Film: Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny

A 2006 film starring Tenacious D founders Kyle Gass and Jack Black, known in the story as Jables and Kage. It's a spin off of a lesser known HBO series that premiered back in 1997. In it, the explicit details of the band's origins are explored, and a strong change in dynamic is observed (from just sitting around doing random shit to sitting around doing random shit and going on an adventure on the big screen).

The film has two main parts to the plot. The first part deals mainly with the formation of the band. In the beginning, Jables, a young rocker living in an oppressive, religious household, prays to a poster of Ronnie James Dio, and is given a vision of his future. He is bidden to run away from home to California, where he is to meet his best friend and band partner. After traveling far, he meets this man, Kage, who turns out to be something of a bum wanna-be. Kage gives him extensive rock "training."

The second part involves the two trying to create a masterpiece song to pay their rent. During a jam session, they stumble onto the secret of an ancient rock artifact known as the Pick of Destiny. It happens to be Satan's tooth. The two then go on an adventure to retrieve said artifact, and get into all sorts of trouble along the way.

The movie, like the band itself, has a strong cult following.

This film provides examples of:

  • Animated Credits Opening
  • As Himself: Ronnie James Dio appears as his himself in the film's intro.
  • Badass Boast: "I DO NOT NEED - (he does not need...) - A MICROPHONE - (a microphone...) MY VOICE IS FUCKING - (fucking) - POWERFUL!!!"
  • Big Brother Mentor: Kage.
  • Big Eater: Kage, who orders fried chicken, steak, and chicken fried steak during the diner scene.
  • Big "NO!": Jables lets one out after realizing that the Devil has him and Kage outmatched. By the end of the rock-off, the Devil ends up having an even bigger 'no' while being sent back to Hell.
  • Big Red Devil: Provides the page image.
  • Birthmark of Destiny: JB and Kage have matching birthmarks, one says "TENAC" and the other says "IOUS D". On their buttcheeks.
  • Black Comedy Rape: If Tenacious D had lost the rock off against Satan, Kage would have become Satan's sex slave.
  • Black Sheep: JB by his own admission: he's an aspiring rock star in a family of anal-retentive fundamentalist Christians.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In the diner scene:
    "Let me have the fried chicken, and a steak, and the chicken fried steak."
  • Broken Aesop: The film starts off with Jables being ranted at by his fundamentalist Christian dad, who claims that rock and roll is evil and the work of Satan, to which JB says it's "not the Devil's work, it's magical and rad". The rest of the movie is spent searching for a pick that makes you an awesome rock star through the power of the Devil.
  • Broken Pedestal: Happens to Jables when he finds out that Kage isn't really a rock god, and has been living off his parents for 13 years.
  • Call Back: The D's part in "Beelzeboss" is strongly implied to be the song they refer to in "Tribute", as it gets referred to afterwards as "The Greatest Song In The World".
  • The Cameo: Neil Hamburger has a very short one as himself, performing at the same open mic night as Tenacious D themselves.
  • Celebrity Lie: Kage lies to Jables and claims that he's friends with the guys in Black Sabbath.
  • Chase Scene: "Car Chase City".
  • Chekhov's Armory
  • Chekhov's Skill: Power-slides and cock push-ups both turn out to be very useful tools for stealing the Pick of Destiny.
  • Chess with Death: Not so much chess as a rock off, and not so much Death as Satan himself.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Throughout the movie, but especially whenever Jables is improvising song lyrics. Just listen to "Classico".
    • Satan's initial boast and reaction definitely qualifies. See Oh Crap! below.
    • Also in "Kickapoo":
    Oh the dragons balls were blazin' as I stepped into his cave, then I sliced his fuckin' cockles, with a long and shiny blade!/'Twas I who fucked the dragon, fuckaly sing-fuckaloo!/And if you try to fuck with me, then I shall fuck you too!
  • Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male: Suggested between Satan and Kage.
  • Et Tu, Brute?
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father
  • Foreshadowing: Jables' father warned him that the rock music would make him Satan's puppet and bring chaos to the world. He would have been right if Jables and Kage hadn't defeated Satan in the rock-off.
  • Fun with Acronyms: "That's where the POD lies now." "POD?" "The Pick of Destiny!" "Oh."
  • Groin Attack: Jack slips and falls, straddling a tree branch. "OW, SWEET BABY!" indeed.
  • Groupie Brigade: Seen during Jables' dream sequence.
  • Guile Hero: Jables, see Fridge Brilliance.
  • Heroic Fantasy: The second half of the movie, when Jables and Kage go after the Pick of Destiny, the plot basically shifts to this. I mean, it's still set in the real world, but all the tropes are there.
  • Honour Before Reason: Turns out that even the Devil must abide by the Demon's Code and accept any declaration of a rock-off challenge. Keep in mind, he presumably wrote this part of the code in the first place.
  • Idiot Ball: JB agrees to put KG up as a bet for their rock-off with the devil...despite the Devil having said that he literally CANNOT decline a rock-off challenge.
    • Averted: In order to send Satan back to hell from whence he came. Jables HAD to strike a deal with him of some sort. Souls are probably the only thing The Devil would substantially benefit from (thus making it a deal), and he was about to take both their souls anyway if they lost. Plus it's quite likely that Satan, being who he is, wouldn't have let an opportunity like this slide by without specifically defining a Rock-Off as having some sort of stakes involved.
