Napoleon Dynamite

HE’S OUT TO PROVE HE’S GOT NOTHING TO PROVE.

Based on a short subject Jared Hess made the previous year called Peluca, it basically has the same story, but Hess and his wife Jerusha expanded it into feature-length. The story is set in rural Idaho and is basically a series of episodes strung together, with Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder) at the center. He’s a geek in the classic sense of the word, with curly blonde hair, big glasses, moonboots, a vacant look on his face, his t-shirt properly tucked into his ill-fitting jeans. Hess has made the film as simple and straightforward as possible, maintaining a positive tone. There isn’t anything flashy about it; gags are set up and executed in an admirably sparse manner.

2004-U.S. 90 min. Color. Produced by Chris Wyatt, Jeremy Coon, Sean Covel. Directed by Jared Hess. Screenplay: Jared Hess, Jerusha Hess. Cast: Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite), Jon Gries (Uncle Rico), Aaron Ruell (Kip Dynamite), Efren Ramirez, Tina Majorino, Diedrich Bader.

Last word: “When my mom first saw the film at the first screening, she said, ‘Well, that was a lot of embarrassing family material.’ I come from a family of six boys, so most of what Napoleon says and does in the film is based on my five younger brothers. Most of the material in the film is things we experienced firsthand or said to each other, so it was very autobiographical. Growing up in rural Idaho totally formed the story, and I think being in college and looking back at my high school years through a different lens, we were able to find humor in very painful experiences when we were teenagers.” (Jared Hess, BuzzFeed)

 

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