The 10 Best Jack Black Movies of All Time

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After years as a working actor, comedian, and musician (as one half of righteous comedy-metal duo Tenacious D), Jack Black broke out huge at the top of this century, landing roles in big time blockbusters, breathtaking animation, and even his own starring vehicles.

With a wicked wit, dulcet tones, and a lovable demeanor, Jack Black has found a home in action flicks, family adventures, the occasional drama and — of course — memorable comedies. Join us as we take a look back over the past 20 years and wrangle up Jack Black’s best movies, from awesome animated sagas to rowdy music making to the truly odd and offbeat.

The Top 10 Jack Black Movies of All Time

10. High Fidelity (2000)

Where to Watch: HBO, HBO Max, Cinemax Go, or rentable on most platforms.

After spending the ’90s doing bit roles in notable films like Waterworld, The Cable Guy, and Dead Man Walking — and Tenacious D even appearing in Bio-Dome — Jack Black was washed in a wave of acclaim for playing prickly music snob/record shop worker Barry in Stephen Frears’ High Fidelity. It was a role that showcased both his comedic and musical talents. Witty and wise, High Fidelity would be a big stepping stone toward Black getting headlining roles over the next decade.

Read our review of High Fidelity.

9. Nacho Libre (2006)

Where to Watch: Fubo, Showtime, Showtime apps/add-ons, or rentable on most platforms.

Jared and Jerusha Hess’ follow-up to 2004’s sleeper hit Napoleon Dynamite was a fun fable featuring Jack Black as a Catholic friar who secretly moonlights as a luchador to earn money for a struggling orphanage. It’s a charming entry in Black’s catalogue, one that finds himself toning down his more-familiar, manic persona for a mild-mannered heroic turn. Army of the Dead and The Forever Purge’s Ana de la Reguera co-stars, along with late Lucha Libre legend Silver King.

Read our review of Nacho Libre.

8. Orange County (2002)

Where to Watch: Fubo, Showtime, Showtime apps/add-ons, Cinemax Go, or rentable on most platforms.

Jake Kasdan’s Orange County, written by School of Rock’s Mike White, was a clever teen comedy that managed to be original, funny, and heartfelt in amidst a landscape of raunchy American Pie clones. Starring Colin Hanks as an aspiring writer with dreams of going to Stanford and Jack Black as his dim-witted stoner brother, Orange County is smart, sweet and filled with comedy luminaries like John Lithgow, Harold Ramis, Catherine O’Hara, Chevy Chase, and Gary Marshall.

Read our review of Orange County.

7. The House with the Clock in Its Walls (2018)

Where to Watch: Rentable or buyable on most platforms.

Based on the 1973 novel by John Bellairs, and directed by Eli Roth, The House with a Clock in Its Walls is rollicking blend of family-friendly heart and humor starring Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Hamilton’s Renée Elise Goldsberry, Kyle MacLachlan, and young Owen Vaccaro. This fantastical tale of a boy sent to live in his uncle’s warlock-haunted house is a blast and a half (and Roth’s first-ever non R-rated movie). Black and Blanchett are set to appear in Roth’s next film too, Borderlands.

Read our review of The House with a Clock in Its Walls.

6. Bernie (2012)

Where to Watch: Peacock, Vudu, Tubi, Redbox, Roku Channel, Crackle — all w/ ads — or rentable on most platforms.

Richard Linklater’s true crime dark comedy Bernie was a superb side-step for Jack Black, who plays Texas mortician Bernie Tiede, a man convicted of murdering his companion, a wealthy 81-year-old widow named Marge Nugent (Shirley MacLaine). Black received some of the best reviews of his career here in this rich and rewarding love letter to Southern eccentricities. Matthew McConaughey and Gabriel Luna co-star in this cunning, playful film.

5. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Where to Watch: Starz apps/add-ons or rentable on most platforms.

Jack Black nailed the body-swap game in this Jumanji reboot-quel blockbuster, as a portly professor video game avatar inhabited by popular, vain teen Bethany (Madison Iseman). Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle grossed close to a billion dollars thanks to a great cast, a fun twist, and vulnerable heart. Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan rounded out the quartet here in this superb update/upgrade to the Jumanji franchise.

Read our review of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

4. King Kong (2005)

Where to Watch: HBO, HBO Max, Cinemax Go, or rentable on most platforms.

Jack Black played a film director determined to film real monsters on Skull Island in Peter Jackson’s King Kong remake. Starring alongside Naomi Watts, Adrien Brody, Kyle Chandler, Colin Hanks, and a swirling torrent of beasts trying to rip them all limb from limb, Black represented the decaying moral compass of Hollywood, willing to get the shot no matter whose life was put at risk. A full spectacle, King Kong is an epic retelling of a classic story.

Read our review of King Kong.

3. The Holiday (2006)

Where to Watch: HBO, HBO Max, or rentable on most platforms.

Jack Black’s never really been cast in rom-coms, but the one time he was he damn well brought it home. Nancy Meyers’ The Holiday featured Black as a Miles, a Hollywood film composer who adorably helps Kate Winslet’s lovesick Iris get over her problematic romantic obsession and find love stateside. Meyers created Miles after seeing Black in School of Rock, recognizing his charm and relatability. Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, and Eli Wallach also star in this touching story of two women who find new loves after swapping houses (and countries).

Read our review of The Holiday.

2. Kung Fu Panda (2008)

Where to Watch: Rentable or buyable on most platforms.

Kung Fu Panda, and its two sequels, represent some of Jack Black’s best work, and also one of the best-fitting characters for his style of heart and humor. As Po, a lazy panda bear dreaming of martial arts greatness, Black embodies a pure, charismatic underdog spirit in one of the best animated franchises of the past two decades. With wondrous visuals, exciting fight sequences, and Black leading the charge with nothing but his voice talent, Kung Fu Panda is a beautiful, blazing feast for the eyes and spirit.

Read our review of Kung Fu Panda.

1. School of Rock (2003)

Where to Watch: Rentable or buyable on most platforms.

Only a handful of movies have been able to capture all that is magical about Jack Black and one of them, School of Rock, did it so well that an entire business chain was created to capitalize on kids wanting to learn to kick ass in a band. School of Rock is a hilarious crowd-pleaser, with Black playing a struggling rocker, Dewey Finn who sees an opportunity to win a Battle of the Bands using reluctant prep school students. This Richard Linklater film is tonally perfect, featuring a top-notch cast, a winning script, and infectious energy.

Read our review of The School of Rock.

Matt Fowler is a writer for IGN, a member of the Television Critics Association, and co-host of We Enjoy Wrestling. Follow him on Twitter at @TheMattFowler and Facebook at Facebook.com/MattBFowler.



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