Hey. It is time for the Top 10 list of the week. Last week, the boys had technical difficulties with their program and wound up having to do a “Topic Thunder” episode. I understood the issue, but I was disappointed that there was no list to copy. The next day, the classic episode featured Top 10 Michael Caine, which I considered doing, but I had to stretch to find ten. Then the time got away from me and so I passed on it too. (Spoiler… The Muppet Christmas Carol was my #1).
This week, however, things are going to work out and this week’s list is one from the Patreon David Mitchell-Baker (or as Matt Knost said DMB). The list is the Top 10 Jack Black Movies.
The rule that Matt and John set, which I follow mostly myself, is that the movie has to feature Jack Black, not just have him in a small role. I break that rule at #10, but I wanted to include that movie. So what it means is that there will be no Enemy of the State, despite it being higher than most of the films on this list simply because Jack Black is not in it much.
#10. The Muppets. The one film that breaks this rule is the 2011 movie with the Muppets because Jack Black’s cameo is such a funny and standout one. The Muppets need a celebrity for their special show, so Miss Piggy and the crew head out and kidnap Jack Black to fill the void. He gets tied to a chair for much of the final act and he is really funny. We also get to hear his criticism of the Muppets’ barbershop quartet version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Very funny, as was Kermit’s reaction when he discovered what Miss Piggy, Fozzie and the others had done.
#9. Be Kind Rewind. This is a pleasant little movie where Jack Black accidentally erases all of the videos at a local video shop, Be Kind Rewind. In order to try and help save the shop, Jack Black and Mos Def shoot shorter versions of the movies (such as Ghostbusters) which become as popular as the actual films. This is a cute movie and has some very funny moments.
#8. Bernie. This is a dark, true story of a funeral director who is a beloved figure in the town. When he befriends a wealthy recently widowed woman (Shirley MacLaine) whom no one else in the town could stand, it appeared a if she were taking advantage of him. However, when she ends up murdered and shoved in a freezer, Bernie winds up arrested. The town comes to his aid as the strange story continues. Jack Black received many accolades for his performance in the film, showing that he could do more than what we were used to from him.
#7. The House with a Clock in its Walls. A more recent film, this starred Jack Black and Cate Blanchett. The magical aspect of the film kind of reminded one of Harry Potter. Jack Black takes in his nephew whose parents had recently died. It is revealed that both Jack and Cate are magic users and that the ticking sound coming from the walls has a major significance. There are zombies, monsters and a great villainous performance from Kyle MacLachlan. This is better than most people give it credit for.
#6. Goosebumps. This was a film that I went into with low expectations that turned out to be much better than I thought it would be. Jack Black plays a fictional version of R.L. Stine in this film, the real life author of the Goosebumps series of books, and, when you open the original copies of his books, the monsters are able to escape. This was a lot of fun and had a surprising amount of heart. There were also good performances from the young stars of the film, Dylan Minnette and Odeya Rush.
#5. King Kong. This is another one that a lot of people poo-poo, but I found myself enjoying quite a bit. Yes, Peter Jackson’s reboot of the King King classic is too long and goes places where it shouldn’t, but there is tons of good here too. The King Kong/dinosaur fights are worth it alone.
#4. Tropic Thunder. This ensemble film features Jack Black as an actor who is struggling with addiction and while this movie will always be remembered for Robert Downey Jr playing a white actor playing a black man, Jack Black has a ton of funny lines as well. The scene where Jack is tied up and trying to get clean is one of the best sequences of the movie.
#3. Kung Fu Panda 2. I debated about which Kung Fu Panda I wanted on the list. I supposed I could have put both one and two on here, but I chose to just do one movie. In the end, I think I prefer the second version to the first one, but it is very close. There is a top notch villain in number two that trumps the first one. I remember going into Kung Fu Panda 2 thinking that there was no way that they could pull out another good movie and coming out of it loving it. The Kung Fu Panda trilogy is truly an underappreciated animated trilogy and should be considered one of the best and most consistent.
#2. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Jack Black gave a remarkable comedic performance in the new Jumanji movie as a teenage girl. He had every expression and line down beautifully. You believed that this was really a teenage girl inhabiting the body of a middle aged man. Jack Black got most of the funniest lines and he worked well with his talented co-stars, Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillen, and Kevin Hart.
#1. School of Rock. This is my favorite Jack Black movie. Jack Black is a down on his luck musician who pretends to be his roommate, a sub teacher, to get some money. Arriving for a long term sub job at a private school, Jack Black immediately starts turning things upside down. When he discovers that the kids in the class have musical ability, he puts together a “class project” to help him win the Battle of the Bands. The music here is tremendous, including the title track (which I absolutely love). Jack Black shows all of his talents, from musical to comedy here and the kids in the class are very talented.
Honorable Mentions: Not much left here. I mentioned Enemy of the State earlier, and I eliminated that because of the bereftness of the role. Kung Fu Panda 1 and 3 would also be here, since I only chose one for the list. Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny was fun too.