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  #1  
Old 03-08-2005, 04:38 PM
Merl Minnozza Merl Minnozza is offline
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Why does everyone like Napoleon Dynamite?

Last night I went over to a friend who was home from A.F. basic training and I had not seen him in a while. We had nothing to do, so we watched the DVD of Napoleon Dynamite. I had never seen it until then, but I remember when everyone was talking about it all the time. I vowed I wouldn't see it; I was convinced that since everyone was talking about it, and everyone is usually an ass, it had to be bad.

Well, it wasn't HORRIBLE. But I didn't like it much and don't understand what all the fuss was about. Sure, it had some giggly moments; no real belly laughs. The only thing that really made me laugh was when Rico takes the model sailing ship out of the box and says "I bet you don't have one of these!" Aside from that the humor was just too "random" and lacked any buildup or timing.

Was it just me or is Napoleon, the title character, one of the most UNLIKEABLE characters ever? I found myself wishing he had attended my high school so I could have kicked his ass. He was so irritating; instead of being a likeable, polite geek, he came off as an arrogant, pushy jerk. His constant open-mouthed dumbfounded look really got to me, as did the way he blurted out his phrases. What was so great about this guy? Was he supposed to be "so nerdy that he's funny?" That's not how he seemed to me. Many people describe this movie as "the life of a typical geek," but the only thing about Napoleon Dynamite that's geeky is the way he looks. He sounds and acts like a plain old jerk.

Kip, another major character, was also not that funny. How many times has this stereotype been hashed out? He's a meek, wimpy doofus who eventually adopts gangsta-style dress after hooking up with his online lover. Ha ha ha, that's one thing that never gets old, a dorky white guy dressing like a gangsta. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard since "Bringing Down The House."

Uncle Rico was probably my favorite character, partially because he brought back childhood memories of my dad (not his behavior, just the way he looked.) (And no he's not dead or anything, he just doesn't have that 70's hair and porno mustache anymore.)

No, Napoleon Dynamite was not the worst movie I've ever seen. I wouldn't even call it a bad movie, since I liked the cinematography and nice outdoor shots. It managed to capture a pretty nice atmosphere. But I wasn't really entertained by it and I wouldn't describe it as a "funny" movie.

I'm not here to bash people who like it, nor am I here to criticize the movie any more than I already have. I'm not one of the jerkoffs on IMDB. What I'm looking for is insight, from fans of the movie or from people who did not like it, into its popularity. It has been embraced by the local hipster culture here and I'd like to know why they are so very deeply in love with Napoleon Dynamite.
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  #2  
Old 03-08-2005, 05:37 PM
xizor xizor is offline
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I agree with you. On a scale of 1-10 I would give the movie a 6. Not a bad movie, but not great either.

However, I cannot get the damn thing out of my mind!
I quote stuff from it, because most of it is so random it can be uttered anywhere ("Are you drinking low-fat milk because you think you're fat?", "You have to get your gear out of my locker, there is no room for my nunchucks")

And when I do boring but detailed stuff, like soldering, I replay whole scenes in my head. ("This cow here, she has like 5 utters. I think a good milk cow should have, like four").

I liken it to a bad pop song. You don't like the song, but you remember all the words anyway.
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Old 03-08-2005, 06:17 PM
audiobottle audiobottle is offline
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Let me be the first to say: Because it's freakin' sweet.

Seriously, though, what appeals to me is the fact that they were able to make a movie that centers around a very unremarkable series of events. You can argue that the characters grow or change by the end of it, but as I saw it, it was such a tiny change it was hardly worth mentioning. It didn't make Napoleon or his brother or the girl change into the most popular kids in school; it didn't make everyone suddenly realize that "it's all about being yourself"; instead you saw a kid that many people can either identify with or knows somebody just like him doing his thing and not really giving a rat's patootie what anybody else thinks.
And the quotes. Everybody who's seen it can quote at least one or two lines. That's always a great way to gain popularity as a movie, since you have to see it if you want to know what everyone's talking about.
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Old 03-08-2005, 06:50 PM
Miller Miller is online now
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Because of the dancing.
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  #5  
Old 03-08-2005, 07:20 PM
Chastain86 Chastain86 is offline
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I liked it in a "I knew people like that" kind of way.

