Tegan’s Throwback Thursdays: “Nacho Libre” is the definition of a Nickelodeon original


Graphic by Maliah White

“Nacho Libre,” the iconic Nickelodeon original starring Jack Black, is still worth watching fifteen years later.

Tegan Ruhl, Staff Writer

Grab your capes and your luchador masks because today we’re talking about “Nacho Libre.”

In a remote area of Mexico, Ignacio (Jack Black), aka Nacho, daydreams about becoming a lucha libre wrestler. However, the monastery he grew up in forbids lucha wrestling. 

When funds become tight and Nacho struggles to provide good food for the orphans in the monastery, he takes upon a disguise and becomes a wrestler in the ring. With the help of his newfound wrestling partner Steven (Héctor Jiménez), the duo strives to become the best tag team in all of Mexico. 

“Nacho Libre” has always been a movie I strongly enjoy. 

I didn’t watch this movie until I was a freshman in high school when my Spanish teacher put it on one day. Although I remember little to none of how to speak the language today, I always remembered watching “Nacho Libre.” 

Someone told me that “Nacho Libre” and “Napoleon Dynamite” are sort of similar. When I watched the movie again over Spring Break, it kind of surprised me how similar the two movies actually were.

Similar to “Napoleon Dynamite,” “Nacho Libre” is dumb fun. For an early 2000s Nickelodeon original, I wouldn’t expect any less. Aside from the occasional fart joke, the movie actually has a solid and sweet plot. 

The conflict Nacho has as he struggles between providing for the children (while living out his dream as a luchador) and respecting the monastery is actually important. 

I think that something that gets kind of thrown under the rug in the movie is the fact that Nacho is actually a dedicated monk. He may not look the part, but he definitely has the heart for it. Between the love he has for the orphans, his occasional prayers to the Lord and being concerned about his wrestling partner’s salvation, Nacho clearly loves the people around him. 

Nacho’s heart for people contributes to his struggle for glory. His dreams of becoming a famous luchador are unfolding right before him, yet he must decide between becoming a rich and famous wrestler or providing for the people he loves. His struggle between glory and love leads to tense relationships among the people of the monastery and the wrestlers around him. 

Aside from the plotline, “Nacho Libre” also provides viewers with eye-popping visuals and fight scenes that will make you both wince and laugh at the same time. The colorful caps, masks and stretchy pants of the luchador wrestlers are appealing to the eyes, but the fight scenes are quite the opposite. Watching the wrestling duo in their beginning stages is almost hard to watch as they are thrown about the ring and collect an array of bruises and scars. 

Eventually, the two get the hang of it, but the fight scenes are never dry or really repetitive (except for the one between those two little gremlins those guys make me anxious). It’s a satisfying buildup till the very end. 

Like most early Nickelodeon originals, “Nacho Libre” never disappointed me. While it’s not monotone or as blunt as “Napoleon Dynamite,” the movie never ceases to make me laugh at its dumb humor or admire the pretty atmosphere. 

I’d give this movie a 4 out of 5. 

If you like movies like “Napoleon Dynamite,” or any Nickelodeon show from the 90s or early 2000s, you should definitely try this movie. If dumb humor is not your thing, then maybe save this movie for another time.