There may be less Jack Black films in the future. Jumanji: The Next Level, the actor’s current film, may be his last, he said recently in an interview. As he prioritizes spending more time with his family and working on his music and other ventures (which includes his popular YouTube channel), Black says he has no desire to make movies. It sounds like Black is willing to put acting on the back burner for the time being, despite the possibility of a few guest spots on television along the way. That’s a real shame.
No one can doubt that Jack Black is a talented and varied actor. He has a fantastic physical presence, a ton of energy, a lot of charm, and a great on-screen personality, whether it’s a comedic role, a dramatic one, or a musical one. It would be a tragedy if he lost his acting abilities, but it’s natural that he wants to spend more time at home and on his other time-consuming pursuits. Whatever the case may be, let’s take a look back at some of Jack Black’s most memorable performances over the years.
10. Nacho Libre (2006)
For some people, Nacho Libre is not for them. School of Rock screenwriter Robert Lopez contributed to the writing of the script. Nacho Libre (Jack Black) is a priest in Mexico who moonlights as a wrestler to get money for the orphanage he helps run. Mike White and Jared Hess, the filmmakers behind Napoleon Dynamite, directed the picture. Based on an actual story, it’s mostly absurdist and ridiculous slapstick humor, with lots of embarrassing moments, corny lines, and stupid joke after stupid joke. In addition to being continually hilarious, it’s also a film with a deep and pulsing heart, one that is bolstered by a weird yet endearing Jack Black performance.
Nacho Libre received a mixed reception from critics, with many saying it was a one-joke movie that lasted too long. Despite the fact that Nacho Libre isn’t quite as creative as some of Jack Black’s other, better films, it has an unexpectedly lovely disposition that is heightened by Black’s outstanding character work and real performance. Ultimately, Nacho Libre transforms into a raucous, winsome sports comedy that highlights Jack Black’s physique as a comic star and his emotional range as a character actor.
9. Jesus’ Son (1999)
In comparison to other of Jack Black’s other films, Jesus’ Son may not be as well-known. Even though this small-budget dramedy opened to critical praise, it didn’t garner the same level of popularity as some of the actor’s subsequent, more mainstream efforts. Despite this, Denis Johnson’s period drama is a winner thanks to its stellar ensemble, which includes Jack Black. The screenplay was adapted from a collection of short stories by Johnson.
Aside from an amusingly nasty scene that highlights his talents for subtle humor — something that frequently goes missed when he’s supposed to play it loud and broad — Jack Black doesn’t get many scenes in Jesus’ Son as an orderly in a hospital where our protagonist, portrayed by Billy Crudup, works. However, Jack Black is a talented actor, and he contributes to the film’s little but enticing success.
8. Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)
If you haven’t already seen the previous two Kung Fu Panda films, Kung Fu Panda 3 is a charming, heartfelt conclusion to the series, allowing you to see Jack Black’s great voice portrayal as Po once more. We saw our kung fu hero’s reunion with his biological family, as well as his efforts to become an expert in the martial art, in this second installment.
Even while this sequel isn’t as consistently amusing or distinctive as its predecessors, it offers another outstanding voice performance from Black playing one of his best, most impassioned, and most beloved parts across the vast span of his film career—animated or otherwise.
This intensity and emotion that Jack Black brings to his parts is frequently what sets them apart from the rest. Every emotional pulse is carried by a magnificent crescendo of comedy and passion, which shows that he feels genuinely about the characters and topic. Although he is portraying a panda in an animated film, Jack Black’s performances are so human that they make you care about the fate of this kung fu fighting figure, and this results in possibly the best DreamWorks Animation trilogy yet. It’s only fitting that the Kung Fu Panda series concludes with Kung Fu Panda 3.
7. King Kong (2005)
The epic 2005 remake of King Kong by Peter Jackson wasn’t everyone’s favorite for a variety of reasons. Because of its three-hour running duration and melodramatic overtones, this was an old-fashioned blockbuster that no one expected from the filmmaker of the magnificent Lord of the Rings trilogy in the mid-2000s. There were flaws, but the film nevertheless managed to impress, and it gave Jack Black a chance to show off his impressive acting chops in an Oscar-caliber movie from a popular director.
Jack Black is merely one piece of the massive epic puzzle that is Carl Denham, the filmmaker whose passion with his picture takes many hazardous turns. However, his contribution enhances rather than detracts from its beauty. Playing into the tough director’s huge, bold desire to achieve something exceptional, especially with his financial situation and seemingly everything else at stake, is the actor’s broad performance style. One of Peter Jackson’s finest mid-period masterpieces, Black had the opportunity to showcase his talents in this huge film remake.
6. Tropic Thunder (2007)
In Tropic Thunder, Ben Stiller’s controversial Hollywood parody, Jack Black has found an R-rated comedy worthy of his comedy abilities after repeated efforts to transform his raucous comedy into more filthy stuff. As an overblown war drama goes awry when an experiment designed to toughen up the actors goes awry, Black can sometimes be playing third bill behind co-writer/director Ben Stiller and Academy Award-nominated Robert Downey Jr. in a truly unforgettable, multi-layered performance that will be remembered for a long time. However, when his tenuous grasp on reality spirals out of control, Jack Black more than holds his own.
The film’s heightened tone allows Jack Black to use his broad comedic skills to allow his character to go deeper and deeper into crazy, particularly when the character’s drug addiction becomes a more severe problem. Despite the fact that Tropic Thunder is a group effort, Black’s performance is only one of the film’s many secrets. Tropic Thunder is another film that could have gone awry in a variety of ways, but because to the abilities of its cast, notably Jack Black, it succeeds.
