Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny (2006) ***

R, 93 min.
Director: Liam Lynch
Writers: Jack Black, Kyle Gass, Liam Lynch
Starring: Jack Black, Kyle Gass, JR Reed, Ronnie James Dio, Paul F. Tompkins, Troy Gentile, Ned Bellamy, Fred Armisen, Kirk Ward, Amy Poehler, Dave Grohl, Tim Robbins, Ben Stiller

Today marks the release of Tenacious D’s new studio album “Rize of the Fenix”. Considering they’re the greatest band in the world, you’d think there’d be more fanfare about it. Their third studio effort is their best yet. Sure, their subject matter is still limited. They pretty much sing about sex, the devil and their own unheralded greatness. There isn’t even that much about the devil this time around. In fact, they even venture into a couple of other subjects, like space travel and the hard life of the roadie.

It’s their musical prowess that has really expanded, however. They’ve expanded their sound into different genres, like the mariachi piece “Senorita” and the 80’s pop montage music of “To Be the Best”. But it’s their album closer “39” that has impressed me the most so far. Jack Black really evokes the spirit of “Night Moves” era Bob Seger with his deep felt vocal delivery, and Kyle Gass’s guitar work reminds of both Seger and Bruce Springsteen.

But, isn’t this a review of their 2006 movie “The Pick of Destiny”, you ask? Well, a couple tracks off their new album deal with their feature film debut and how it failed so miserably at the box office that the D thought they couldn’t show their faces ever again. The title track and “The Ballad of Hollywood Jack” deal with the band’s movie misfortunes and the fact the Black became a big movie star whilst Gass wallowed in obscurity.

I’ve reviewed the movie briefly before. As a film it doesn’t really merit much attention. As a chronicle in the history of the D, however, it’s a significant moment in all that is the D. It recounts the origins of the band, including a wonderfully cast performance by Troy Gentile as the young JB. It also involves a quest for the magical guitar pick, the Pick of Destiny, which will allow the boys to write amazing songs. It’s all silly and juvenile stuff, but the guys have fun and so do a lot of other big name stars in small cameo roles. Look for Tim Robbins, Amy Poehler, Ben Stiller, Fred Armisen and The Foo Fighter’s Dave Grohl as Satan.

Apparently, the movie did so poorly they don't mind if all their fans post the movie in its entirety all over YouTube.