10 Years a Knave

It’s been 10 years since the shock success of Napoleon Dynamite, a movie etched into history with its dry memorable humour and weird dialogue but most importantly the creation of the comedic icon: Napoleon Dynamite.

 Not even the creators predicted the success of this movie, which was driven mainly by the acting abilities of Jon Heder, can you believe these cheapskates paid him only $1000 for a movie that grossed $ 40 million in the USA alone? Unfortunately this actor has dwindled into relative obscurity after this role and has never really reached the success of his character as Napoleon ever since. Sure he has been in a few movies since but nothing worth a mention, I believe he mostly tours the American Convention circuit now.

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Napoleon Dynamite is the story of our titular curly-haired hero, a weird teen who has to contend with the usual teen nonsense of bullying, find a date for his Matric dance and family issues – it’s a coming of age tale at its most raw and bizarre state.

His Grandma goes to hospital after a freak quad bike accident, leaving him under the care of his Uncle Rico – a washed out has-been football quarterback who now lives in his camper and will do just about anything for ends-meat.

Napoleon shares his home with his idiot brother Kip, another weird guy looking for love in internet chatrooms and sporting a wife beater and retro porn star mustache.

Napoleon finally finds a best friend in Pedro and his life slowly starts changing.

 The humour is ridiculous, weird and memorable, it’s not the usual gags and jokes. The movie tries to portray some realism in the American Mid-West in what seems like the 80s however it can’t be set in the 80s because the movie pinnacle is the dance sequence involving the song “Canned Heat “by Jamiroquai which released in 1999….but based on the dated fashion the movie, it indicates that there will never be a clear cut answer to the setting.

If you have not seen this movie you owe it to yourself to watch it, it is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen and while it may leave many scratching their heads, give it some time to grow on you and you won’t regret it. Also please stay until the end credits for a solo singing performance by Kip.

Here’s some random info on the movie:

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The odd items and foods used in the opening credits:

  1. A plate of tater tots
  2. A plate with a burrito and rice
  3. A plate with sliced hard-boiled eggs
  4. A “U.F.O. Abduction Insurance” card
  5. A Preston High student ID card
  6. A plate with a steak
  7. A plate of nachos
  8. A foil tray with a corn dog, peach slices and peas
  9. A banana and peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a paper bag
  10. A homemade foil-covered ninja star
  11. The checkout card for a library book titled “Bigfoot and Me”
  12. The checkout card for a library book titled “Science and Centaurs”
  13. The carton for a LemonHeads-like candy
  14. A tube of Chap Stick
  15. A drawing of a warrior holding a flag
  16. A drawing of a female centaur fighting an eagle
  17. A binder pocket containing 3 toy cars and a drawing of a spaceship
  18. A protractor, eraser and three pencils
  19. a plate of burger and fries

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The many skills of Napoleon Dynamite

  • Sign language
  • Fine artist of note, great at portraits, fantasy art and election posters
  • Student of the new-age martial art Rex Kwon do
  • Started the thrift shop fashion movement and 80s fashion icon
  • Hip hop and funk dancer
  • Cyclist
  • Extreme BMX Ramp builder
  • Lama whisperer
  • Election Champaign marketing genius and student president body guard
  • “Numchuck”  skills
  • Time traveler
  • Certified FFA (Future Farmers of America) inductee
  • Creator of the liger, a tiger lion hybrid
  • Long distance runner
  • U.F.O. Abduction Insurance policy holder

The name “Napoleon Dynamite”  was named after a man filmmaker Jared Hess met around the year 2000 on the streets of Cicero, Illinois, while doing missionary work for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The name had originally been used by musician Elvis Costello on his 1986 album Blood & Chocolate. Filmmaker Jared Hess claims that he was not aware of Costello’s use of the name until two days before the end of shooting so the reference is pointless.  

Awards the movie achieved:

Best Feature Film at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival 2014

3 MTV Movie Awards 2005, for Breakthrough Male Performance, Best Musical Performance, and Best Movie. #14 on Bravo’s “100 Funniest Movies”.

2005 Golden Trailer Awards for Best Comedy.

2005 Golden Satellite Award for Best Original Score (John Swihart).

4 Teen Choice Awards. Best Movie Breakout Performance – Female for Haylie Duff, Best Movie Dance Scene, Best Movie Hissy Fit for Jon Heder, and Best Comedy.

2004 Film Discovery Jury Award for Best Feature