Hits to the Heart and Mind from the Land of Dreams
NACHO LIBRE cc
Nacho is a comedy from 1996, co-written by the couple
that brought us Napoleon Dynamite. Reactions were partly tepid. The feeling
was it had fallen short. Still, 100 million worldwide to date. Not exactly couch
It is easy to see the quirky potential that those involved must have seen in this story.
It is downright poignant. To start, it is based on a real-life priest/professional wrestler.
He wrestled to support the orphanage he headed.
Nacho: Underneath the robe you find a man. Underneath the man you find his nucleus.
Nacho is this main figure - the cook in a monastery with a colorful but sad
origin. He is a dyed-in-the-wool good guy facing a growingly sharp dilemma -
Nacho: It sucks to be me right now.
not enough money for decent food for the children. The stalwart Nacho
does his best to keep hope alive.
Boy: Can't we ever have like a salad or something?
Nacho: Be grateful, Juan Pablo. Today is especially delicious.
Nacho: I get to sleep alone in my bed every night for the rest of my life. It's fantastic.
You see what I mean, it's touching. How can you not feel admiration for this friar? - this
good man who secretly dreams of the glory of being a professional wrestler.
Nacho: Chancho, when you are a man, sometimes you wear stretchy pants in your
room. It's for fun.
So very true. Spandex, a beer and the game - what else is there for a guy? Oh, that's
right, there's that dream.
Nacho: Ok. Orphans! Listen to Ignacio. I know it is fun to wrestle. A nice piledrive
to the face... or a punch to the face... but you cannot do it. Because, it is in
the Bible not to wrestle your neighbour.
Yes, the oft quoted but seldom practiced 11th commandment - Thou shall not
tag team. Speaking of religiously delicate subjects, the movie also tackles the
idea of Nacho having deep feelings for the recent arrival, Sister Encarnacion.
Though it is done with a light touch and simple sweetness.
Nacho: When the fantasy has ended, and all the children are gone. Something
good inside of me, helps me to carry on. I ate somes bugs, I ate some
grass. I used my hand, to wipe my tears. To kiss your mouth, I'd break
A turning point comes. In the dark of night, Nacho is robbed of, well, chips.
Monk: What is this?
Nacho: Leftovers. Enjoy.
Monk: There is no flavor. There are no spices. Where are the chips?
Nacho: Somebody stole them.
Monk: Did you not tell them that they were the Lord's chips?
This starts our main character on a journey to be a wrestler, make money for food and
find those things he's been looking for - longing for.
Nacho: Okay. Maybe I am not meant for these duties. Cooking duty. Dead guy...
duty. Maybe it's time for me to get a better duty!
This journey includes joining forces with the man who robbed him, the mystical seeking
of personal power, the falling of a hero, ostracization and full tilt pro wrestling drama.
Nacho, like most everyone, thinks about the nicer things in life...
Nacho: Me? No. Come on. Don't be crazy. I know the wrestlers get all the fancy ladies,
and the clothes, and the free creams and lotions. But my life is good! Really
good! I get to wake up every morning, at 5AM, and make some soup! It's the
best. I love it.
...but the superficial trappings have really melted away in the heat of what's truly
Nacho: Tonight, I will fight the seven strongest men in town, maybe the world. And I will
win because our heavenly father will be in the ring with me. And he and I will win
Render unto Caesar...?
This is a story of a decent person going with the flow/tidal wave of his destiny.
The ride really starts when he is driven to decide between what he has been taught
to believe is right and what he can no longer hold off as being the right thing to do--
in a way, the only thing to do. Again, this movie achieves a measure of true poignancy.
And where does it lead him? Well, probably where he was supposed to be.
Of course, ultimately, there is the same destination for all of us.
Nacho: This man lived a good life. He had a wonderful woman, a lush garden,...and a
collection of Russian nesting dolls. May he rest in peace.
Maybe even better than spandex, beer and the game.
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Written Content G.A.M.