Nacho Libre Revisited

In all respect, @jhull, you’ve touched on the wrong movie. As die-hard Nacho Libre groupies, our family has seen the movie more times than I can count.

I think this 2006 analysis of Nacho Libre did not take Holistic into consideration. Here is my assessment, and I’m wondering if any fans out there will also recognize that it is a story, just one about balance (ie: holistic).

Exhibit One Premise:
Believing in your dreams magnifies your higher state of vibration and helps you work your way towards addressing being tolerant of someone with others.

Exhibit Two

Exhibit Three
Act by Act
Initial Story Driver: Arrival of Encarnacion/Rejection of himself


First Plot Point: Action: Complaints about Food/Rejected as a Cook

Midpoint: Action: Winning Money/Accepted as a Loser

Second Plot Point: Rejected by Ramses the Wrestler

Final Driver: Takes his own Mask off/Accepting himself

MC Issue: Commitment: “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!”

The IC role is a pass-off from Encarnacion to Stephen in the middle then back to Encarnacion. Logic is Stephen’s thing, “I don’t know why you always have to be judging me, just because I only believe in science.”

I’m not listening to you! You only believe in Science. That’s probably why we never win.

We never win because you are fat!

All of these favorite quotes are related to the thematic elements on Exhibit Two above:

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lol :joy: this is what I wake up to?!

You know, I very well could be wrong. That was, I think, the second analysis I ever posted and so I could be WAY off!

I’ll check it out this weekend and see if 13 years and 5 billion words of content makes a difference :grin:

Thanks for the fun start to my Wed


The premise works, the throughlines work, the new idea of influence-character switcheroos and multiple relationships depth work, and the premise as a holistic works.

But I must confess :scream: I have not yet tackled all that hard work you put into Holistic. It intimidates me, and I’m trying to just get familiar with linear before going into that deep dark cave.

I would like to watch it again with my daughter, who is learning about Dramatica, and we can see if the points match up, finding more quotes. We can identify gists and make sure events are in the correct order.

But otherwise, these points feel right. And I know the movie probably better than I know my own story right now.

The thing about Stephen’s Logic–he’s actually into “science” (ie evaluation/reevaluation) and Logic is the direction he’s pushing Ignacio. This is a better way to explain it.

And as for the trade-off, it’s almost as if they also share the issues. She embodies the unique ability,

(in front of Encarnacion:) Nacho:
I know it is fun to wrestle. A nice pile-drive to the face; or a punch to the face; but you cannot do it because it is in the Bible not to wrestle your neighbor.

though Stephen has his own feeling(focus) vs. morality(unique ability) moment:

I thought you hated all the orphans in the whole world

Not anymore…I like them!

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This is really cool! Cannot wait to see what you find out!

I just realized how well an OS Domain of Universe works for this film. The monastery can’t afford to give Ignacio fresh ingredients to cook with, which forces him to create dishes that no one likes, only making the monastery’s dismal (and boring for the children) circumstances more prominent. I can also see the MC Domain of Psychology with Ignacio uniquely having to hide being a luchador. I am wondering about the IC Domain of Physics though. While I can see Steven illustrating that (such as him stealing the chips or him being chased Cándida, which complicates Ignacio keeping up his facade at the party since Steven is unable to support him), how does Sister Encarnación illustrate it?

Stephen is the one who gives him the idea about wrestling with him, as they wrestle over “the Lord’s chips” in the alley. He continually challenges him in light of physics. Even to climb a great mountain to get an eagle’s egg that will give him Eagle Powers. But is he an obstacle character? When they have their fight, at midpoint, logically thinking about their overwhelming odds, they give up working together so his dream can’t come about. He has to finally have faith in his dream, and start pursuing it himself without giving in to rejection (OPPOSITION) by his heroes, that he accomplishes the goal. At this point, there’s that scene where Stephen says he doesn’t hate orphans anymore, which only makes sense in light of the Goal, which fine-tunes when START kicks in.