You're right in using the term "random". It certainly felt, to me, like a snapshot of what life is really like in a small town that doesn't progress past 15 years prior. Many small towns are like that, and I could definitely identify with it.

I also amused me because Napoleon himself doesn't progress through any sort of character arc whatsoever. He's the exact same nerdy loser he was when the movie began; he learns nothing about himself, and changes nothing. You know -- sort of like small town life itself.

I don't love the movie, but I do appreciate it for what it is.
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Old 03-08-2005, 07:21 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiobottle
Seriously, though, what appeals to me is the fact that they were able to make a movie that centers around a very unremarkable series of events.
That's hardly unusual. European filmmakers have been doing it for years.
Quote:
And the quotes. Everybody who's seen it can quote at least one or two lines. That's always a great way to gain popularity as a movie, since you have to see it if you want to know what everyone's talking about.
I don't recall a particularly memorable quote in the film. Certainly nothing truly funny.

It wasn't bad, but I'd only give it a six out of ten.
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  #7  
Old 03-08-2005, 07:29 PM
dare_devil007_ dare_devil007_ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merl Minnozza
<snip>

Was it just me or is Napoleon, the title character, one of the most UNLIKEABLE characters ever? I found myself wishing he had attended my high school so I could have kicked his ass. He was so irritating; instead of being a likeable, polite geek, he came off as an arrogant, pushy jerk. His constant open-mouthed dumbfounded look really got to me, as did the way he blurted out his phrases. What was so great about this guy? Was he supposed to be "so nerdy that he's funny?" That's not how he seemed to me. Many people describe this movie as "the life of a typical geek," but the only thing about Napoleon Dynamite that's geeky is the way he looks. He sounds and acts like a plain old jerk...
Aww...I think the opposite. I wish Napoleon was a classmate of mine just so I could be his friend. I found him really funny because he just so random and I appreciated how it took place in a small town, just because I live in such a big city. The movie was very different from other teen movies I've watched and it was very clean (as in, very little sexual references and swearing), so I appreciated that, too.
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  #8  
Old 03-08-2005, 07:30 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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6/10. Not too far off from what "the masses" say: 7.2 on IMDB.

When people ask me if I thought it was a good movie, I have to say... Well I don't know if I'd call it "good", I just kind of liked it in a whacky kind of way.

What was with the llama....?
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  #9  
Old 03-08-2005, 07:35 PM
Dr. Rieux Dr. Rieux is offline
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I gave it a 3. It was as if people without any senses of humor or taste (or rhythm) tried to make a Coen Brothers movie. I'm glad I didn't pay to see it.
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  #10  
Old 03-08-2005, 07:41 PM
Brutus Brutus is offline
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I was expected to laugh myself to death, given the reviews I read. I chuckled here and there, but the movie felt like they were trying to make a campy-cult-classic sort of thing. Trying too hard, at that.

Eh, to each their own.
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  #11  
Old 03-08-2005, 07:47 PM
shy guy shy guy is offline
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I'd only give it about a 6, too. Not a bad movie, but if so many people hadn't gone gaga over it, I'd probably have forgotten it pretty quickly.

The fact that Napoleon is a huge jerk doesn't exactly help it, although I like Pedro a lot.

I think it was a movie that tried way too hard to be "wacky", and that left a bad taste in my mouth.
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Old 03-08-2005, 08:27 PM
Casey1505 Casey1505 is offline
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I rented it over the weekend, and watched it Saturday. It was OK, some parts cracked me up (the farmer and the cow in the field, the time machine test, and Pedro's hair after he went home sick, for example), but overall, I'd go with the 6 out of 10 rating. I'd watch it again if it was on, but I wouldn't go out of my my way to arrange a viewing.

My 5 year old has watched it every day, sometimes back to back to back, since Saturday. I think that speaks volumes about it's appeal. Gosh!
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Old 03-08-2005, 08:55 PM
EvilHamsterOnCrack EvilHamsterOnCrack is offline
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Most of the people I know that really love this movie are the same type of people who are the "popular" crowd at school. I think they see napolean as all those nerds they laugh at at school, and then laugh at him on screen.
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  #14  
Old 03-08-2005, 09:22 PM
astorian astorian is offline
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"Everyone"? Hardly. "Napoleon Dynamite" is only a cult hit. Take a truly random survey, and you'll find that the overwhelming majority of people have never seen it, and a huge percentage have never even heard of it.

That said, the few people who DO like the movie tend to like it in a big way, just as "Monty Python & the Holy Grail" fans did a generation ago.
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Old 03-08-2005, 09:54 PM
Zebra Zebra is offline
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I hated the movie. Well not because I thought it was bad but I know little towns like that and I just felt the utter hopelessness of those kids situations. That girl could sell beeds to every person in town and she'll never make enough to escape.

The dancing was funny though. My brother(in-law) works in a shop and makes oil rig parts. It is a heavy duty machine shop. All the guys there love this movie and it kind of cracks me up to think that they are all going around say "What ever I WANT to do today!" "Gosh!"


So

Get your own tots!
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  #16  
Old 03-08-2005, 10:03 PM
CynicalGabe CynicalGabe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck
I don't recall a particularly memorable quote in the film. Certainly nothing truly funny.
I disagree. I think it's pretty much my favorite movie.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brutus
I chuckled here and there, but the movie felt like they were trying to make a campy-cult-classic sort of thing.
Like anyone could ever know that!
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  #17  
Old 03-08-2005, 10:47 PM
Gangster Octopus Gangster Octopus is offline
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The first time I saw it in the theater I enjoyed it. Then, when I watched a second time on DVD I was bored to tears.
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  #18  
Old 03-08-2005, 11:46 PM
Cat Fight Cat Fight is offline
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Uhhh, it's only like the best movie I know. Okay, so all the quoting and gushing over it can be a bit of a turn off, but I honestly think it's merited. A real gem of a movie, one of the funniest and sweetest I've seen all year. Why should movie geeks always be saddled with low self-esteem or a pygmalion transformation scene? I love character-based quirky comedies like this and Welcome to the Dollhouse, but I can understand why some people just didn't go for it. Hey, some people came away from Ghost World thinking its main characters were self-centred snobs who should just cheer up, gosh! Different strokes, people. Especially when it comes to comedies.
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Old 03-09-2005, 12:07 AM
torie torie is offline
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Originally Posted by Cat Fight
Hey, some people came away from Ghost World thinking its main characters were self-centred snobs who should just cheer up, gosh!
Ooh! Ooh! Me! ME! I HATED that movie. The only character I didn't want to end up under the wheels of a bus was Steve Buschemi.
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Old 03-09-2005, 12:35 AM
Foible Foible is offline
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I liked it because it was diferent. Too many movies now just fall into the same basic formulas. Even the foreign films have their own formulas, it just takes a while to learn what they are. The race for class president was almost a teen movie cliche but unlike every other high school election ever filmed, this one didn't mean anything.

I just watched "Kitchen Stories" tonight. This is another quirky movie that had me engrossed.
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Old 03-09-2005, 01:16 AM
scotandrsn scotandrsn is online now
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My wife put it on her Netflix queue, and I was not looking forward to it. All the ads I had seen made it look stupid to me. So I was really surprised to find how much I enjoyed it.

