Saturday, March 17, 2007

watched Nacho Libre last night. an odd movie. it's a Jack Black star vehicle, obviously. I don't think I've seen a Black movie previously tho it seems like I'm pretty familiar with him. he reminds me of Belushi but I have to say I also thought of Lou Costello last night, too. Costello being more innocent. Belushi's physical comedy is pretty plangent. I occasionally laugh but more often feel oppressed. Black has a lighter touch. people have spoken well of Nacho Libre but I found myself distracted by its normative impulses. are we supposed to buy this guy as a priest? perhaps it shouldn't matter but the pieties are fake yet at times dwelt upon. it doesn't hold up. the idea of this priest as a wrestler is rather sweet and it works. but when he becomes coarse it twists things out of shape. I liked the evocation of Mexican wrestling. I have to admit I've never seen one of those films in which masked wrestlers go about the world fighting crime. they sound so weird as to be pure, like how old time wrestling had a purity that Vince McMahon's empire savvy has completely crushed. the movie's narrative is straightforward but presented choppily, the scenes being more like set pieces. the movie's odd visual reality was nice. I just found myself trying to compute what perhaps I hadn't ought to compute. Nacho was hot for the nun at 1st sight, but sweet for her as well. there's a scene in which she's in her room wearing a diaphanous nightgown and doing her hair, typical nun stuff. Nacho shows up and they comically and chastely eat toast together. just hard to get a grip on intentions here, filmmaking wise. at the end it is all too obvious. Nacho must fight and defeat the great wrestler, and it is no better than Rocky. altho what inspires him to victory is the sight of one of the orphans wearing a wrestling mask. from there it is Moe, Larry the cheese, righteous victory for the underdog. another movie came to mind as being more successful. Three Amigos. yes, a Lorne Michaels movie, but still. Steve Martin and Chevy Chase were still at the height of their smug insincerity, so the normative bullshit never had a chance. them and Martin Short bounced off each other nicely. some surreal moments added to the effect, like the desert scene where critters sing. Nacho Libre wasn't surreal but it tended toward a pleasant oddity. at the end, of course, the orphans are saved. Nacho and the nun are still of the cloth but the carnal element has not gone away. I liked how comfortably the movie went and 'did' Mexico. nothing of the Hollywood soundstage here, nor any imports except for Jack himself. that's how to do a low budget.
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