Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny is one of those movies you either love or hate. It’s one of my all-time favorites and I watch it regularly every couple of years. The combination of awesome music, buddy adventure, and zany humor simply blew me away. I remember watching it for the first time and thinking how is this possible? How can someone make such a perfect movie featuring all these cool things? On paper, the concept sounds bizarre and pretentious. We will be following JB and KG, two best friends who are trying to become the most awesome band in the world. To do that, they’ll have to find The Pick of Destiny. And that can mean only one thing: they’re off on an adventure!
The driving force behind Tenacious D is Jack Black. He’s one of those actors whose antics you, again, either love or hate. I think we can compare him to Will Ferrell, who elicits a similar response from the audience. Three years before this movie, we had the pleasure to watch him in a much more conventional and wholesome comedy, School of Rock. While I did like it, I always felt it was missing an edge. And that edge can be found here, in this movie. Opposite him, we have Kyle Gas, a talented actor and musician. The chemistry between him and Black was excellent. Probably because they’re good friends in real life.
Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny belongs to a wave of road/adventure comedies of the early 2000s. I’m talking about movies like Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and others. However, we can also compare it to Sacha Baron Cohen’s movies like Borat (which also came out in 2006) or Beavis and Butt-head Do America. All of these movies offer almost non-stop laughs and are primarily aimed at stoners and those who like this sort of humor. I mean, the movie easily passes the infamous Rabbit Reviews comedy greatness test as it features a short but sweet shitting scene. Underneath all the silliness is a healthy layer of reality.
Our young JB, a kid who loves to “rock”, grew up to be a slacker, still dreaming of greatness. He spends his days entertaining people on the street with his music, making just enough money to not become homeless. This is a position many alternative artists find themselves in. And yet, despite all of this negativity, the love for the music prevails. It prevails in real life and in this movie. The atmosphere is bursting with positive energy. The main theme of the movie is the friendship between our two lead characters. You can easily miss the scene where after an inevitable breakup, Kyle fondly reminisces about their time together.
These scenes don’t feature any luxurious items but a glorious power of friendship. Apart from Gas and Black, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny features a lot of big actors and musicians. I mean, none other than Ronnie James Dio performs during the opening scene! Tim Robbins plays a bum, Ben Stiller is an aging rocker, and John C. Reilly is the motherfucking Sasquatch. We also shouldn’t forget about Dave Grohl who plays Satan himself. I don’t want to bother you too much with this one.
I just wanted to remind you that it’s probably time to check Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny once again. And if you haven’t seen it, I envy you for all the fun you’re going to have. Uniquely creative and vibrant, I still haven’t come across a movie like this. Sure, some came close but none of them had the complete package. After almost twenty years, it’s also laced with nostalgia. Especially if you saw it during its initial run.
Director: Liam Lynch
Writers: Jack Black, Kyle Gass, Liam Lynch
Cast: Jack Black, Kyle Gass, Ronnie James Dio, Tim Robbins, Meat Loaf, Dave Grohl, Paul F. Tompkins
Fun Facts: Ronnie James Dio recorded the song in a single take. He wanted to try a few more times but everyone, including Jack Black and the producer, thought that his original recording was perfect.