Between 2008 and 2010, Jack Black appeared in five movies, eight if you include the short films The Secrets of the Furious Five, Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special, and Prop 8: The Musical He was everywhere, and the world was getting burnt out on his energetic antics; he even received a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Actor for his role in the notorious dud Gulliver’s Travels. Since then, he’s slowed down, settling for cameos (The Muppets, Sex Tape) and the elusive Right Role (Bernie).
This is not a bad thing, because even though I’m as Team Jack Black as they come, and I believe he can be a great actor when he’s in a movie or TV show worthy of his unique talent, he can come across as desperate and muggy in a turd like Year One. Unless he’s singing, that is. I will never get tired of Jack Black singing, so lucky for me, today’s his 45th birthday, which is as good an excuse as any to collect some of JB’s finest rock-your-sock musical moments.
1. Tenacious D
I failed ninth grade math. With a 64. The teacher wouldn’t slide me an extra point, so rather than “hanging out with my chums and lady friend at the rock quarry” (which really means, staying at home to sadly masturbate to Britney Spears in Crossroads…AGAIN), I had to go to summer school. That’s not even the most embarrassing thing about this story: it’s that I didn’t know how to ride a bike yet and I was too young to drive a car, so to get to school, I had to walk. Six miles there, six miles back. By the time I arrived, I was a sweaty, oily mess. The only thing that kept me from pulling a Heathers: my Discman, specifically listening to Tenacious D’s debut album on said Discman. All these years later, I still know every line, and what track I was listening to when I almost stepped on roadkill that smelled like a Golden Corral coated in bleach. So naturally, I’m picking a song, “Cosmic Shame,” that isn’t on the album, but does appear on the much-watch HBO series. Bonus Paul F. Tompkins appearance!
2. “School of Rock” from School of Rock
School of Rock isn’t a great movie by any means, but I never turn it off when it’s on cable. It’s a smart-enough crowd-pleaser, and Black is one of the best actors in Hollywood when it comes to working with children. He doesn’t pander them because of their age; he respects their talent.
3. “Let’s Get It On” from High Fidelity
Kathleen Turner Overdrive should go on tour with Nothing Rhymes with Orange.
4. “My Hero” with the Foo Fighters
Black and Dave Grohl are best of buds who have worked together many times in their career, including when the King of the Ice Bucket Challenge played Satan in the Tenacious D movie. Here’s Black providing background vocals for the Foo Fighters’ “My Hero” on Letterman.
Honorable mention to the D being in the classic “Learn to Fly” music video.