The other day I was watchin iCarly with my kids. It was a longer than usual episode that took place at a webicon.
Spencer was wearing the costume of one video game hero that he had made himself. He looked proud and dashing. That is until he met the hero of a different realm. Suddenly, it was a face-off between the two. What made the scene especially GREAT was that the opponent was Jack Black.
I will admit that Jack Black had to grow on me. His form of acting is really annoying at times. I may have initially rated The School of Rock much lower than I should have because I disliked him that much. The guy in his early days struck me as nothing more than a big ego who over-acted every chance he got.
You might remember him from High Fidelity or Shallow Hal. Perhaps you are a Tenacious D fan. Maybe you discovered him in Orange County or Saving Silverman. No matter when it was, you cannot deny that Black has a tone of energy and his projects tend to work off of the quirky aspects of his soul.
Take for example his role in King Kong. As movie promoter, Carl Denham, Black takes his overacting and uses it to create this man who wants to be larger than life. Director Peter Jackson reigns in Black’s excesses and works it so that the final scene of his pronouncement is perfect for Black’s delivery of the lines about what really killed the beast when it was his bigger-than-life ambition.
Another director who got a softer performance from him was Nancy Myers in The Holiday. His character is still fun-loving, still music obsessive but he is a more contemplative man, kinder and less of an asshole. I found him much more likable in this movie as a composer who falls in love easily.
My turning point came during the publicity tour for Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny. I saw Black and Kyle Gass on one of the late nite talk shows with Gass obviously drunk. Jack had to do most of the talking. That is when I saw the drive behind the goof, the realistic expectation of getting a personal project to the big screen. I felt a connection and since then have grown to appreciate his work.
That might explain why I loved his performances in Be Kind Rewind and Kung Fu Panda and Gulliver’s Travels. I am seeing a man who is allowing the gentler side of his soul to be seen more often and I like it.
However, my favorite Jack Black moment does not occur in any movie. It was during 79th Annual Oscar Awards in which Black and Will Ferrell sing about their love of Helen Mirren. And that they were going to take the future Oscar winner home with them that night.
She ended up taking home Oscar along with her husband. But I wonder if she was tempted in the least?