  • Intimate Marks: Both Jables and Rage Kage have Birthmarks of Destiny on their hind quarters that spell out "Tenac" and "ious D" respectively. They take this as a sign to name their band Tenacious D.
  • Invisible Backup Band
  • It Was with You All Along: Parodied. When the guys break the POD before going on stage and start crying, the open mic host warmly reassures them that they don't need a magic guitar pick to channel the Devil in their music, then gives an inspiring, heartfelt speech about how Satan lives within "all of our hearts", ever tempting us to debauchery and defiance. Jables and Kage find this comforting.
  • Large Ham: Jables, Jack Black after all. And Dave Grohl as Satan.
  • Laser Hallway
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The duo arrives at the "Halfway House" truck stop about halfway through the movie, as pointed out by the commentary.
  • Louis Cypher: The open mic night host.
  • MacGuffin: The eponymous Pick of Destiny.
  • Man Child: Both of them, but especially Kage.
  • Metalhead
  • Mic Drop: JB knocks the mic stand over after the D's first "concert" (a one-song amateur/open mic night). The audience is not impressed.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • "It's a sign... a legacy." *proceeds to show birthmark on ass*
    • Power sliding past the security guards under the security door.
  • Mushroom Samba: When Jables gets lost out in the woods, he survives by eating unidentified mushrooms, which results in this trope.
    • Specifically, he has a trip wherein he becomes a baby sasquatch, and then begins singing about how his dad is awesome and shall protect him.
  • Mythology Gag: The D are met by Satan and have to play a song to save their lives (and the world). After surviving, they are unable to remember the kickass tune they played, so they try to rewrite it from scratch. Mayhaps a Tribute to that song?
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Literally, breaking it: Jables and Kage fight over the pick and break it in half. It then gets picked up by the devil, and the shit immediately hits the fan.
  • No Indoor Voice: An in-story example, Jables ends up daydreaming that with the eponymous pick, his voice will become so loud he will lose any need for microphones.
    • Also, Satan. All the time.
  • Oh Crap!: The song that plays when Satan gets the pick:
    Tenacious D: Fuuuuuuuuuuu-uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!
    Jables: Waaaait...waaaaait! Waiiiiit, you muthafucka! We challenge you to a rock-off! Give us one chance to rock your socks off!
    • Kage gets another one during Satan's Rock Me, Asmodeus! when he reveals his collection of BDSM gear. Watch the look on his face switch from "awesome performance" to "I'm screwed" in a split second.
    • Satan gets yet another one when after accidentally blowing off his own horn, he realizes that he has given Jables a way to send him back to Hell.
  • Parental Favoritism: "You disobeyed my orders son, why were you ever born?/Your brother's ten times better than you, Jesus loves him more!"
  • Plot Hole: Pointed out in the DVD Commentary by Jack, during the training montage, Jables collects $10 worth of coins in a cup while performing on the boardwalk. How can he assume he collected ten exact bucks just by looking into the cup?
    • Soon after in the same scene, Jables goes to a nearby payphone and uses 10 cents from the cup to call Kage at home, making it $9.90. Would Jables still have enough money for the dime-bag he obtains after this scene?
  • Rock Me, Asmodeus!: Parodied, especially with lines like "I'm the devil, I love metal!".
  • Rule of Cool: Overused in the songs to the point that it becomes funny how much it's overused. Particularly in the Master Exploder dream sequence.
  • Rule of Funny
  • Satan
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: During the reunion, Kage says it was supposed to be in that order. Kage goes off to a party, Jables into the forest and eats mushrooms, and then they both get the Pick together.
  • Shout-Out: The Devil's guitar is Dimebag Darrell's famous lightning bolt Dean ML.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Satan, unsurprisingly. JB and KG, to a lesser extent.
  • Slasher Smile: Jack Black shows his off a few times, revealing that it looks like a cross between the Joker and the Grinch.
  • Stoner Flick: The audience is now baked.
  • Stoners Are Funny: The movie has several gags revolving around drug use. The funniest is probably Jables' mushroom-induced hallucination.
  • Tarot Motifs: The opening sequence is based around them.
  • The Quest
  • The Power of Rock: Obviously. Taken to ridiculous extremes in "Master Exploder" and "Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown)".
  • Un Duet: KG ends up performing one of Tenacious D's songs to find he only remembers his lines, which are mostly just for backing.
  • The Unfavorite: Jables (see Parental Favoritism).
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: Jables does some while breaking into the Rock and Roll History Museum, and yet the camera continues to see him (and only the camera).
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Jables shows signs of being this.
  • When You Snatch the Pebble: "When you snatch the remote control out of my hand, you will have earned the right to change the channel."
  • Your Head Asplode: In the "Master Exploder" Imagine Spot, Jables causes a man's brain to fly out by singing epically.
    Jables: "I did not mean . . ."
    Kage: (He did not mean)
    Jables: "To blow your mind!"
    Kage: (To blow your mind!)
    Jables: "But that shit happened to me . . . all the tiii-yiii-hiiiime!"
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Satan's reaction when Jables challanges him to a Rock Off, knowing he can't refuse it.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle