5 movies you must see (again) with a new lens – #5. NACHO LIBRE
Please read the introductory entry before you read below!
5. NACHO LIBRE
what you may have liked about it: Jack Black plays a Jesuit Priest named Ignacio (aka, Nacho), who has aspirations of stardom as a wrestler (Luchador) in the Mexican underground Lucha Libre circuit. He speaks in a very inconsistent and bogus Mexican accent throughout the movie and has a malnourished sidekick aptly named Esqueleto. It’s freakin hilarious and hits a comedic and memorable peak when Nacho pens a song for his love interest, “Encarnacion”– pure genious.
why you may NOT have liked it: 1) You hate Jack Black, 2) You’re racist, 3) You’re Mexican and you were thoroughly insulted by Jack Black’s horrendous accent and stereotypical speech inflections, or 4) You’re Ben Stiller and you think your movies are better than Jack Black’s… even though they’re not.
what you may have missed: as you may have guessed, to me this is more than just another entertaining and hilarious movie! It is a way of life… ok, just kidding, but it has some deep thoughts you should consider. The main one being that this movie reflects how people all strive for that extra edge to make us more special, smarter, powerful, beautiful, relevant, etc. and some of us are going to great lengths to get it. We see this in how people spend thousands of dollars in plastic surgery to “improve” their appearance (if you’re Korean, you pay a pretty penny to get that all-essential double eye-lid surgery), we see this in how professional athletes such as the likes of A-Rod take steroids and other performance enhancing drugs, we see it in parents (mostly the Asian ones) sending their kids to SAT school when they’re 6 years old while simultaneously enrolling them in piano, violin, and how-to-be-a-cut-throat-academic-with-no-social-skills class. What we don’t realize, and Nacho realizes for us in the movie, is that we already have what it takes and we’re beautiful just the way we are! (sniff)
key scene: Nacho goes on that journey for the eagle egg, remember? Hilarious as he reaches the top of the cliff from the ocean, cracks open the giant eagle egg, gurgles and gags on the yolk as he poses and dramatically jumps off the cliff– he thinks this act sparks a new magical ability to wrestle in dominant fashion. Later on, he gets into the ring and “channels” the Eagle Powers but is completely let down and beat to a pulp as he realizes the “eagle eggs were a LIE!” and they gave him “no new-trients!” In the last scene of the movie (go see it now before I ruin the ending for you), Nacho fights the greatest wrestler alive and defeats him because he realizes the power has been in him all along! That eagle egg pursuit was in vain and it wasn’t until he actually obtained the powerless egg that he realized the greater power was already in him.
verses that come to mind:
2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
final thoughts: I am such a fan of redeeming, joining, and blurring the supposed line between the sacred and secular. All truth is God’s truth and it doesn’t take a professing believer in Jesus or a religious person to acknowledge the truth that is all around us! Nacho Libre depicts this with the controversy Nacho creates when his Catholic church finds out that one of their own priests is engaged in the very “secular”‘ and potentially sinful world of wrestling! Nacho merely wanted to pursue his dreams and felt that his “calling” was in the wrestling ring. He did not want to settle for the status quo, which in his world was the life of a laboring monk. I hope we’re all inspired by Nacho to pursue our dreams no matter how petty, outlandish, impossible, or “secular” they may seem. I believe that dreams are placed in us for a reason! Isn’t it cool and also fitting that Nacho bridges the gap between the secular and sacred at the end of the movie? The scene at the end where Sister Encarnacion and the kids from the church come to watch Nacho fight in the ring is very symbolic of how Nacho’s obedience to his true calling has brought the two worlds together. I’m sure God smiled at that moment and said “atta boy!” (cinematically).
I end with one of my favorite scenes in the movie and a taste of Jack Black’s songwriting genius: