Author Topic: Napoleon Dynamite  (Read 25061 times)

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MacGuffin

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Napoleon Dynamite
« Reply #135 on: March 03, 2005, 03:07:57 PM »
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Little Town Basks in 'Napoleon' Attention

Talk to a Preston resident for any length of time and you're likely to hear the town's new mantra. "There's a little bit of Napoleon in all of us," says lifelong resident Thedora Petterborg. "Who hasn't felt like that once in a while?"

And now, based on the cult following the movie "Napoleon Dynamite" has earned, the tiny city of Preston has gained a cult following all its own.

The movie, written and directed by first-time filmmaker Jared Hess and set in his hometown, has been a surprise indie hit. It has grossed $44.5 million in the United States since its debut last June and stayed popular as a DVD best seller since December.
 
That success has brought fans from as far away as Germany to Preston, buying thousands of dollars' worth of souvenir shirts, tetherballs and the ever-popular boondoggle key chain.

"I think it's totally remarkable," said Petterborg, who played the school secretary in the movie. "The llama, Tina, lives right across the street from us. People come by and take pictures they go out of their way to see Napoleon's town."

The movie's hero, Napoleon Dynamite (John Heder), is a nerdy teenager suffering the typical struggles of high school: trying to find a date, dealing with annoying relatives and holding it all together despite mocking from the popular crowd. He joins forces with friends Pedro Sanchez (Efren Ramirez) and Deb (Tina Majorino) to get Pedro elected student body president. It all culminates in a dance-off, Napoleon-style.

Hess' movie is squeaky clean, with no swearing, no potty humor and no violence. In many ways it mirrors the town, where cheerful and mostly Mormon residents introduce themselves to strangers and are quick to offer a helping hand.

Not everyone was thrilled to be living in the new capital of geek chic, though. Some residents worry the movie makes them look nerdy.

"There's probably two kinds of people. You either love it and think it's the greatest thing that happened, or you hate it and think it makes fun of us," Petterborg said. "Those of us love it because we love Jared."

Much of the movie is based on Hess' experiences in Preston, where he often trolled around with a camcorder making amateur movies. No wonder, then, that many thought "Napoleon Dynamite" was simply another of Hess' projects.

"Most of us didn't think anything of it at first, just another no-name movie for Jared Hess," said Stephen Baldwin, store manager for the Deseret Industries thrift shop where much of the movie's wardrobes were bought and some scenes were filmed. "But then it came out. And now college students are coming into the store to take pictures or videos, looking to purchase memorabilia."

Still, ask any local kid and chances are they'll tell you they can't wait to leave Preston, a town of just 4,791 people about 100 miles north of Salt Lake City.

"High schoolers will go away for a minute but they always come back," said Pennie Christensen, executive director of Preston's Chamber of Commerce. "We're probably a bit behind the times as far as fashion, but there are beautiful homes and it's a small, tight community. People are service-oriented, considerate."

Real estate agents have reported an increase in calls from out-of-towners whose interest was piqued by the film's scenery, Christensen said. A few fans have stopped by for a visit and decided to stay.

Even more are calling, just to say hello.

"One lady called from Tennessee, saying, `I want to thank Preston. You cleaned up the language in our town,'" Christensen said. "Before the kids there were saying things like the F-word or G-D. Now they say 'flip' and 'sweet.'"

Christensen hopes the town can keep the attention coming. She's planning a Napoleon Dynamite Fest in June, complete with tetherball tournaments, a disco dance-off and a look-alike contest.

The Chamber of Commerce whose Web site hits spiked from an all-time high of 7,000 to 284,000 after the DVD release sells tour maps pointing out filming locations such as Napoleon's house, along with other souvenirs. A sign at the car dealership West Motors boasts that customers can buy a car from Pedro's dad.

Even the Happy Hands sign language club in the movie is based on the school's Good Hands club; Hess was a member while attending Preston High. Though the number of men on the team has tripled since the movie to three they continue to be targets for school bullies.

Before the flick, 17-year-old Dakotah Gordon was the only male to brave the club.

"I was the Napoleon Dynamite of the club," Gordon said. "But look at the guy-to-girl ratio a lot of guys want to be in the club, they're just scared to join."

The group is getting performance requests from around the nation, and a few nearby schools have gotten into a bidding war over who will score the club for an assembly first. But those who want to see the Good Hands club in action need only stop by Preston High School every day after class. The group of about 30 students gathers to practice sign language and dance to songs by Shania Twain, Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys.

In one movie scene, Hess used his mother's phone number in the background. Now his mom, Krismas Adams, said she gets calls all the time.

"People call and say, `Is Napoleon there?' I always tell them that Napoleon doesn't live here, it's Pedro's house. A lot of times they laugh or hang up. But I've had a few really rewarding conversations," Adams said. "One kid from Michigan called, and we talked about Jared and the importance of sticking with his dreams."
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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Myxo

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« Reply #136 on: March 03, 2005, 08:52:46 PM »
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There will be a sequel, if it's not planned already.

Stefen

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« Reply #137 on: March 03, 2005, 10:25:02 PM »
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Preston, Idaho should be so lucky.
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Two Lane Blacktop

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« Reply #138 on: March 05, 2005, 11:51:00 PM »
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I finally saw this tonight, and laughed my ass off.  It was almost like David Lynch meets John Waters.  I saw it with a group of friends-  three of us loved it, the other four were less than amused by it.  