It's an absurdist look at the suburban high school experience. Even the climactic sequence comes out of nowhere, as if to say: Look! Here's your teen movie triumphant moment, where the snobby kids get their comeuppance, but it doesn't make any more sense than the rest of the whole thing. And not making any sense at all is what suburban high school, and the entire social world that springs up around it, is very good at.
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  #22  
Old 03-09-2005, 01:30 AM
supervenusfreak supervenusfreak is offline
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Let me preface this saying that in general, I really love small quirky independant movies. I really do. A couple of friends had recommended this movie, after seeing it in the theater, so I added it to my Netflix list. Was looking forward to seeing it. When the movie started, I thought "Oh cool. A new take on 'Sixteen Candles' from the geek's view. Boy was I wrong. This movie blows. BIG TIME. After about 45 minutes I turned the sucker off and mailed it back.
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Old 03-09-2005, 03:01 AM
blowero blowero is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Fight
Uhhh, it's only like the best movie I know. Okay, so all the quoting and gushing over it can be a bit of a turn off, but I honestly think it's merited. A real gem of a movie, one of the funniest and sweetest I've seen all year. Why should movie geeks always be saddled with low self-esteem or a pygmalion transformation scene? I love character-based quirky comedies like this and Welcome to the Dollhouse, but I can understand why some people just didn't go for it. Hey, some people came away from Ghost World thinking its main characters were self-centred snobs who should just cheer up, gosh! Different strokes, people. Especially when it comes to comedies.
Wow, exactly what I was thinking. If you didn't get Napolean Dynamite, I'd be willing to bet you didn't get Welcome to the Dollhouse or Ghost World either. All of these movies eschewed the formula that says the misfit character HAS to be sympathetic and likable.

I think people are reading too much into the movie. It's just a series of scenes that happen to this nerdy character. If you didn't find the character funny, then I don't really know how to explain why he was funny. Different strokes, I guess. The OP seemed to be annoyed by him, which really I think was the whole point. He's supposed to be annoying. It rather reminds me of people who dislike the Diane Chambers character on Cheers because she's annoying. Well she's supposed to be.

Napolean Dynamite wasn't perfect; it certainly had gags that fell flat, but I enjoyed it a lot. I remember seeing previews for it and laughing, but thinking there's no way it will work for an entire feature-length movie. But I honestly think it did. I felt entertained to the point that at the end, I was surprised that it was over already.
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  #24  
Old 03-09-2005, 04:18 AM
Ephemera Ephemera is offline
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I hated it, personally.

Based on the word of mouth, reviews I'd read, and the synopsis of the film, I expected to like it because, more often than not, I like quirky comedies as I have and odd sense of humor myself. I couldn't have been more wrong.. I don't think I laughed more than three or four times during the entire film and wound up fast-forwarding through bits of it as well, something I almost never do.

On a scale of 1-10, I'd give it a 2 or a 3.

And for reference, since it's being compared to it, I'd give Ghost World a 5.
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Old 03-09-2005, 06:01 AM
Biffy the Elephant Shrew Biffy the Elephant Shrew is online now
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I love Ghost World. I only saw Welcome to the Dollhouse once, when it first came out on video, but I remember liking it (except for the ending, which I seem to remember as being one of those "wait--that's it?" endings). I didn't like Napoleon Dynamite much at all. The bit with the tater tots was funny. Maybe 5 out of 10.
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Old 03-09-2005, 06:18 AM
Caprese Caprese is offline
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I enjoyed Ghost World. I appreciated Welcome to the Dollhouse.
I could see either of those movies again.
When it comes to Napoleon Dynamite, the best part was the opening credits. Yeah, some bits were quite funny (did laugh out loud at the time machine scene), many fell flat, and I was fairly underwhelmed. Don't care to see it again.

I don't think that people are necessarily reading too much into the movie; to me it's more that for some viewers, the characters are fun to laugh at and easy to reproduce the next day at work or school. Artless but still entertaining.

But for me the movie is like a bag of potato chips (or a plate of tater tots); you consume it and it feels like a bunch of yucky empty calories. Just kind of a waste.
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Old 03-09-2005, 06:56 AM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blowero
Wow, exactly what I was thinking. If you didn't get Napolean Dynamite, I'd be willing to bet you didn't get Welcome to the Dollhouse or Ghost World either. All of these movies eschewed the formula that says the misfit character HAS to be sympathetic and likable.
I loved "Ghost World." I hated "Napoleon Dynamite."

