Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with our first review from the very first test screening of TENACIOUS D IN THE PICK OF DESTINY! I've made no secret of my D worship. I've seen them in concert 3 times now and heard their new music performed live at Comic-Con and their recent Katrina Benefit. It's killer and lives up to the promise of that first great debut album. MASTER EXPLODER is one of the best live songs ever performed (not sure if it's in the movie), but the opening song where Jack's praying to Dio and Dio responds... is eye-watering and rib-bustingly funny. I can't wait to see this flick! And, yes... I will have my second set visit report, with the Liam Lynch transcription, completed soon. So, keep yer eyes out for that... In the meantime, here's the first review! Enjoy!
Just got back from a screening of Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny in Pasadena. Before the flick, a rep from New Line gave us the requisite "this is a work print, some of the music is temporary, and the color isn't timed" speech. He also said that we were the first audience to be shown the film.
Going in, I had mixed feelings. I love Tenacious D. Think the album is great. I've been able to see them live many times. I've followed them since their Actor's Gang roots. That being said, I knew the movie was directed by Liam Lynch. Up until now, I've pretty much dismissed Lynch's work as amateurish. His videos pretty much suck. I never got Sifl and Oly. There's always been such a cult around his stuff, that I've tried to enjoy it. Sat through his things more than once to try and latch on to the buzz, but never understood the hype.
Until now. This movie fucking rocks.
Reading up a bit on the film, it turns out he wrote the thing with Jack and Kyle. It's a funny script, made funnier by the usual goodness of Jack Black and the excellent starring performance of Kyle Gass. Up to this point, Gass has always been in the background of things. He had bits on Undeclared and a couple of movies, but he's never had the light shown on him like Black has. Gass is great in this. He's a perfect understated compliment to Black's manic explosion of rock.
Any further discussion of the movie is going to include spoilers, so if you want to take in the history of the rock duo with fresh eyes....stop now.
The movie starts in the Black household. A religious household headed by his father, played by Meat Loaf. A young Jack comes in and rocks the dinner table with a vengeance, causing his mother to pray and his dad to chase him into his rock poster filled room. Meat Loaf comes in to sing against the power of rock, and to tear down the young Jack's posters of The Who and AC/DC. But as he slams the door, young Jack asks his poster of Dio for guidance. In a great cameo, the poster comes to life and Dio points Jack towards Hollywood to conquer the streets with his guitar.
It's in Venice, that the duo of Black and Gass first meet. Kyle is rocking the boardwalk (barely) and Jack becomes an instant follower. Becoming Jack's Mr. Miyagi of rock, Gass sets him through tasks in order to learn what it means to be a part of the Kyle Gass Project. His rock boot camp is great. Including a faux concert in front of angry faces drawn on paper plates and beer bottles flying from the audience on strings. As it turns out, Gass needs Black as much as Black needs him. Putting their asses together (literally) they form Tenacious D.
Looking at pictures of guitar gods such as Eric Clapton, Angus Young and Eddie Van Halen, the boys notice that each player is using the same pick. A demented carved devil's head pick. A trip to Guitar Center provides them the history of the pick, as told by an aging rock burnout in a great cameo by Ben Stiller... The rest of the movie becomes a quest for the pick. Through sorority houses, more celeb cameos, mushroom trips, a car chase and a break-in to the rock and roll hall of fame, Black and Gass quest for the pick to become rock gods.
In all, the film is kind of a mix between School of Rock, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, and the Blues Brothers. As bad as that may sound on the surface, I mean it in the best way. It's a funny road movie. There are handfuls of new Tenacious D music to tell the story and the boys get up and play more than once during the film. I think between now and the release of the movie, some editing can be done to tighten up some of the lulls, but if you like Tenacious D, this movie is going to make you laugh.
Holding the pick of destiny high,