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Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

The Story

 

Napoleon Dynamite (2004) dives into the awkward world of adolescence through the lens of its titular character, Napoleon, a socially inept teenager living in rural Idaho. The film doesn’t shy away from portraying the discomfort and struggles of navigating high school life, particularly for those who don’t fit neatly into established cliques. Napoleon’s eccentricities are accentuated by his eccentric family members: Kip, his technology-obsessed older brother, Uncle Rico, a washed-up former athlete yearning for his glory days, and their grandmother, whose broken coccyx throws the household into further disarray.

The plot unfolds around Napoleon’s attempts to navigate various challenges: befriending an immigrant student, Pedro, pursuing a shy classmate, Deb, and dealing with the constant bullying from his peers. He also gets entangled in schemes like selling dubious products with Uncle Rico and aiding Pedro’s campaign for class president. Through these experiences, the film subtly critiques societal pressures and expectations, particularly in small-town communities. It highlights the isolation and awkwardness often faced by teenagers who march to the beat of their own drum, while also injecting dark humor and witty observations into the mix.

While Napoleon Dynamite has garnered a cult following for its unique humor and relatable characters, it avoids resorting to tired stereotypes or facile jokes. Instead, it offers a genuine and sometimes uncomfortable portrayal of adolescence, inviting viewers to empathize with its protagonist’s struggles while recognizing the inherent humor and absurdity of teenage life.

The Deets

Rating: PG
Concerns: Thematic Elements, Language
Genre: Comedy
Original Language: English
Release Date (theaters): Jan 17, 2004 
Release Date (Streaming): Oct 14, 2014

Main Cast

Jon Heder as Napoleon Dynamite
Efren Ramirez as Pedro Sánchez
Tina Majorino as Deborah “Deb” Bradshaw
Aaron Ruell as Kipland Ronald “Kip” Dynamite
Jon Gries as Rico Dynamite
Haylie Duff as Summer Wheatley
Emily Kennard as Trisha Stevens
Shondrella Avery as LaFawnduh Lucas
Sandy Martin as Grandma Carlinda Dynamite
Diedrich Bader as Rex

Production & Crew

Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures, Paramount Pictures, MTV Films
Production Co: Access Films, Napoleon Pictures Limited
Director(s): Jared Hess
Producer(s): Jeremy Coon, Chris Wyatt, Sean Covel
Writer(s): Jared Hess, Jerusha Hess
Cinematography: Munn Powell
Music: John Swihart
Editor: Jeremy Coon
Hair/Makeup Lead(s): Steve Costanza (makeup), Daniel Demke (special effects)

Memorable Quotes

Kid: What are you going to do today, Napoleon?
Napoleon: Whatever I feel like I want to do. Gosh!

Kip: Napoleon, don’t be jealous that I’ve been chatting online with babes all day.

Napoleon: Tina, you fat lard. Come get some dinner!

Napoleon: Are you going to eat your tots?

Napoleon: I see you’re drinking 1%. Is that cause you think you’re fat? Cause you’re not. You could be drinking whole milk if you wanted to.

Napoleon: This probably is the worst movie ever made.

Kip: Napoleon, don’t be jealous that I’ve been chatting online with babes all day.

Uncle Rico: Napoleon looks like you don’t have a job. So why don’t you get out there and go feed Tina?
Napoleon: Why don’t you go eat a decroded piece of crap?

Napoleon: It took me like three hours to finish the shading on your upper lip. It’s probably the best drawing I’ve ever done.

Napoleon: I forgot to put in the crystals.

Uncle Rico: You might as well do something while you’re doing nothing.

Napoleon: Pedro offers you his protection.

Uncle Rico: You stop wishing and call me when you’re ready.

Napoleon: Maybe I will. Gosh!

Summer: See with me, it will be summer all year long.

Napoleon: I caught you a delicious bass.

The Trailer

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