Whatever you think about Napoleon the character, the movie simply is not very funny. There's a few decent jokes - I agree with the consensus that the time machine scene is a laugh, and the exchange when they're watching the worst video ever made is funny too - but other than that the movie plods along and has no sense of comic timing. I don't think it would be funny even if Napoleon was sympathetic.

I don't buy the apologist line that you have to "get" the character to get the movie, and that those who don't like it must not "Get" it. This is the standard apologist line for shitty movies; "well, you just don't GET it!" (See: Verhoven, Paul.) Everyone GETS Napoleon; he's an unlikeable spaz. (In the pantheon of high school archetypes, Napoleon is not a geek or a nerd. He's a spaz.) Everyone knew a spaz in high school. Anyway, if you have to explain a joke, it's not funny.

It is, as has already been pointed out, a movie that was specifically designed to be a "cult favaourite," and it comes out feeling like it. Phony as hell.
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Old 03-09-2005, 06:57 AM
Freejooky Freejooky is offline
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You've got to be kidding me - the mere concept of anyone comparing the contrivance that is Napoleon Dynamite to the incredible writing and execution of Ghost World and Welcome to the Dollhouse makes me want to cut my own throat.

To answer the OP, the reason that everyone likes Napoleon Dynamite is that everything about the movie tells them to like it. The movie practically screams "I'm a cult movie! I'm going to be your new favorite cult movie!" to the point where they may as well have put a banner saying just that in the opening credits. Everythign about the film is affected or contrived to get that very response - from the self-consciously "random" humor to the hypnotic catchphrases ("if we do enough close-ups of Napoleon saying them while a needle scratch makes the soundtrack drop out, people will start repeating them!").

Whereas any legitimate cult movie attains its status naturally, "Napoleon Dynamite" is a prepackaged movie with "cult" status built-in.
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Old 03-09-2005, 07:09 AM
Trunk Trunk is offline
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Nappy D is a weird type of movie.

I think I might have watched the whole thing without laughing and then when the credits rolled, I thought, "that was a pretty damn funny movie."

I just thought Nap was a unique, complete, believable, humorous character. If he was just funny quotes and funny hair, it would have been worse, but seeing him act with his grandmother, and brother and uncle and the llama really helped define him. I'd ALMOST compare him to "The Dude" from "The Big Lebowski".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merl Minnozza
The only thing that really made me laugh was when Rico takes the model sailing ship out of the box and says "I bet you don't have one of these!"
I thought the funniest part was right after that when the woman shields her mouth and whispers to her husband, "Ah wawnt thayut."
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Old 03-09-2005, 07:14 AM
Brendan Donovan Brendan Donovan is offline
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I like it because its funny OK...GOSH!
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Old 03-09-2005, 07:29 AM
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I share the OP's confusion at the inexplicable reverence some have for this low budget B movie.

Those who compare it to a good movie, like Ghost World, or a truly kick-ass and well-written movie, like The Big Lebowski, please step back and reconsider just how terrible the bad acting is by everyone. And just the whole cloying contrived-ness of the entire exercise. How forced and wooden those "clever-cutesy" moments are.

Sure it is nice to see something different and not made by Hollywood, but if I wanted to see a high school movie, most of the existing genre is far better. Fast Times at Ridgemont High, for example.
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Old 03-09-2005, 07:52 AM
audiobottle audiobottle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck
That's hardly unusual. European filmmakers have been doing it for years.
I don't recall a particularly memorable quote in the film. Certainly nothing truly funny.

It wasn't bad, but I'd only give it a six out of ten.
I didn't mean to imply that this was some never before heard of feat. It's just a feature I enjoy in movies and seeing it in this one was appealing to me. As far as quotes go, forgive me for my hyperbole; I should have said, "Many people are able to quote something from the movie, whether exactly or paraphrased, that other people, who have also seen the movie, are able to recognize."
The OP wanted to know what the appeal of the movie was. It was far from my favorite movie, but I thoroughly enjoyed it for my above reasons.
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Old 03-09-2005, 07:55 AM
Indygrrl Indygrrl is offline
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I think Napoleon Dynamite is the victim of too much hype. From what a lot of people have said, they heard all about it, then didn't see what was so funny.

