I heard about Napoleon Dynamite during my vacation in the States last summer from some news thing I stumbled upon while channel surfing. The reporter was saying how this movie made being dorky the “in” thing in some American high schools and naturally, that made me curious. Not curious enough to get my own copy of the movie though, but if I could’ve seen it for free I would have (I was already low on dollars and I didn’t think that my PC could play foreign DVDs. I just found out very recently that it can. Had I known that while I was in the States, I would’ve hoarded all the cheaper DVDs at Costco).
Anyway, I did get around to seeing Napoleon Dynamite for free last Friday from a friend who did buy the DVD in the States. Here’s what I think of the movie in four words: I don’t get it.
Watching Dynamite was like being an audience member of some world-famous starving painter who’s supposed to be a real artist and all. I’m sitting there, expecting the dude come up a gorgeous landscape or horses or some comprehensable image of sorts. But to my dismay, the artist starts drawing all these lines, geometric figures, and splashing random drops of paint on the canvas. The audience sits in awed silence. I’m staring at the guy with knitted eyebrows. Two hours later he’s done, exhausted, and then he proudly calls his mess on canvas an “art piece”. The audience members claps, throws roses at him, and discusses among themselves about what a masterpiece the painting he is and how the guy must be a fricking genius to have thought of such a thing. Everybody leaves to have cocktails with the artist except me, because I’m still sitting on my chair, staring at the painting with a confused “huh?” expression on my face.
Yes, that’s exactly what watching Napoleon Dynamite felt like for me. Okay, maybe the dry, blase-ness of the characters, and the events that came from out of nowhere was supposed to be some artistic statement of sorts. But I didn’t get it. I couldn’t even relate to any of the characters because they were either too weird, too stupid, too dull, or all three. Neither did I feel sorry for them. Whenever Napoleon did something, I felt the same kind of amusement I get from watching the most socially-awkward guy at school interact with more “normal” people in class. It’s hardly even amusement, really; I felt more embarassed for the guy than anything else.
My rating? 1/5 (I was supposed to give it a 0, but I thought the soundtrack was great). I have no idea what the American youth sees in Napoleon Dynamite, but whatever it is I suppose it’s better than Britney Spears. In any case, I am so glad I didn’t pay for the DVD.