Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I've just been watching Napoleon Dynamite. I don't think I get it. Why do people love this film?

I liked the title sequence. The lat ten minutes or so so made me smile, but mostly, I really don't get it. It just left me blank and sometimes a little sad. And wanting never to live in a small town in America.

Anyone want to explain it to me?


Lauren said...

ok, so here in America we have social outcasts, like napoleon. this movie is showing their view and making fun of the other people from Iowa. (Iowa hasn't contributed much to the Union, btw)

This movie is hysterical on so many levels. First, he is so awkward. He's the anti-hero. No one is going to fantasize about napoleon. he thinks he's awesome, but he isn't. Then, they show his brother who is an even bigger loser and just as awkward. so you think "at least he isn't his brother."
But when the new kid shows up to school, you think "this guy [napoleon] is sweet." and he is.
they show the awkward girl, but she's talented at photography. a picture-geek. and she runs funny. he tells her that she doesn't need to drink low-fat milk - that's sweet in a very awkward way.
By now, the audience is empathizing with napoleon. they like him, at least.
the karate thing. omg! hysterical getting there. "my other arm." come on, funny. and that kick? what was that? his attempt at being really cool, but since he isn't cool, and not talented, they say "what a waste of time." but really they were just embarrassed.
The Soundtrack - where on earth did they find that music? it's like bad elevator music from the 60s. it's so bad, it's funny.
Lafawnduh - she's real. that's funny. She likes this misfit brother, when she is so above and out of his league. that's funny.
"build her cake or something" do guys like this really think they can get the cool girls when they don't even talk to them? well, they attempt it. do moms really make their daughters go with them even though its so not cool, yes. was the picture absolutely hideous? yes - so bad, its funny. bc you think surely napoleon is good at something...but no. he isn't.
until the end when he whips out this dance that's amazing. where'd that come from?
so napoleon becomes cool and gets his awkward gf.
pedro becomes president.
weirdo uncle goes home after napoleon stands up to him (and he finally got what was coming to him with a hit from the karate-man - admit it, you wanted to see that guy knocked around).
the brother gets his wife.

basically its a story about awkward people succeeding. classic underdog story-line. so awkward, it's funny. and I think a lot of people like it for how at one point or another they remember being awkward. another reason, people just like saying, "hey man, give me some of your tots." and "but my lips hurt real bad!" or that ridiculous sigh, and "gosh, idiot!" - people just like to quote it.

Lauren said...

oh and - stay away from small towns in america. they're scary. I never go near them.

Pig wot flies said...

I could never quite tell whether we were supposed to be laughing at the misfits or identifying with them. Which is why I found it rather sad and verging on cruel at times. I get your reading and that's what I liked about the last part, when suddenly the awkward squad get their moment of glory. But some of it was just too close to the bone for me.

Nathan said...

I think, for some reason, I was able to trust that we were supposed to like Napoleon from the start. I don't know quite how - I think partly because I WAS him at school so I immediately identified with him - but that happened. If there was any doubt in one's mind as to where the "laughing at/with" line lay, I can see how it'd be pretty uncomfortable.

It's much like how in a Christopher Guest film you enjoy it a lot more once you realise he does like the losers he creates and wants the best for them - the sympathetic ones at least.