I saw it not knowing anything about it. It took a minute to see where it was coming from, then my fiance and I laughed all the way through. We also bought the DVD, which we've watched a bunch already.

Ftr, I also loved Ghost World and liked Welcome to the Dollhouse. ND is not Ghost World quality, but it's still frickin' sweet.
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Old 03-09-2005, 07:57 AM
audiobottle audiobottle is offline
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Ugh, sorry for the snark. It's early and nothing's going right at work.
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  #35  
Old 03-09-2005, 08:33 AM
UncleRojelio UncleRojelio is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merl Minnozza
I don't think I've ever laughed so hard since "Bringing Down The House."
Nuff said.
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  #36  
Old 03-09-2005, 09:31 AM
Hampshire Hampshire is offline
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I couldn't tell you why my teenage nieces and nephews like it.
For me, who experienced high school in the mid 80s, it was a satirical flashback of a lot of situations and characters that I could relate to. It made me laugh because it reflected the fact that if you could look back at your high school years, everyone from the geeks, to the jocks, to the popular girls, to the bullies, all looked goofy in their own way. But they were all in their own little worlds thinking that whatever they were doing at the time was pretty cool.
Who hasn't seen any of the following:

-Before the popularity of cordless phones, the 20' long phone cord.
-Kids who thought the height of cool was ninjas, nun-chucks, and bo-staffs
-Going off of wood board / cinder block jumps on bikes
-Thinking you can make money by selling door to door
-Really bad drawings by kids who think they can draw (aka 4-H club winners at our state fair)
-Lame speech and mis-pronunciation of words by the popular girl in school
-Jock guys who for the most part roll their eyes and ignore the geeks (not terrorize them like pop-culture would have you believe)
-Moon boots
-Practicing "dance moves" badly in the privacy of your own bedroom

It just felt a lot more real than some John Hughes film were everyone has big houses, cool cars, the jocks are assholes, the geeks are really the cool ones, and everyone has witty lines to say.

If you think your high school experience was more like Sixteen Candles or Fast Time at Ridgemont High your delusional. Go look through your old yearbooks and have a good laugh at everyone who took themselves so seriously.
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Old 03-09-2005, 09:34 AM
audiobottle audiobottle is offline
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You know, the odd thing was, during the opening credits they show Napoleon's school ID card and I'm pretty sure it said 2003-04 as the year. I remember being really confused because I had assumed the movie took place in the 80s or so.
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Old 03-09-2005, 09:37 AM
Agrippina Agrippina is offline
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Originally Posted by audiobottle
You know, the odd thing was, during the opening credits they show Napoleon's school ID card and I'm pretty sure it said 2003-04 as the year. I remember being really confused because I had assumed the movie took place in the 80s or so.
I've been told that there are some small towns out there that seem to have this feeling that they're still stuck twenty years behind. Never having lived in a small town, I can't confirm this.
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Old 03-09-2005, 09:39 AM
Ephemera Ephemera is offline
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It's set in the modern day -- the backwardness of it is because it's in rural Idaho.
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  #40  
Old 03-09-2005, 09:42 AM
Stringer Stringer is offline
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I think the strange thing about Napoleon Dynamite is that it's a lot more fun to quote it afterwards with your friends, than it is to watch the movie.

I watched the movie alone and thought it was pretty stupid, but later when I was quoting it with my friends and coworkers, it was pretty funny.
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Old 03-09-2005, 10:11 AM
Indygrrl Indygrrl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aesiron
It's set in the modern day -- the backwardness of it is because it's in rural Idaho.
I've also heard that it's a movie made by Mormons for Mormons. Thus, no cursing, etc. in the movie. You might have to look that up, but I'm pretty sure it's legit. I was told by a Mormon friend that that's how they really talk and dress in places heavily populated by Mormons (such as Idaho).
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  #42  
Old 03-09-2005, 10:12 AM
bump bump is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aesiron
It's set in the modern day -- the backwardness of it is because it's in rural Idaho.
Actually, my first comment to my girlfriend after we watched this was "I'm surprised the State of Idaho isn't suing the filmmakers for defamation.". I mean, that movie makes Idaho look like the most ass-backward, jerkwater place on the planet, and I can't imagine that it's really anywhere near that bad.

