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Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny

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Eric Moro of IGN reviews Tenacious D. Read on:

For those unfamiliar with the “Greatest Band on Earth” (as they’ve dubbed themselves), Tenacious D boasts two origin stories… both equally unique. The real world duo got their start as members of Tim Robbins’ ensemble theatre troupe, the Actor’s Gang. It was there that JB (Jack Black) and KG (Kyle Gass) discovered their mutual love for rock ‘n’ roll. After developing a slew of fan favorite songs revolving around fame, Kielbasa, Dio, friends, idols, drugs, demons and love, the band found itself thrust into the limelight and opening for such well-known acts as Beck, Tool and Pearl Jam. Their 2001 album, Tenacious D, went platinum; they followed this effort up with Tenacious D The Complete Masterworks, a DVD that included their live concert at Brixton Academy plus music videos directed by Spike Jonze and Liam Lynch, as well as Lynch’s documentary On the Road with Tenacious D.

Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny serves as the band’s theatrical origin — one in which a number of liberties have been taken. Instead of meeting in the Actor’s Gang, the film depicts a meeting at Venice Beach where JB, escaping the repressive regime that was his childhood home, is “wowed” by KG’s guitar playing skills. After what can be considered a rocky start, the two become roommates and assume a master/student relationship. KG proceeds to instruct JB in the ways of rock ‘n’ roll — with lessons on playing for weed, performing in front of a drunk and cantankerous bar crowd, and landing the ultimate power slide.

Upon completing his training, JB joins with KG to form Tenacious D. But when their first performance is met with less than a stellar response, the two determine that they need to write a masterpiece — a song that will make them the Greatest Band on Earth. Of course, it doesn’t take long for them to realize that this is much harder than they ever imagined. But luck is on their side and soon they discover the Pick of Destiny — a guitar pick forged from the devil’s tooth and said to give all in its possession the ultimate musical skills. It resides in the Rock and Roll History Museum — an impenetrable fortress — and thus begins The D’s greatest adventure: one that pits them against police officers, security guards and Satan himself.

In a surreal sort of way, The Pick of Destiny is reminiscent of Tommy — what with all the singing and A-list cameo appearances. But the film opts for a more comedic approach then its 1975 predecessor. In fact, it’s this reporter’s opinion that Black is at his funniest when he’s singing — particularly when the lyrics are off the cuff. (For an example, see the actor’s performance of “Encarnación” in Nacho Libre.) And this movie truly gives Black a platform to flex that particular muscle.

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