Captain Critic Presents: “Napoleon Dynamite”

Thanks Juicy Reviewer for inviting me to join you on another movie marathon. I’m Captain Critic and a huge fan of Juicy Popcorn, and I can honestly say that I have read every review posted on this site. If you have never visited Juicy Popcorn before you have just stumbled upon the El Dorado for movie buffs. Enjoy.

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I have always been a big movie junkie, so when Juicy Reviewer asked me if I would be interested in co-reviewing a Jared Hess movie marathon I was really excited. Hess’ work is some of my favorite stuff, and it’s also nice to review some comedies for a change. But the big question is how good are these movies really? Let’s find out.

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IN THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR WITH JARED HESS DOUBLE-TAKE REVIEW: “Napoleon Dynamite” breaks all of Hollywood’s rules, and wow, it really pays off. This is filmmaker Jared Hess’ directorial debut, and he truly hits cinematic pay dirt. Set in a small Idaho town, the story centers around uber nerd Napoleon and his eccentric family and odd friends. Napoleon lives with his cantankerous grandmother, wimpy older brother Kip, and pet llama Tina. A delusional outcast, Napoleon dislikes high school, where he is constantly tormented by bullies, and dreams of living a fantasy life filled with ligers, bo staffs, and nunchucks. Kip, his thirty something unemployed brother, spends his days at home chatting with “babes” on the internet and seems to exist to be a thorn in Napoleon’s side. When Napoleon’s grandmother is hospitalized after breaking her coccyx in a dune buggy accident weird Uncle Rico is summoned to look after the brothers. Eventually Napoleon finds friendship with shy classmate Deb and new student Pedro, who Napoleon helps to run a campaign for class president. This is the genesis of a bizarre journey into comedic nirvana.

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This movie has become something of a cult classic. Even the casual movie fan is familiar with “Napoleon Dynamite”. It’s a film that people seem to either love or hate.  Admittedly Hess’ comedy can be something of an acquired  taste. Offbeat, quirky, and yes, sometimes even moronic. Hess’ style is slightly reminiscent of Wes Andersen, and has a look that is instantly recognizable.  Honestly, “Napoleon Dynamite” is a riot from start to finish, even the opening credit scene is a creative work of art. Produced in 2004, this movie is beginning to show it’s age a bit, but even after multiple viewings I still find it highly entertaining and funny, with the perils of high school life acting as a perfect backdrop for the story. Napoleon suffers through so many zany problems, most self-inflicted, but are all memorable and funny. There’s tons of strange and uncomfortable adolescent situations that most people can relate to. At it’s core “Napoleon Dynamite” is an anti-hero buddy movie that largely succeeds because of Hader’s (Napoleon) deadpan humor, and a brilliant supporting cast. Ruell, as Kip, is hilarious as a dorky ninety pound weakling who fancies himself a cage fighter, and Gries as Uncle Rico, wows as a clueless get-rich-schemer who wants to buy a time machine so he can return to his athletic glory days of high school. There’s so many unforgettable scenes, awkward physical humor, and plenty of nutty dialogue, which is instantly quotable. The nerdy F.F.A. references really took me back to my high school days, and made me laugh out loud. “Napoleon Dynamite” is such an original piece of work, and it has been mined by countless other movies for it’s comedic ore over the years. The cinematography is fantastic, and is reflective of a Reagan era reality TV show, which adds a bit of a nostalgic feel. Also, the soundtrack is a little out there, most of it sounds as if it were created on a cheap Casio keyboard in Hess’ garage, but somehow it works really well. As for the pacing, it can be a little slow at times and could use some pep, but that’s my one and only complaint. The finale is especially well done, and be sure to hang around for the final outlandish credit scene, which has a very nice payoff. For true fans of comedies, this is definitely a must see. If you have somehow missed seeing this flick I’m telling you to give it a try, it’s friggin’ sweet. FINAL SCORE: 95% Juicy Popcorn

Here is the trailer:

Cast:

Jon Heder- Napoleon Dynamite
Aaron Ruell- Kip Dynamite
Efren Ramirez- Pedro Sanchez
Jon Gries- Uncle Rico
Tina Majorino- Deb
Diedrich Bader- Rex
Sandy Martin- Grandma

Directed by:

Jared Hess

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3 responses to “Captain Critic Presents: “Napoleon Dynamite”

  1. Thanks, that’s very kind. I really enjoy doing these reviews on Juicy Popcorn, I hope to do more in the future.

  2. Thanks, that’s nice to say. I really enjoy reviewing these movies on Juicy Popcorn, I hope to do more in the future.

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