Hell, a friend of mine in college came from a small town (~1000 or so) in rural north-central Iowa, and his 1993 high school year book pictures were about where Houston high schools in 1989 had been in terms of haircuts and clothing, not mid-70s!

My guess is that the movie was aimed at the same people(now 28-35) that the movies like "The Breakfast Club" and "Sixteen Candles" were aimed at, but somewhat updated, and that's why it was so anachronistic.

As for Napoleon, how old was he supposed to be? If he was supposed to be 15 and a freshman, then the fascination with nunchuks and stuff like that would have been about right. If he was supposed to be 17 and a senior, then he was pretty immature.
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  #43  
Old 03-09-2005, 10:21 AM
Miller Miller is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiobottle
You know, the odd thing was, during the opening credits they show Napoleon's school ID card and I'm pretty sure it said 2003-04 as the year. I remember being really confused because I had assumed the movie took place in the 80s or so.
Nope. The skeevy uncle was in high school in the early eighties. His wife left him because he wouldn't stop living in 1981. Plus, they've got internet scams (the time machine) and chatrooms (where Napoleon's brother meets his girlfriend).

Incidentally, try entering "Napoleon Dynamite" into the search engine at the IMDB, and look at what shows up under "Other Results." I found it very surprising.
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  #44  
Old 03-09-2005, 10:41 AM
Anastasaeon Anastasaeon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bump
Actually, my first comment to my girlfriend after we watched this was "I'm surprised the State of Idaho isn't suing the filmmakers for defamation.". I mean, that movie makes Idaho look like the most ass-backward, jerkwater place on the planet, and I can't imagine that it's really anywhere near that bad.
Naturally, YMMV, but several friends of my husband and mine are from that town (Preston, is it?) in Idaho - a co-worker actually knows Jon Heder personally and went to school with him - and all of them find this movie hilarious. They say that's what life is like there, but "exactly". Myself, I can't say, since I've never been there, so this is just second hand information.

I love Napoleon Dynamite, and my husband just got the DVD for his birthday. He, his younger brother, and myself all died laughing at it, while his father kind of snerked at it, but kept flapping his hands at the TV and leaving the room, saying it just frustrated him to watch it. I rate it 8/10 - "acquired taste".

* I apologise for any spelling or grammatical errors in this post, as I just got off the phone with about half of my family and their quaint regional dialect and I'm still trying to wake up after only a couple hours' sleep... each time I look over my post, I get a vague feeling that there's something not quite right, and I'm certain I've made some horrendous grammatical errors, but I'm too foggy to quite figure it all out. So, here I post, with regrets and much love. Please forgive my sins this one time. Head full of pudding, and all that.
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  #45  
Old 03-09-2005, 10:46 AM
Stonebow Stonebow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indygrrl
I was told by a Mormon friend that that's how they really talk and dress in places heavily populated by Mormons (such as Idaho).
That's just sad. All through the movie, I was wondering whether the 'clever twist' was that everyone is the film was actually retarded, or stoned, or somesuch. Now i know the awful truth...*sigh*
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  #46  
Old 03-09-2005, 10:59 AM
plnnr plnnr is offline
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The movie is really big with the kids who think shopping at "Hot Topic" makes them cool...like my 13 year old step-daughter. I keep trying to tell her that being different, just like everyone else, doesn't make you any different, but its like trying to talk to a...well...a 13 year old girl.

