Tenacious D in the PIck of Destiny

(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Movie: Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny

Where You Can Stream It: Netflix

The Pitch: In a fantastical origin story of the comedy rock band known as Tenacious D, musicians JB (Jack Black) and KG (Kyle Gass) begin a friendship that could lead to the formation of the greatest rock band in the world. To make that dream come true, the righteous duo embarks on a quest to find a legendary guitar pick that possesses supernatural powers, encountering all sorts of strange characters along the way.

Why It’s Essential Viewing: All right, Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny is hardly essential viewing, unless of course you’ve just whipped out some herbal refreshment. But you certainly can’t go wrong with Jack Black and Kyle Gass telling the fictional origins of the band that originated on HBO. Though the movie is mostly a series of wild and hilarious music videos barely held together by a shaky script, the raunchy rock of Tenacious D is more than enough to keep you satisfied.

Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny was far from a hit at the box office, and it wasn’t a critical darling, but there’s still magic in it that deserves to be recognized, and it all comes from the music.

Even a seemingly simple riff like “Classico” is lively and fun, taking classical cues from Bach’s “Bourrée in E minor,” “Für Elise” by Beethoven, and “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” by Mozart to create something silly and catchy. The energy that Jack Black has here (and throughout the entire movie) is so infectious, and it’s no wonder this guy is such a huge star. He just always puts it all into every performance, even something as ridiculous as this. Plus, get a load of Kyle Gass and that classically trained guitar work.

Then we have “Master Exploder,” a truly metal song that is so epic that it even ended up on the soundtrack for Guitar Hero back in the day. Though there’s certainly some digital enhancement going on with some of the vocals, this still shows the incredible range that Jack Black has with his voice. And before you ask, yes, that’s Amy Adams fangirling out over the band in a quick shot from the crowd.

Finally, I know this gets into spoiler territory, but you can’t throw praise upon Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny without calling attention to the rock-off from “Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown)” with Dave Grohl as The Devil. That’s right, Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters is under all that make-up, and he has some tasty riffs to fire off. You see, the Demon Code prevents The Devil from declining a rock-off challenge. It’s all right there in the lyrics.

This song perfectly captures the spirit of Tenacious D. There’s this wild fantastical angle that has the epic vibe of heavy metal, lyrics that feel like they’re pulled from some kind of rock opera that could have easily been an off-Broadway production, and in that vein, it also serves as an epic conclusion to the overall adventure. Of course, it’s a little cheap since the movie wasn’t afforded a huge budget, but that actually gives it a certain amount of charm. Anything lacking in production value is made up by the endless energy of Tenacious D.

If none of this is enough to convince you to give Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny a chance (or maybe a repeat viewing), let’s not forget to mention that the movie also boasts appearances by Meatloaf, Ronnie James Dio, Ben Stiller, Paul F. Tompkins, Tim Robbins, John C. Reilly, Amy Poehler, Colin Hanks, and Fred Armisen. So spark one up and rock out.

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