Why I Think Napoleon Dynamite Rocks

There are a lot of reasons why I love the movie Napoleon Dynamite.

Those who hate it might find this hard to believe, but Napoleon Dynamite is, at heart, about the deep value of relationships and how they can change us. The movie uses Understatement in a major way, which I think makes it slow-paced and boring at the beginning. If you don't finish the movie, it will be hard to like it, imo.

At the beginning of the movie, it's as though the major characters are muffled. Their emotions, their expressions, even the tones of their voices contain little emotion.

This is where Irony comes into play.

Secondary characters at first appear more alive than main ones. But as the story unfolds, as conflicts are introduced and relationships forged, the primary characters become the ones I root for. And by the end of the movie, a very interesting thing happens.

The discovered relationship and connection between the main characters has changed them so deeply that they become real and rounded. Those secondary characters who seemed more relatable at the beginning are actually flat stereotypes.

I also love the element of Surprise (aka freshness). When Napoleon's brother meets the girl he's been talking to on the internet, you're in for a surprise. There's a wonderful freshness in that scene, in how their love transcends the superficiality of culture.

Besides the beasting soundtrack and fantastic use of Irony, Understatement, and Freshness, Napoleon Dynamite is a winner in my house because it takes the everyday blahness of (some people's)life and shows how friendship can change everything.

What did you think of Napoleon Dynamite? Anything to add to this? If you didn't like the movie, why not? What do you think now?


Katie Ganshert said…
I like it b/c I think it's hilarious and oh, so quotable.

"My lips hurt really bad!"
Am I sick & wrong b/c I haven't seen it? One of my dear friends from OH claimed it as her favorite.

And now you.

A must watch soon.
~ Wendy
Jessica Nelson said…
Hahahaa Katie, yeah, it is hilarious.

Not sick and wrong, Wendy, but you might be surprised. ;-)
I love this movie. I've even tried to memorize the dance at the end. lol

I like how you analyzed it. Me? I just watched it and laughed a lot! :)
Jessica Nelson said…
Hahaaa! Jessica, yes, I LOVE that part. Napoleon really comes into his own there. I had to analyze it to write my post because I wanted to know why I love it so much when others think it's stupid, and plus, I don't usually like stupid-funny movies. :-)
Linda Kage said…
Napolean Dynomite Rocks!! Loved that movie the first time I saw it and every time afterward. To quuote a review I loved, "it's simplicity is what makes it so deep."
Jessica Nelson said…
Yes, Linda!!! Good quote!
Terri Tiffany said…
Have I even seen this movie? The title is familiar---hmmm.. now I will look it up.
Erica Vetsch said…
I'll confess, I watched about ten minutes of it and turned it off. It just isn't my thing.

It is a favorite of my nephews though.
Jessica Nelson said…
I've mentioned it before. ;-)
Mary Curry said…
A teacher friend loves this movie so much and I keep meaning to watch it but...

Okay, I'm adding ND to the summer queue.
I loved this movie, and never even thought about the way you just put it. That is a BRILLIANT review! Makes me want to watch it all over again, just so I can look for everything you pointed out. :)
Melissa Jagears said…
I'm going to comment so Erica doesn't feel so alone. Your review makes me almost --almost--want to watch it over again and see if I can see any of what you just said, but I'm not sure I want to waste another 2 hours of my life again. :)
Nacho Libre, which I find on the same plane, at least had some funnies.
But ND finally became required watching because one of our pastors and the kids quote from that thing constantly.
Now I know what their quotes mean (kinda) but still don't get it. Now the Princess Bride--quotes from that movie come in handy all the time.
Jessica Nelson said…
LOL Melissa, I hear Princess Bride quotes all the time. :-) I can't ever see myself liking Nacho Libre, if that makes you feel better!

Heeheee, Anita, not brilliant of me at all, but thanks. :-)

Mary C, just remember that the movie is a little quirky and weird at first, so try to watch the whole thing. You might still not like it. :-)
Loree Huebner said…
Loved it.

"Vote for Pedro"

If I'm surfing channels and find it on, I'll leave it...no matter where it is in the movie. Very quotable.

Yeah, that and The Princess Bride.
Sandi said…
Hi Jessica, I am visiting from Catbird Scout . . . just curious! I am one who watched about ten minutes of the movie and left the room to do something else. Now that I've read your review I am curious to see what I missed! So, I think I'll have my daughter rent it and we'll spend this lazy afternoon checking it out! Glad I discovered your blog and I'm going to scroll back a few posts and read more!
Oh, how did I miss this one? Sounds great--thanks for the review!
Natalie said…
I'm not the kind of person who can watch the same movie over and over again, but Napoleon Dynamite is totally an exception to that rule. It's a delight every single time.
Jessica Nelson said…
Loree, quotable and funny! Pedro is just weird and yet so likable, right? lol

Hi Sandi,
Thanks so much for popping by. It's a movie that I feel needs to be watched all the way through in order to get it. If that makes sense? Let me know what you think. :-)

Jeanette, ditto, I'd be interested to get your opinion.

Wooohoo, Natalie! Thanks for chiming in. I agree. :-)
Diane said…
I guess I loved that it didn't need all kinds of special effects and media upgrades to bedazzle it, just great storytelling in it's simplest form. :O) A classic for sure!!!
Sarah Forgrave said…
I haven't seen it yet. Sounds like I need to look for it asap. :)
Warren Baldwin said…
I didn't like it. But, I've seen it a couple of times (at different functions, such as a youth group get-together, a camp, and even once at my house!) and must admit that I have laughed pretty hard at parts of it. And I never saw the character development and subtle plot moves like you describe here. Took a novelist to help me see that. Good review of the movie: I may just have to watch it again.
Jessica Nelson said…
Good point, Diane!

Sarah, let me know what you think. :-)

LOL Warren! There are parts that make my husband laugh but overall he thinks it's a stupid movie. If you do watch it again, I'd be interested to hear what you see.
Karen Lange said…
I've never seen it. So maybe I need to? :)
Would you believe I've never heard of this movie before? What is it rated?
this is one of my favs! my husband and i were just watching clips on youtube yesterday....about Rex Kwon Do! Forgedaboutit!

Nancy said…
Sorry I didn't see the movie. I know a lot of people at my church loved it. Next time I go get a DVD to rent, I will get this movie, just on your great recommendation alone. Good work.
Warren Baldwin said…
Jessica -
If I watch it again I'll let you know. Meanwhile, I have to go home and tell my wife and daughter I want to watch Napoleon Dynamite? They won't know what to make of that :)
Now I just have to see this movie!!!
Jessica Nelson said…
Hahaa, you guys will never trust me again if you hate it! *grin*
Jessica Nelson said…
Susan, I have to guess PG-13 because it alludes to some adult things and they're may be some cuss words...though I'm not sure, actually. I don't remember hearing any. In many ways it's a very innocent movie.
Angie Muresan said…
It is a favorite movie in out household.
Talli Roland said…
I've never seen this film, but I've heard loads of good things about it!
Unknown said…
I adored ND. I saw it three times in the theater and own it on DVD. I still quote lines from it every now and then.
Jaime Wright said…
I think Wendy and I need a movie night - I've never seen it either! :(
Deb Shucka said…
I love Napoleon Dynamite, and really enjoyed your analysis. It's a movie that kids love as well, and it always catches them off guard a bit that an old lady would find it amusing as well.

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