Thursday, February 24, 2011

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

,Cinema Sweetheart's Rating: 9 out of 10
Director: Jared Hess
Starring: Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez, Jon Gries
Rated: PG
Genre: Comedy
Runtime: 82 minutes

Napoleon Dynamite is one of those films that’s destined to be a cult classic for this generation…and it’s going to leave a lot of people scratching their heads, saying “What the heck is this??”  Napoleon Dynamite is a story without a really discernable plot.  Stuff happens, but a lot of nothing happens, too.  Sounds boring?  No, really; it’s actually amazingly funny.  Trust me on this.

Napoleon (Heder) is a socially awkward high school student living with his grandmother and older brother Kip (Aaron Ruell) in a small-town community where nothing really happens.  Then, things start to get interesting.  First, Grandma breaks her coccyx and Napoleon’s Uncle Rico (Gries) comes to stay with him and Kip.  A new student, Pedro (Ramirez) comes to the high school and decides to run for class president.  Kip, who spends his entire day “chatting online with babes” meets a girl in a chat room and things start getting “pretty serious”.  And Napoleon?  Well, he’s just caught up in it all.

This is one of those movies you have to see at least once in your life...And, then you have to see it again.  And again.  And again.  Because there is no way that you can do this movie justice on the first viewing.  Every time I see it, I find something new that I missed.  One thing to keep in mind is that this movie is incredibly dumb.  And that’s on purpose.  It’s supposed to be pointless.  But, even though it’s pointless, it’s still funny.  There’s something inherently amusing about Napoleon calling his grandma to pick him up from school because his lips are chapped, or the classic episode with the “tots,” or Napoleon’s favorite animal: the liger “It's pretty much my favorite animal. It's like a lion and a tiger mixed... bred for its skills in magic.”  This is an incredibly quotable movie, and one filled with such stupid situations and interesting characters.

I have to say that the characters are by far the best part of this film (perhaps because there is minimal plot, but most likely because they’re just so darn fascinating.  First, you have Napoleon, the freakishly awkward teenager.  There is so much that can be said about him, but I’d say “strange” about sums him up.  What makes him funny is that he is completely oblivious to just how weird he really is.  He seems himself as this awesome ninja warrior or something of the sort, when in reality, he’s an incredibly unusual breed of nerd.  Older brother Kip has no social life, and spends all his time on the computer talking to women.  Uncle Rico is living in the past, convinced that he would be the most awesome football player the world has ever know.  Pedro, the quiet transfer student decides to run for class president against the most popular girl in school.  Painfully shy Deb (Tina Majorino) is selling key chains to pay for college.  Grandma lives a double life as a crazy extreme sports woman on the dunes. 

Sadly, writing about this in a blog post does not do it justice; this is just one of those movies that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. 


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