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Monday, January 24, 2005
Napoleon Dynamite
I watched Napoleon Dynamite a couple of nights ago and can't stop thinking about it. Besides being one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time, and despite being about nothing in particular, it has profound depth. The movie is all about the power of irrelevance and the beauty of friendship. Napoleon Dynamite is the most unpopular, nerdy kid in the high school. It's the story of his friendship with a Hispanic new kid in town named Pedro and an outcast, marginal girl named Deb. It's a compellingly hilarious story of rejection and freedom.

The movie was written and produced by two brothers who are Mormons. As they wrote this story, they must have had in mind the thousands and thousands of kids who ride bicycles in suits and ties for two years of their life all over the world in their mission for the LDS church. To the dominant culture they seem so irrelevant. But in the end irrelevance is powerful and perhaps the most subversive force on the planet.

Anybody seen it?
posted by John David Walt | at 1/24/2005 08:55:00 PM



Blogger Fitz said...

I was turned on to this movie by my youth...they couldn't get enough of it, so one of them finally took me to see it...laughed my fool head off...I received two DVD copies of it for Christmas (only kept one)...I see it as this decade's teen movie, following the likes of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"...but I also see it as the loveable loser, unlikely winner movie...most everyone loves seeing the underdog make good; I know I sure do...the dance scene is the loser's ultimate triumph...a great movie that I know I will watch over and over...and laugh every time I do...

Don : Hey, Napoleon. What did you do last summer again?
Napoleon Dynamite : I told you! I spent it with my uncle in Alaska hunting wolverines!
Don : Did you shoot any?
Napoleon Dynamite : Yes, like 50 of 'em! They kept trying to attack my cousins, what the heck would you do in a situation like that?
Don : What kind of gun did you use?
Napoleon Dynamite : A freakin' 12-gauge, what do you think?

10:33 AM EST  
Blogger JohnDeere said...

thanks fitz. i'm thinking about the movie in terms of the power of real friendship. i spoke to a couple hundred teenagers on sunday in houston and said to them that the most significant thing they had to offer God was their friendships. Friendships are the primary vessel of the Kingdom. I think it's why Jesus sent them out 2 by 2. This creates the space for God to do something beyond what two can do. Think of Frodo and Sam-- who was the real hero? We can't be sure. How about Napoleon and Pedro and Deb? Who was the real hero? Napoleon dancing-- it was for the glory of friendship. He was dancing for Pedro. Their friendship changed the world they lived in. Have you seen the Motorcycle Diaries? It's another friendship film-- Ernesto Gueverro (sp?) and his buddy ride a broken down motorcycle across the south american continent. their lives are changed and it changes the world. anyhow-- thanks for posting. gets lonely out here.

11:20 AM EST  
Blogger brand said...

Loved this film. I have heard it heralded as an instant classic. What I loved about this movie is that it wasn't an outrageous comedy, but it was about normal life and how these hilarious charcters responded to everday occurances.
I loved the social awkwardness Napoleon possesses, and yet he still manages to befriend Pedro as a new student. Their conversations are not deep, yet they have a loyalty to each other that rival some of the greatest friendships. In one scene, Pedro allows Napoleon to dance with Deb at the school dance and in another scene, Napoleon dances in front of the entire school so Pedro's presentation will not be incomplete. Pedro never would have dreamed of asking Napoleon to do this for him; he didn't have to. Friendship like this is a precious and beautiful thing.
The rest of Napoleon and Pedro's classmates may have looked at them differently from that point on, yet Napoleon and Pedro probably were none the wiser. They may have changed the world around them, but you could almost gurantee that tomorrow, Pedro will continue to wear his wig and Napoleon will continue to draw mythical creatures in class, and their friendship will endure.

5:04 PM EST  
Blogger JohnDeere said...

very nice brand-- is that brandon as in frenzel? nice ideas here. sharp observations about friendship.

4:52 PM EST  
Blogger Nathan Smith said...

This movie was one of the funniets, and yet also cleaner movies, ever made. Having grown up as a military brat, and having to move alot, I never really felt like I fit in.

I was sort of a loner at school, with a few close friends (who were usually military kids too). I identified with this aspect of not fitting in. This is definitely a good movie for youth groups, as it pleads the case of the underdog.

3:53 PM EST  
Blogger ap said...

heck yes, i've seen it. the thing that struck me about nd is that it really starts to take on a loveable depth when you start living it...incorporating its vocabulary into your conversation; trying to think about something in a way napoleon might; maybe even running over a piece of tupperware or two like kip.

10:45 PM EST  
Blogger clave said...

JD, I love that you love ND. The movie is flippin' sweet. And even though I'm surround by teenagers yelling "get out of my life and shut up" and "but my lips hurt real bad" I still can't get enough of it.

One interesting thing I noticed about Napoleon is that he is so oblivious to how others perceive him. Whether it's to Pedro, Deb, Don, or Summer the answer he'd give to someone who'd ask what he was going to do today is "Whatever I want. Gosh!" He certainly isn't caught in the trappings of popularity!

Even when he delivered the greatest pick-up line ever in "Is that because you think you're fat....'cause you're not...you could drink whole milk if you wanted to." it was with absolute sincerity. For someone who had every reason in the world to be insecure he couldn't have given a flip..pin sweet.

11:07 AM EST  

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