Nacho Libre: What’s It Really About?

Jared Hess’s Napoleon Dynamite follow-up, Nacho Libre, is a somewhat obscure entry in Jack Black’s filmography, but we think its underrated.

Last Updated on May 3, 2024

In 2004, a little movie called Napoleon Dynamite came out and quickly became THE cult movie of the decade. It made the director, Jared Hess, a hot ticket, and for his follow-up, he opted to team with Jack Black for a luchador wrestling comedy called Nacho Libre. In it, Black plays Ignacio, a cook at an orphanage run by monks in Mexico, who idolizes luchador wrestlers, even though the sport is forbidden within the monastery. When the church runs out of the funds needed to feed the many orphans they take care of, Ignacio decides to pursue his dream of being a wrestler to raise money for the kids.

Too bad he sucks as a wrestler.

In this pretty hilarious little comedy, Black delivers perhaps his greatest physical performance as Ignacio transforms into the legendary wrestler Nacho Libre. While it’s become a somewhat forgotten film, it’s worth noting that it was actually a decent-sized box office hit back in the summer of 2006. It made close to $100 million worldwide but was seen as a disappointment as it had the misfortune of being compared not only to Napoleon Dynamite but also Black’s recent smash, School of Rock.

Interestingly, it’s also a favorite movie of one of our most talented guys here at JoBlo, Kier Gomes, who’s decided to make a deep dive video into what he thinks are the movie’s deeper themes. He did something similar for Napoleon Dynamite just a few months ago, and it became a smash hit video, so let’s see if lightning strikes twice with Nacho Libre – What’s It Really About! In this video, he digs into how the film’s wrestling story had parallels to Hess’s own career as a director, with Nacho’s religious upbringing similar, in some ways, to Hess’s own life as a Mormon, something which uniquely informs his work. While Hess is undoubtedly a hit-and-miss director for some, Kier’s video makes a case for him as a true auteur, so give it a watch and let us know in the comments what you think!

About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.