5. Bernie (2012)
They rose to fame with School of Rock in 2003, but it wasn’t until 2012’s Bernie that Jack Black and director Richard Linklater were able to work together again. If their earlier work was a success, this dark comedy is another win for both the performers and storytellers, especially as Black gives one of his best performances as Bernie Tiede, who is portrayed by Black.
While Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey, and Shirley MacLaine act out this sensational tale of a Texas funeral director who kills his 80-year-old millionaire wife in cold blood, real-life interviews with town residents paint a picture of his true-life tale through their pointed and often amusing perspectives in Bernie, which blends drama and documentary.
In Black’s heartfelt and tragic portrayal, we see the compassion of this warm, complicated individual, as well as the various reasons why the residents were willing to believe in Bernie’s innocence and good character despite this horrific crime.. Despite the film’s calm, heartfelt tone, it shows that Jack Black and Richard Linklater continue to produce some of their best work together.
4. Kung Fu Panda (2008)
Jack Black is one of the most energetic actors in the business. Of course he’d contribute his talents to a blockbuster animated film. In 2008, DreamWorks Animation cast him as Po in the outstanding Kung Fu Panda, a job that complemented his comedic and dramatic abilities better than his first attempt at voice acting in 2004’s lackluster Shark Tale. What could have been just another forgettable animated family film was instead transformed into an engrossing and deeply moving character study that gave Jack Black a memorable role to play.
A bumbling panda with dreams of becoming a kung fu master is the star of this computer-animated martial arts comedy. When he is chosen to be an apprentice, Po finds himself suddenly a peer among his kung fu idols by a series of chance and fate. Dragon Warrior must be transformed into an expert in kung fu before the villainous Tai Lung destroys the country.
An enjoyable and commendable story delivered by its fast speed, extensive use of comedy, and overwhelming emotion is a simple recipe. In addition, it allows him to play a character who is bursting with life as the story progresses, allowing him to use his enthusiasm, energy, and keen comedic timing to bring the character to life. A kung fu comedy that kicks butt and wins your heart is what you get when you add in the deep-seated respect for Chinese culture, its magnificent designs, the profusion of likeable characters, and a fair amount of exceptional action beats.
3. High Fidelity (2000)
The movie High Fidelity, for many people, is the one that put Jack Black on the map. While portraying Barry Judd, a music enthusiast who works in the same record store as our main protagonist Rob Gordon (John Cusack), Black solidified his reputation as a performer to watch, one who could feel both larger-than-life and like someone you know all too well in your day to day life through his energetic and appealing screen performance. It’s enough to say that Jack Black got to play to his strengths in this role. High Fidelity had a significant impact on the trajectory of Black’s film career.
In contrast to John Cusack’s more placid screen presence, Jack Black is a firebrand in High Fidelity, engulfing the room with his volcanic personality. It’s possible to see this as off-putting if performed by a less skilled actor, but here and in this film it worked extremely well and allowed us to immerse ourselves in the store dynamic and appreciate the in-depth chats about life and love and (above all) music. Ultimately, John Cusack’s movie, but it’s frequently Black who steals the prize.
2. Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
This sequel was even more unexpectedly successful than the original Kung Fu Panda, both critically and monetarily speaking. As a result of the darker, more character-driven narrative, which places a greater emphasis on emotional and dramatic tragedy to convey its introspective story, the film’s sequel proves to be an even better film than the first. This is Black’s best voice performance in the Kung Fu Panda series, letting him to display his talents as both a comic and tragic lead performer in important, deft ways.
Progressing and building on Po’s character, Kung Fu Panda 2 retains all of the previous movie’s charm and wit while adding some essential emotional and quiet moments that exhibit a maturity and grace that only enhances this new addition to the series. You get both belly chuckles and heart-wrenching moments in equal measure from this film, which also features some of the best kung fu action scenes you’ll ever see. One of the best animated flicks of the decade, Kung Fu Panda 2 is also one of Jack Black’s funniest, best and most emotionally compelling films ever made.
1. School of Rock (2003)
For the most part, this was not Jack Black’s first film, but School of Rock is the one that made him famous. There’s a valid explanation for this, too. Richard Linklater finally realized his long-held dream of becoming a worldwide success as a sensitive filmmaker with this charming, entertaining ensemble comedy that showcased Jack Black’s musical, comedic, and dramatic talents while also providing a consistently amusing, heavily quotable, and massively heartfelt studio comedy. Indeed, School of Rock blew many away.
Featuring Dewey Finn, a poor rock musician who impersonates his roommate Ned Schneebly (played by scriptwriter Mike White), School of Rock is a plot that just wouldn’t work without the extremely charming talents of its star performer. That being said, we get to appreciate Black’s friendship with his students and his love for hard rocking and forming a band worthy of his big-headed goals through the charming Dewey Finn/Faux Ned Schneebly.
As a result, the film is a consistently amusing and likable production comedy, earning actor Jack Black a Golden Globe nomination for his starring role. Quite rightly, too. It’s not hard to understand why Jack Black became a mainstay performer thanks to School of Rock.
Here, we’ve just scratched the surface of Jack Black’s most memorable work. It’s clear that Jack Black is an enormously talented actor who has a diverse, eclectic range of roles to choose from, especially when you consider Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, his understated nuance in Margot at the Wedding, his heartbreaking supporting turn in Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot, or his winsome work in Be Kind Rewind. That he’ll be leaving the screen after Jumanji: The Next Level is his final film is a tremendous loss for the industry. But at least we can reminisce about all the great things he has accomplished in his film career.