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Napoleon Dynamite

Napoleon Dynamite

Just follow your heart. That’s what I do.

After many people telling me to see the film and few people describing it much, I finally saw Napoleon Dynamite. Well… It’s an odd film that I enjoyed far more than I thought I would or maybe than I even should. There isn’t a lot to the film, not much dialogue or plot, but a lot of character. I laughed out loud many, many times while watching the film. Then I watched it again and laughed again. The tone is odd with an 80s feel, but it is contemporary with characters that seem to be stuck in the 80s. In a very odd way I identified with Napoleon and the high school scene. I don’t think that I was as quite as much of a misfit as the guy in the film, but there were elements.
Jared Hess directs Jon Heder as Napoleon and through most of the film you aren’t sure if there is a cruelty to the way that the characters are set up and treated. But I got the sense that the actors and crew knew what they were doing and hit the tone just right. It’s in the territory that the Coen brothers charted in Raising Arizona and a less intellectual neighbourhood than that explored by Wes Anderson.
Napoleon Dynamite is set in odd emotional space in high school where you aren’t sure what you are supposed to do and how you fit in to the world. Nobody understands you and you’re really interested in science fiction or computers and you just want to drive your bike over sweet jumps or use computers… but that’s getting a bit too autobiographical. The film triggered odd memories in me in my junior high and high school days. Once I quickly drove my bike up to the top of a snowbank at the end of my street and then flew off the top into the muddy snow below. It’s something that makes sense at the time, but looking at it from some distance makes it seem strange. That’s how Napoleon Dynamite works and I liked being in that world for a while.

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