Napoleon Dynamite

Napoleon Dynamite: follows the mundane life of a dorky student in rural Idaho over a couple of weeks… doesn’t sound gripping, and it’s not, but it’s still well worth watching. Straight from the awesome opening credits you know this has potential. Because nothing much happens in the story department it’s all down to the characters to push the film forward. Nerdy Kip, delusional uncle Rico, apathetic Pedro, coy Deb and manly Rex are all fantastic. Then there’s Napoleon. John Herder absolutely nails his character; the mannerisms, accent, attitude, partial blindness, heavy breathing and the look, especially the so-bad-they’re-good T-shirts. Everything Napoleon does is so funny because of the teenage angst oozing out of every pore – Hess & Herder have truly created one of the coolest geeks in fiction. The low-fi style and the lack of movement or structure in the story are still huge pitfalls. The elevator music is one of many nods towards ‘Welcome to the Dollhouse’, which is absolutely no bad thing. First time round I totally didn’t get this and couldn’t understand why it was a big deal, upon re-watching it several times it just gets better and better.

Score: 7/10

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11 comments
  1. just gets better every time you watch it.
    if you dont laugh when he asks: ‘Do the chickens have large talons?’ then you might want to get a funny bone transplant

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  2. I agree, the more times you watch it the better it gets.

    The dance sequence and the scenes with “time-machine” that they bought on-line crack me up every time!

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  3. Castor said:

    Don’t want to poop in anyone’s weetabix but I think this is one of the most overrated movie ever made. It’s really not all that funny and it is quite slow and boring.I never understood the whole phenomenon at the time.

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    • Boooo!! Scrape that turd out of my cereal Castor! I felt exactly that was after the first viewing but gave it another shot and it got better, one more viewing, which was even better. This was about the 5th time. My love for this has plateaud now, but it’s definitely worth another shot.

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  4. This truly is an Indie Darling. It’s a shame that the hype surrounding it turned it into something else because I think it’s happy being what it is. And Hess has a very cool style… it’s a shame he seems intent on trying to recreate this film in each of his follow-ups!

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    • Very unfortunate that he keeps getting typecast as the new Napoleon all the time. Still, with a performance this good it’s no wonder studios are wanting to re-create it.

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  5. Olive said:

    Love this film! “I caught you a delicious bass”
    Hilarious!

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  6. Gotta agree with Ross! At first it was such an awkward viewing, but upon each re-watch it gets funnier and funnier.

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  7. mcarteratthemovies said:

    The theme of “Napoleon Dynamite” seems to be that most people didn’t get it or hated it the first time they saw it, then fell hard on second viewing. Being one of those people, I feel your pain. This is an acquired taste, with its dorky comedy and “quirky” characters (LOVE Tina Majorino as Deb, and Aaron Ruell as Kip) and outlandish situations.

    One complaint I have about the film is that it has a few dark undertones that went unexplored, like the character of Uncle Rico. He’s a has-been whose glory days are over, but there’s an air of … pedophilia, maybe? about him that never sat well with me. “Napoleon Dynamite” is not a dark comedy, and the character doesn’t really gel with the rest of them.

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  8. “Did you ever take it over any sweet jumps?” I loved it on the first watch. The lack of story movement is the whole point. Its one of those films you either get or you don’t get. I don’t get ‘Wedding Crashers’

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  9. Agree with you on this one, it took me a couple of watches to “get” this film, these days I laugh my ass off every time I see it. In fact I think I might watch it tonight,.

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