realizes his error and gets punched. Ignacio and Steven also manage to break into a private party for wrestlers, which also backfires. After having spent too much time attempting to advance himself as a luchador, Ignacio realizes he has neglected his duties to provide food for the orphans, which disappoints the children, the other friars, and most notably, Encarnación.
Ignacio's secret is finally out when his robe catches fire during a church service. With his wrestling costume exposed underneath his burned robe, Ignacio admits that he is Nacho. While the orphans appear to be surprised at the revelation (particularly Chancho, who is delighted), none of the friars appear to understand, instead shunning Ignacio for his forbidden interests. Ignacio tells them that he intends to compete in an eight-man battle royale for the right to challenge Ramses, and for a cash prize, which he will use to improve life for the orphans. Despite faring well in the match, Ignacio comes in second place when a large wrestler named Silencio wins the battle. Dejected and ashamed, Ignacio collects his belongings from the monastery, and then leaves to live in the nearby wilderness.
In the morning, Steven finds Ignacio and informs him that Silencio has been injured (it is revealed that Steven ran over Silencio's foot with Ignacio's motor bike, presumably upon seeing Silencio being rude and dismissive toward his child fans). As Silencio's injury prevents him from wrestling, Nacho is scheduled to fight Ramses instead. With Steven agreeing to coach Ignacio during the fight, the two once again team up. Later that night, Ignacio sends a message via Steven to Encarnación, explaining his plan and confessing his conflicted love to her (as a sister, but with ambiguously romantic undertones). Despite initial difficulty against Ramses, Ignacio fights well in the match. When the crowd begins to cheer for Nacho, Ramses becomes enraged and resorts to cheating. Nacho is nearly defeated — indeed, unmasked — by Ramses, when Encarnación enters the stadium with the orphans. Elated and inspired, Ignacio rallies himself and defeats Ramses in a spectacular climax.
Ignacio becomes a professional wrestler and uses his prize money to buy a bus for field trips for the children. The film closes with Ignacio, Steven, and Encarnación taking the children to see the city of Monte Albán.
- 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