Thursday, July 2, 2015

Movie Review: Napoleon Dynamite

Title: Napoleon Dynamite

Release Date: 2004
Genre: high school, comedy
My Rating: *
Official Rating: PG for thematic elements and language (note the language is the biggest problem)
Age Group: 14+

Napoleon lives a boring life. Well, not actually, but he certainly seems to think so. Feeding the llama in the backyard every day doesn't strike him as out of the ordinary, but that seems to be the only interesting thing that ever happens to him.
Then his grandma crashes her dirt bike and his uncle comes to town. The uncle brings scams and a desire to travel back in time, Napoleon's brother's online girlfriend stops in, a girl tries to sell key chains to pay for college, Pedro shows up at school one day, and things just start to explode.
I think. It was hard to tell what was going on.

Word of Warning
  •  Cartoony sketch of a woman in a bikini in the intro credits
  • Bullying
  • Language here was the biggest thing. Napoleon is probably the biggest offender of this. A few of the words we hear: frickin', idiot (this one a lot), dang, flippin'
  • Mention of a "buttload of gangs"
  • Guy hits his crotch on a bike, doubles over
  • Mention of chatting online with "babes"
  • A man is shown holding a woman in a chokehold and this is referred to as the "wisdom of man"
  • A farmer shoots a cow off screen. The scene is set so that you expect to see this happen, but then a bus of kids pulls in front and the movie watchers don't see it, but the kids do and their faces show their horror.
  • Napoleon claims his former girlfriend was a model. Someone asks if she was hot.
  • Someone says "You guys are retarded."
  • The uncle claims Napoleon still wets the bed to gain sympathy from one of his clients.
  • Someone mentions hooking up with chicks.
  • There is a sensual slow mo scene of a girl and a guy sharing ice cream and flirting (the entire scene is silent), then playing footsie
  • A pinata shaped like a mean girl at school is busted to pieces
  • A man sells a herb that apparently enhances bust size. He tries to sell this to high school girls.
  • A man shows the possible size of a woman's breasts using sauce pans and putting them right in front of her own. The husband (rightfully) beats this guy up off screen.
  • Slightly provocative dancing by an awkward teenager (hip thrusting, etc)
  • A kiss (awkward, short barely touching)

My Thoughts
I was told this was funny. After watching ten minutes of it, I was pretty sure I'd figured it out: everyone who watches the movie tells everyone else it's good and super funny, even though it's really awful. I was sure it was an elaborate scam.
Then I talked to some of the people who liked this movie and found out they genuinely liked it.
I had a hard time understanding what was so funny about it. I didn't laugh out loud (and yes, I do that often for movies). I might have smirked at the cow scene (is that wrong?) and whenever they fed the llama, but that was about it. That summary up there was really hard to write.
I'm not saying it was a bad movie. I'm just saying it didn't make much sense to me, and it still doesn't. It's quite possible my sense of humor is very underdeveloped. I know people like this movie, and I am not judging them. I just don't understand what they see in it.

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