In this article:
- Since his first starring role in the 2000 film High Fidelity, Jack Black has managed to remain relevant even into the present day.
- Black has starred in both serious roles and the most ridiculous roles that can possibly be imagined.
- No matter what character he’s playing, he always manages to make his way into the hearts of the audience.
- From School of Rock to Nacho Libre, this article is about remembering the best films that Jack Black has starred in thus far in his career.
How can one possibly describe the awesome enigma that is Jack Black? From his over-the-top spasmodic mannerisms to his elated, high-pitched heavy metal musical numbers, Jack Black has solidified himself as one of the greatest entertainers of the 2000s.
Ever since his first co-starring role with John Cusack in the iconic 2000 film High Fidelity, he’s been tugging at the heartstrings of audiences while shredding on the steel strings of his electric guitar.
He also appeared on a popular Korean game show called Infinite Challenge back in 2016. And he’s still touring with his band Tenacious D, delighting audiences all across the world.
Over the course of Black’s career, he’s demonstrated his wide range of talent, proving that he can play both serious and comedic roles, have success as the voice of an animated panda, and even write some seriously kick-ass heavy metal ballads. It seems that the versatility of Jack Black as a performer knows no bounds.
The Jack Black Movies That Best Capture the Actor’s Signature Style
1. School of Rock
One simply can’t talk about Jack Black’s career without mentioning his most iconic role of all time: Dewey Finn from School of Rock.
Seriously, anyone born in the 1990s or early 2000s will instantly recognize some of Dewey Finn’s incredible quotes like, “This is a bass guitar. And it’s the exact same thing but instead of playing it like this, you tip it on the side… Cello! You got a bass” or “I haven’t heard any music. Uh-oh, you know what? Miss Lemmons must be on crack, right, kids?”
Jack Black’s character is a down-and-out guitarist who gets kicked out of his own band and then swindles his way into a substitute teaching job to make some extra cash.
When he arrives at the school, he discovers that his students are talented musically and attempts to use their talents to form a band that can exact revenge on his former band members.
Along the way, he creates meaningful connections with his students and teaches them the importance of individualism and self-expression. This turbulent comedy-drama will make you laugh, cry, and rock out, all in under 110 minutes.
2. Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny
About three years after the release of the massively popular film School of Rock, Jack Black made an even more outlandish homage to the gods of rock n’ roll: Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny.
In this absurdist film, Black plays the lead character JB, which is basically just a hopped-up version of himself. He’s a young guitarist from a conservative Midwest family that’s sent on a mission by real-life heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio to form the “most awesome” band ever.
JB takes his talents out to the West Coast and meets his new friend and protege Kyle Glass, a lovable idiot and rock n’ roll acolyte. The two of them discover the secret to the success of all former rock gods: They’ve all used the same magical guitar pick.
Overall, this film is so unapologetically ridiculous that you can’t help but love it. It’s full of unnecessary pyrotechnics, Jack Black making guitar noises with his mouth, and general awesomeness.
3. Tropic Thunder
While Jack Black may not have had the lead role in the 2008 comedy Tropic Thunder, his character Jeff Portnoy is undoubtedly one of the most hilarious aspects of the movie.
Allegedly based on real-life actors like Chris Farley and John Belushi, Portnoy is a drug-addicted actor who’s the star of a fictional movie series called “The Fatties.” That should be enough to tell you just how absurd this character is.
Portnoy’s brain seems to be completely fried from excessive drug use, rendering him incapable of understanding the conversations going on around him.
Surprisingly, though, unlike his companion Kirk Lazarus (portrayed by Robert Downey Jr.), Portnoy can comprehend the fact that they’re all probably going to die and is constantly wetting his pants, so to speak.
While Portnoy doesn’t have as many lines as other characters in this movie, he definitely had one of the more memorable performances of the film and one of the most memorable performances of Black’s career.
4. King Kong
The 2005 version of King Kong was definitely met with mixed reviews. Many believed that the film was entirely too long, running nearly three hours front to back. Critics also pointed to the script, claiming that the dialogue came across as melodramatic.
However, pretty much everyone who saw this movie could agree on two things: Jack Black crushed his serious role as Carl Denham and the movie’s special effects were seriously badass.
This new take on the classic King Kong story starred Carl Denham, a greedy filmmaker willing to risk the life of his crew to get the best possible footage on a distant island ruled by a giant ape.
Black’s expert portrayal of Carl Denham proved that his skills as an actor extended beyond boisterous comedy and into serious dramas. And, despite what criticisms have been hurled at this movie, it’s still undeniably entertaining.
Another film that proved Jack Black’s prowess as a more serious actor was the 2012 movie Bernie, which marked the reunion of Black and School of Rock director Richard Linklater.
This based-on-a-true-story film details the mind-boggling life of Bernie Tiede, a 39-year-old funeral director who murders his 80-year-old millionaire wife. Despite his horrific crime, Bernie’s meek demeanor and good-natured facade lead many people in his community to believe that he’s innocent.
Black’s performance in the film is complex and chilling. Throughout the story, the viewer is tempted to sympathize with Bernie Tiede despite knowing of the terrible crime he perpetrated. This is a testament to Jack Black’s effectiveness in relating to audiences and portraying a character that is more than meets the eye.
6. Nacho Libre
The furthest thing from a serious film that one could possibly imagine, Nacho Libre is not what one might call a “good” work of cinema. The humor is irrefutably stupid. The storyline is equally as mindless. And Jack Black puts on the world’s worst Mexican accent throughout the entire film.
However, there is something so lovable about Jack Black’s character Ignacio, a monk who moonlights as a luchador to help feed the children of an orphanage, that you can’t help but enjoy this movie.
Admittedly, Nacho Libre is probably not Jack Black’s magnum opus, but it is a movie that I could watch over and over and over again and find myself rolling on the floor laughing each time. With its extremely quotable script and some amazing luchador action sequences, this film deserves to be respected for what it is.