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life_boy

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« Reply #139 on: March 06, 2005, 12:51:24 PM »
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Quote from: Two Lane Blacktop
...the other four were less than amused by it.


That's where one might find me.  I can't see what people think is so fucking funny about this movie.  It just didn't work for me at all.

Two Lane Blacktop

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« Reply #140 on: March 06, 2005, 01:43:48 PM »
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Quote from: life_boy
Quote from: Two Lane Blacktop
...the other four were less than amused by it.


That's where one might find me.  I can't see what people think is so fucking funny about this movie.  It just didn't work for me at all.


I think you have to find absurd, deadpan humor funny, to find this movie funny.   (I do, obviously...)

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Ravi

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« Reply #141 on: March 06, 2005, 03:07:22 PM »
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Just because its absurd it doesn't mean its funny.  And it isn't deadpan.

Pubrick

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« Reply #142 on: March 07, 2005, 01:00:05 AM »
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it's not absurd or deadpan.

this movie is hilarious in parts cos napoleon is such an unlikely hero, and sympathetic character. yet even by geek standards he is lame. the scenes with tina majorino are oddly erotic, and reflect the low-key atmosphere of the whole town. thus, the scenes where emotions are physically expressed by these unemotive characters (the realest inhabitants of the town: nap, pedro, deb) such as the nap solo dance, his dance with deb, and the final scene, hold extra resonance against the caricatures of ppl trying to live louder and brighter than they really can (uncle rico, "summer" duff).

in fact this is evident not only in emotional scenes but the most hilarious moments as well. after napoleon has been dancing and takes that swig of water. when he breaks the ramp. when his brother drives over that container. the whole movie is physical, and the best scenes play out in Long Shot.

there's a consistency to the film's style that goes beyond "quirky" or whatever else suburbanites are calling it, and that's what is endearing. i've seen it twice now and can't wait for the third viewing, i never saw the post-credit additional scene and am better for it, and i havn't read this thread or will any time soon.
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AntiDumbFrogQuestion

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Napoleon Dynamite
« Reply #143 on: March 08, 2005, 01:31:01 AM »
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I thought this movie was cool.  After subsequent viewings, I found parts less amusing, but that's like watching an Austin Powers movie and expecting it to be as funny as the first time (or funny at all??).  I expect to come back to this movie someday and just be like 'ahhh...time to relax.'   The people who made this film knew what they were doing, and when they didn't, they didn't care.  They just made it. Thumbs up.

MacGuffin

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« Reply #144 on: April 18, 2005, 01:29:56 PM »
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Some DYNAMITE Action Figures

Here's an item you thought you'd never read: Fox Licensing & Merchandising and McFarlane Toys are announcing a "sweet" line of action figures based on characters from the hit cult-flick Napoleon Dynamite.

The line will feature an assortment of figures including the film's quirky anti-hero Napoleon Dynamite, his mustachioed sidekick Pedro Sanchez and chatroom-junkie brother Kip.
 
"A Napoleon Dynamite action figure may seem like an oxymoron, but McFarlane Toys has the appreciation and understanding of this character and the film to create some truly fun and highly appealing toys," said Peter Byrne, Executive Vice President, Licensing, 20th Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising.

The new line of Napoleon Dynamite action figures from McFarlane Toys will be hitting shelves in fall 2005.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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modage

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« Reply #145 on: April 21, 2005, 10:13:32 PM »
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Nickelodeon Movies is teaming up with Jack Black, Mike White, and Jared Hess on an untitled wrestling project as a starring vehicle for Black. White and Hess will co-write with Hess directing. Black & White Productions and Nick Movies will produce the feature that will be distributed by Paramount Pictures with production targeted for this fall. The announcement was made today by Julia Pistor, Senior Vice President, Nickelodeon Movies.

In this true-life inspired story, Black will play a Mexican priest who moonlights as a masked Lucha Libre wrestler in order to save an orphanage destined for closure. All the while, the priest must keep his identity hidden from the wrestling community and the church.

"I can't think of two people I'd rather party with than Mike White and Jared Hess," said Black, adding, "I can't wait to get down to Mexico."
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

Two Lane Blacktop

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« Reply #146 on: April 21, 2005, 10:24:29 PM »
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Quote from: themodernage02
Nickelodeon Movies is teaming up with Jack Black, Mike White, and Jared Hess on an untitled wrestling project as a starring vehicle for Black.


This MIGHT be the first funny thing Jack Black has ever done.  Or, he might be unfunny enough to siphon off all the humor from Hess and White, which I wouldn't doubt..  we'll see.  

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Stefen

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« Reply #147 on: April 21, 2005, 10:47:00 PM »
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Mike White cowriting bodes well for it, but that's about it. Reminds me of when I was first hearing about Dodgeball going into production. But still, Mike White is underrated.
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UncleJoey

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« Reply #148 on: April 21, 2005, 10:54:22 PM »
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Quote from: Jack Black
"I can't think of two people I'd rather party with than Mike White and Jared Hess"


I can.




Well, I've got news for you pal, you ain't leadin' but two things: Jack and shit . . . and Jack just left town.

Stefen

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« Reply #149 on: April 21, 2005, 11:01:37 PM »
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Quote from: Jack Black
"I can't think of two people I'd rather party with than Mike White and Jared Hess"


Jack Black is turning into the fat male version of Paris Hilton.
Let's go to a motel. We don't have to do anything -- we could just swim.

 

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