On the other side of the coin, but also challenging him in the physics is Encarnacion. She is the one denying his physical desires, not only for her but for his wrestling. The very thing he wants to do (physically) wrestle and get married; she moves away from feeling and toward logic to persuade him to give up both ideas. She also is the inspiration for his doing it for GOD instead of just himself, doing it with MORALITY. Though he is steadfast, she influences him so he STARTS Reconsidering the “why” behind his dream.

Of course as a holistic, I believe, it’s more about balancing things. This is why they don’t get married at the end, but remain as monk and monkess. He has balanced the two things, not fully gone over to the other side. He has persuaded them to be tolerant of his dreams, even when they don’t match their own preconceptions. They have to be OPEN, they need to CONSIDER him. He also has gained respect because he brought money into the orphanage this way and can improve the life of the orphans, changing the UNIVERSE he was in for the better. Instead of watching old puppet reruns on TV, they’re traveling to exotic places with the bus he earns.

As for relationship, he and Stephen and he and Encarnacion both have relationships exploring different angles of a fixed idea, which is about getting on with accomplishing your dreams (Closure from the Setup of him as a child being forbidden from this). As they both contribute toward changing the thought (of Ignacio and others), Ignoacio shows a final OPPOSITION toward their OBLIGATIONS, and takes off his mask. By being himself OPEN he is able to change the OS environment for the orphans and for his own place at the monastery.

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Great explanation! Wow, Morality is so perfect for the IC Issue!

This makes perfect sense! Certainly helps me see the story as Holistic. Granted, I’m not very good when it comes to finding Holistic examples in stories, but you explained it really well.

I find this ironic, since I’m the queen of “trouble with Dramatica.” But when you know a story as well as my kids have ensured I know Nacho Libre, add to that a nominal understanding of Dramatica, sometimes Holistic makes sense.

What turned it into Holistic, according to Dramatica, was the subjective catalyst of Dream (instead of Hope). And the difference between these in the signposts was significant.

I failed to say, he also is tolerant of their expectations for him, so he stays as a monk. Also, this enables him to remain steadfast. He is a start-steadfast character, so he wants THEM to start understanding him. This is the balance he learns. It’s a win-win ending.

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I’m starting to get better at identifying Linear vs. Holistic in analysis. You can ask yourself whether the MC displays any linear kind of “if-then” reasoning. If not, does the IC seem to do so?

Also ask yourself if the MC tries to balance things.

I’m reading Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book right now and suspect MC (Bod) is Holistic. I could think of several times when he tries to balance things, but no if-then examples. And the signposts I picked forced Holistic which is a good sign I’m right.

Normally I wouldn’t try to storyform before finishing a book, but I read the graphic novel adaptation not very long ago which seems to follow the story to a T (makes sense considering it’s Gaiman; his writing tends to show his comic-book roots).

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Definitely on board!

It may also be worth mentioning that Ignacio being Holistic could be a major contributor for many of the film’s lackluster reviews. As @jhull said in his analysis for the film “Joker”:

"The Linear mind always struggles to empathize with a character bent on holistic processes of inequity resolution. In other words, many of the negative reviews are a result of the critic’s Linear mindset, and preference for cause and effect problem-solving.

The problem for the Linear mind is that the Holistic doesn’t instinctively recognize the presence of a problem. And this ignorance fails to motivate the Holistic to find a solution. It’s maddening to the Linear mind."


I think you’re right. The ending seems a kind of flop, instead of throwing off his shackles, he accepts being a monk. he doesn’t get the girl, not “that” way. His complaint that he will always sleep alone isn’t addressed, except that he travels to far away cool places with the kids, the bus, and the girl. But from a holistic perspective, he chose to not throw off the robe because what he really wanted was RESPECT, not marriage. Ie: “Sister and I will speak of holy things” scene or “maybe it’s time I get some new duties” scene.

The BALANCE between being a monk/being a man is what makes it a triumph. I think. But for linear either/or thinkers, it seems a cop-out, no character change, failure of sorts.

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