The commentary is pretty good though - particularly when you realize that the actor playing ND was 24 at the time.
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  #47  
Old 03-09-2005, 11:10 AM
the keek the keek is offline
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Checking in from IDAHO

On Christmas day my son called me from Germany and told me I HAD to watch this movie. He thought it was so stereotypical that it was hilarious. We live in a small town (not as small as Preston though) about 80 miles from where this was filmed and some neighbors have relatives that are extras in the movie. I think people around here, especially those in their late teens and early twenties like this film because of the memories they have of what life was like in the late 80's, early 90's when they were kids. The sign language presentations, the dance (drill) team/cheerleaders, although they didn't bob their heads nearly enough, the clothing style, Grandma going to the Sand Dunes, the lanyards, even Tina, we relate to all of this so well and it's fun to laugh at the way things use to be even if it is suppose to take place now. I had the feeling that the guys who wrote it came from somewhere right around here and were embellishing childhood memories with a quirky plot. I think I remember that they went to school at BYU so that brings the Mormoness into play but I don't think it's a "Mormon" movie. Anyway, they had a Napoleon Dynamite day at the high school here during spirit week recently and the word sweet is in constant use again. I thought the movie was good for a laugh but didn't love it as much as my kids seem to. And yeah, some people do talk like that but not, of course, everyone.
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  #48  
Old 03-09-2005, 11:28 AM
WhiteyFoo WhiteyFoo is offline
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I rented the movie on iControl a week ago or so. Watched it the whole way through. Didn't really see what the big deal was. I did identify with ND, but mostly because he was alot like I was in Middle School. And I didn't really like it (the identifying). I did laugh at a few parts though, but didn't think it was as cool as everyone made it out to be.

Then Ms. Whiteyfoo decided to watch it, and having nothing to do, I sat down and watched it with her. That was a damn funny movie. I don't know why I liked it so much better the second time. Maybe I wasn't cringing inside as much. Maybe I was able to concentrate on the script. I have no idea, but I laughed...alot.
She thought it was funny immediatly. She was never one of the uncool kids, so she didn't identify with ND (or any other character). She was one of the Cool kids when she was in school. So I'd guess that has something to do with your perception of the movie.

Overall though, it wasn't the best movie ever, nor was it the worst. It's slightly above average. 8/10.
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  #49  
Old 03-09-2005, 12:30 PM
blowero blowero is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
I loved "Ghost World." I hated "Napoleon Dynamite."

Whatever you think about Napoleon the character, the movie simply is not very funny. There's a few decent jokes - I agree with the consensus that the time machine scene is a laugh, and the exchange when they're watching the worst video ever made is funny too - but other than that the movie plods along and has no sense of comic timing. I don't think it would be funny even if Napoleon was sympathetic.
I don't remember Ghost World having a lot of big yucks in it either. It's not that kind of movie.
Quote:
I don't buy the apologist line that you have to "get" the character to get the movie, and that those who don't like it must not "Get" it.
I don't think I actually said that. I said if you don't get it (e.g. the OP who wonders why the main character is unlikable), then you probably wouldn't get those other two movies.

If you do get it, and still don't like it, well then we'll have to agree to disagree. It's not "Gone With the Wind", but I thought it was an entertaining movie.
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  #50  
Old 03-09-2005, 01:13 PM
scout1222 scout1222 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilHamsterOnCrack
Most of the people I know that really love this movie are the same type of people who are the "popular" crowd at school. I think they see napolean as all those nerds they laugh at at school, and then laugh at him on screen.
Au contraire, mon frere. I think one of the reasons I liked the movie so much was that I was NOT popular in high school(I'm of course wildly popular now at 31, naturally...pshaw). I got shunned like Napoleon, Pedro and whatserfacewiththesleeves, so I could relate to them. My laughter was not AT anyone, I thought things were genuinely funny.

Of course, having said that, I don't particularly care if anyone else likes it or doesn't. Hell, I hated the first LOTR movie and refuse to see the other 2, and those are movies that people can't shut up about. (This is actually a really HUGE pet peeve of mine - people's opinions differ, get over it. You don't have to like it or even understand it, but it doesn't make them idiots or freaks. Usually. ) I have my copy of ND on DVD, and I'll probably watch the shit out of it. You don't have to.
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