Nacho Libre/Various Artists

November 15, 2006

The story of a monastery cook deciding to become a wrestler to win money to purchase better ingredients for the food he prepares for orphans so they can eat better and at the same time impress a sister is in a word silly. However, given the popularity of Jack Black, the Jared “Napolean Dynamite” Hess directed film has done over 80 million at the box-office and that doesn’t include dvd sales! When all the figures are in the film will have done three times the budget, something which few are complaining about.

The film score was not without a bit of controversy as there ended up being a cooperative effort between Beck and Danny Elfman. Danny, at one point, wanted his name removed from the credits when he found out Beck was sharing the billing with him. Apparently Danny wanted all of the billing because he did most of the soundtrack at the request of Paramount and against the wishes of the director Hess who really wanted Beck to do the score. Sounds more of a he said she said scenario which eventually resulted in a song cd consisting of one Elfman track along with two Beck selections. Both got billing in the credits. As of this writing there is no score CD and no plans that this reviewer is aware of to release one.

“Move, Move, Move” is an organ sounding keyboard instrumental track from Alan Parker and Alan Hawkshaw and is quite reminiscent of a Jimmy Smith jazz track from the 60’s. In addition to the keyboard it features some nice harmony from the guitar, bass, and drums. “10,000 Pesos” is a nice acoustic guitar strumming track with assistance from some humming, another guitar and percussion. “Tender Beasts Of The Spangled Night” is a flamenco style guitar piece, also from Beck, with some vibraphone assistance. It is complete with the castanets to give it a very nice spanish flavor. “Ramses Suite” is the lonely entry from Elfman but quite a nice spanish flavor with far superior orchestration to any of the other compositions on the CD. It features nice percussion, brass, accordian, and sax. “Black is Black”, originally recorded by Los Bravos in 1966, and sung on this recording by Eddie Santiago had the flavor of the film, but just lacked that spark of the Gene Pitney sounding platter. While listening to it my brain kept remembering the original song which reached #4 on the charts in 66. Many of you, not necessarily soundtrack enthusiasts, will enjoy “Religious Man” from Mr. Loco, and “Forbidden Nectar” sung by none other than Jack Black himself! Also included on the soundtrack is dialogue from the movie itself so beware if all of a sudden someone starts talking. There is nothing wrong with your CD player!

“Nacho Libre” is one of those films that will never win an Oscar or even a hint of a nomination. The same holds true for the soundtrack. On the otherhand, while doing the research for it, the amount of interest is incredible! This mostly song/soundtrack is going to fall into the category of if you enjoy the film you will really like the soundtrack, in fact you have been waiting for it to come out and were surprised when Paramount/Lakeshore failed to release it with the film in June. Since this soundtrack is available on iTunes it is possible to just download the Elfman piece only if you are a serious fan of Danny.


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