(Searcher) My Top 3 Jack Black Movies

I recently saw this clip of an interviewer asking Jack Black what his favorite Christmas movie is, and he gave the very accurate answer of “Elf”. When asked why he didn’t pick his own Christmas movie, he got confused and forgot that he ever made a Christmas movie, even though “The Holiday” is one of the most famous ones. 

This clip not only reminds me how awesome Jack Black is, but also how many movies he has out in his entire acting career. So, I’m going to rank my top three Jack Black movies out of all 76 of them and why.

#3 – Kung Fu Panda

Animated movies absolutely count and this is one of the best animated movies of all time. It’s Kung Fu Panda. How can someone not like this movie? One of the most impressive aspects is the animated cinematography. Take this one scene where the villain is escaping from a highly guarded prison. The animators made it seem as though there was actually a camera following Tai-Lung around as he escaped from his jail. Then the camera switches to a long shot to show hundreds of red arrows illuminating the dark cave as they descend upon him. This shot right here is beautiful and shows how Mise-en-Scene and cinematography are incredibly important in animated films and can take them to a whole different level.

#2 – School of Rock

School of Rock may not be a cinematic masterpiece like Kung Fu Panda, but it still tells a great story. Jack Black is a failed musician who decides to pretend to be a substitute teacher to make some money, and ends up making a band with the kids in his second grade class. It sounds really creepy that way, but it’s actually a great movie. One element of filmmaking that really shines through is Mise-en-Scene, specifically costume design. Some of the kids in the classroom don’t play instruments so they become the costume designers for the band. This element of production is really focused on and comes to fruition in the culmination of the movie: their performance. Jack Black takes the kids and books them for a band competition against his former band, and for the concert they wore the specialized outfits.

While the kids got to wear whatever kind of “hard-rock style” they wanted to, Jack Black wore a children’s school uniform. It sounds weird but this outfit was what the band AC/DC would wear when they performed, so the costume design was an homage to one of the best rock bands ever.  

#1 – Tropic Thunder

This is maybe my favorite movie of all time. While it is incredibly hilarious it is also incredibly inappropriate so don’t watch it with your mom like I did. The film is a movie about a bunch of actors making a war movie in Vietnam. It’s a complete satire of Hollywood and the film industry, but mainly of how childish actors really are. Ben Stiller’s character has starred in the same franchise for 7 movies and has nothing else going for him, Robert Downey Jr’s character is an insane method actor that goes to extreme lengths to get into character, Jack Black is an immature comic who has a serious cocaine addiction, Jay Baruchel is a young guy who is the most knowledgeable but no one cares because he’s younger than them, and Brandon T. Jackson is a rapper who only writes songs about women but is actually gay. Also satirized are the studios, portrayed by Tom Cruise being insane, directors, portrayed by Steve Coogan not being able to control his star-studded cast, and agents, portrayed by Matthew McConaughey who tries to argue about an unimportant clause in his clients contract throughout the entirety of the movie. 

Not only does this movie satirize the film industry perfectly, but it also does great work in the category of Mise-en-Scene. This plot and narrative of the film is creative, but can’t carry the whole movie on its own. The aspect of Mise-en-Scene that makes this movie so amazing is the performance from the actors. There are so many stars in this movie it’s impossible to see someone on the screen who isn’t famous, and yet they all share the spotlight and give incredible performances. My two favorite performances are from Ben Stiller and Tom Cruise. In the first scene of the film, Ben Stiller and RDJ are wounded and having an emotional moment, but Ben Stiller can’t cry. So in the middle of this super intense moment, with the pyrotechnic team not knowing whether they should blow up the valley behind them, Ben Stiller and RDJ get into a fight because they are both prima donnas.

Tom Cruise’s performance is something special because it’s the most not-Tom Cruise role to ever exist. He plays the studio manager that is kind of insane, has fat hands, and likes to dance. He is so out of his element and just completely nails it. It’s clear that everyone around him is afraid of him, and he is in control of every situation, while also looking and acting incredibly childish.

Those are my top Jack Black movies, if you haven’t watched Tropic Thunder then watch it over winter break it’s awesome.

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