Napoleon Dynamite

Napoleon Dynamite

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.


  1. John says:

    I feel the point of this movie is not to make an artistic statement, or at least that is not the main intention. Rather it is to laugh at the everyday stupidity of this group of people, who are not all that dissimilar from us. Maybe some of the humor is lost to those who did not grow up in 1980’s America, but for many of us who did… it is a riot. The story takes place in current day, but all their possessions are from the 80’s – it’s like the town that time forgot. I also find it is important to watch this movie with a large group of people who like to laugh – it makes the whole experience much more interesting. Nonetheless, this is a very polarizing film. Personally, I have found those who appreciate silliness enjoy the movie more.

  2. Lauren says:

    Stupidity has become really popular here.

    Haha! Amen to that.

    Rather it is to laugh at the everyday stupidity of this group of people, who are not all that dissimilar from us.

    I couldn’t really tell. I mean, it was an “art film”. I can never get what these “art films” are trying to say. And if the point of the movie was to laugh at other people’s stupidity, there are better, more hilarious movies or TV shows for that.

  3. Jon Alan Bird says:

    I think Napoleon Dynomite is one of the greatest movies I ever seen in my life. I think John is right, if you live in the USA in the 80’s then you get a lot more of the jokes. I was so happy when Pedro won the SGA election.

    Hey I didn’t get Oiky Doki Doc, but my tagalog is very bad. Humor in the Philippines is not the same as the USA. There are a lot of cultural differences. Some American humor has been labeled as shameful, and if that is the case, I’m the most shameful motherfucker ever, and I’m proud of it. I was fired from Patti’s Piont, in East Rizal, as a host for insulinting the guest.

  4. JJ says:

    Ya, I guess it is easier to get the inside joke of the movie if you are from the 80’s. I thought of it as a mockery of the 80’s stupidity. It is just weird that it is so dull but yet so interesting enough for me to finish the movie.

Leave a Reply