Napoleon Dynamite

Fox Searchlight Pictures presents a film directed by Jared Hess. Written by Jared Hess and Jerusha Hess. Photographed by Munn Powell. Edited by Jeremy Coon. Music by John Swihart. Running time: 86 minutes. Rated PG (for language and thematic elements).

 

It’s been while, but I return to you with a film that is destined to be a cult hit that high schoolers of all clicks will come to love for years. In the interest of analysis lets ask the question. Why?

 

Performance. Jon Heder becomes this completely uninhibited character, who is living solely in his own reality. Are we meant to laugh at this character because he is a loser or a nerd or a dork? I have read in other reviews that he is a character we laugh at rather than with. I think that is how that particular reviewer looked at this character. Is it wrong to laugh at someone rather than with them? Well if they are not laughing then yes it’s wrong. Maybe not wrong but maybe slightly inappropriate. It all depends on what you are laughing at. I was laughing because this character is so completely removed from the reality of the world around him that he doesn’t even realize what a completely self centered narcissist he is. I’m laughing at him in the same way you’d laugh at a pretty girl who stares into a mirror for far too long just admiring herself. In the same way you’d laugh at some athlete who comes on after the game to explain how they won the game by persevering and not giving up until the fat lady sang. These types of people deserve to be laughed at. Just because one type of narcissist is less popular than another doesn’t mean we need to be sensitive towards him.

 

Another reason this film works so well is because we come to admire Napoleon by the end despite his ridiculous self image. The way he helps his friend at the talent portion of the high school elections. I ain’t never seen someone dance with that much soul and unabashed funkyness since my own auditions for Soul Train.

 

This movie is fucking hysterical and deserves a place on your shelf next to all the great John Hughes films from the eighties.

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~ by fumikaelson on October 26, 2004.

One Response to “Napoleon Dynamite”

  1. After watching this movie, I run and picked up my powerbook. to write a comment about this movie. It is amazing, the kid is an ass, but amazing he was more the hero type. I laught hard at the popular kids, because it reminded me of high school. Napoleon Dynamite is guy we should admire. LOL

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