Author Topic: Napoleon Dynamite  (Read 23603 times)

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tpfkabi

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Napoleon Dynamite
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2004, 10:08:01 PM »
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Quote from: pete
looks great...but I wish it wasn't PG!


why do you say this?
and to those who have watched it, does this(language and whatnot) detract from the film?
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MacGuffin

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« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2004, 11:39:47 AM »
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Is it a wacky leap of faith?
'Napoleon Dynamite' is low on sex-crazed youths, violence and profanity but still aims directly at teens.
Source: Los Angeles Times

If "Napoleon Dynamite" doesn't turn out to be this summer's indie comedy sensation, it won't be for lack of trying. The story of the most hard-core high school nerd in Preston, Idaho, has everything going for it: a funny script, an engaging cast, the marketing muscle of Fox Searchlight, MTV and Paramount — and a history. "Complete With Sundance Bidding War!" the ads might boast.

The title character is a friendless, cluelessly awkward teenager — bullied at school, misunderstood at home by his grandmother and harassed by his older brother — who never gets enough to eat. As he manages to gain a pal and attract the attention of a girl, they encounter increasingly off-kilter complications.

That's only a slice of the unlikely life of this oddity, more of which is revealed on an otherwise cliché L.A. summer afternoon, in a cliché location (News Café's Fox lot outpost), as director Jared Hess commits the most unpardonable cliché of answering his cellphone.

"I'm sorry," Hess says sincerely. "I thought it might be my wife." Hess, 24, co-wrote the film with his wife, Jerusha, who also designed the costumes.

Although Fox Searchlight bought the movie at this year's Sundance Film Festival, it began life as "Peluca," a short that screened at Slamdance, the alternate-universe Sundance, the year before. It's basically about the same character (also played by Jon Heder), but the title is the Spanish word for wig, which figures in a subplot.

The new incarnation is set in the filmmakers' real hometown, where it was also filmed. It hardly looks like it, but the movie was cast in Los Angeles.

Jared and Jerusha Hess met at Brigham Young University, from which Heder also graduated. As did Aaron Ruell, who plays Napoleon's cyber-geek older brother; producer-editor Jeremy Coon; and producer Chris Wyatt.

Back at Fox, to promote the film that opens Friday, Hess is joined by Heder and Efren Ramirez, who plays Napoleon's best friend.

As a result of his barely hinged portrayal of young Master Dynamite, Heder, 26, is now a neophyte Angeleno with representation at Creative Artists Agency who is waiting for his wife, Kristen, to join him in L.A.

Acknowledging their predictable increase in offers as a result of the film's popularity at Sundance and Searchlight's relentless pre-release screenings, Heder says, "I've always wanted to do animation and film. I wanted to get into the business, and I wanted to keep acting definitely after 'Napoleon' and even after 'Peluca' — I was like, 'Hey, let's see what happens.' "

Ramirez, 25, seems similarly grounded. When he's not writing or acting, Ramirez throws raves under the name Nocturnal Rampage. A native Angeleno who attended Santa Monica College and Cal State L.A., he says he actually turned down a part in "The Alamo" because it conflicted with "Napoleon Dynamite."

As for the Hesses, they have decided to move with their son, Elliot, to a major metropolis, forsaking Preston for ... Salt Lake City. "I'm creatively influenced by Rocky Mountain Middle America," he says. "I'm a small-town guy."

This down-to-earthiness may be the core of the movie's appeal. It is alarmingly low on real violence, contains no horny adolescent gross-out subplots and only one use of profanity. All of which had absolutely nothing to do with Fox Searchlight's decision to acquire the film.

"We were at Sundance, and one of my execs came to me and said, 'You have to come with me right now! You have to see this movie,' " says Fox Searchlight President Peter Rice. "I saw it and laughed and laughed to the end. Everyone at the company loved it, and if we all love something, we'll find a way to get people to come and see it."

While Searchlight is skillful at marketing out-of-the-ordinary films such as "Bend It Like Beckham" and "28 Days Later," Rice thinks he's got something so special he was willing to part with 50% of the movie so it could benefit from MTV's particular expertise. MTV's Viacom sibling Paramount will release it overseas.

After Sundance, MTV Films, which had also bid on the film, expressed an interest in helping Searchlight market it.

"It has a unique point of view," says Van Toffler, president of MTV. "Young filmmakers, young actors.... We felt it would appeal to an MTV demographic."

Sort of "Welcome to the Dollhouse" meets "The Real World" with a bit of "Election" thrown in, but nicer.

"MTV programs to a young audience, they do it all day long," Searchlight's Rice says. "The big thing that they bring is 19 million cable subscribers, and we've been working hard to come up with fun and inventive stuff that brings Napoleon to them in a cool way."

"Other studios tend to take footage and highlight it," Toffler explains. "We tend to get more into the characters or issues in the movie that relate specifically to our audience. We'll do things like stories on the Web, or have him review other movies in character, to give our audience an idea of this weird, dynamic character Napoleon Dynamite."

THAT has Hess very excited, because, even though his family moved around a lot, at one point settling in London, he has never been to New York City.

And Heder has been only once.

"I'm hoping to hang out a bit," Hess says. "In David Letterman's chair," Heder shoots back.

Hess' cellphone rings again. He excuses himself before rejoining the conversation, which has turned to what influence the mission — a service obligation in which Mormon men are expected to leave home for up to two years to do good works and inspire conversions to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — has had on them creatively. This largely sidelines Ramirez, who attended Catholic school.

Heder did his mission in Japan, where he became fluent enough in the language to express surprise that the Japanese in "The Last Samurai" is rather modern.

Hess, who occasionally breaks into Spanish with Ramirez, served his mission in Venezuela and Chicago, where he focused on Spanish-speaking Latinos.

"It had a huge effect on me artistically," he explains. "In no other capacity are you going out every day and talking to people from all walks of life.

"I actually got the name 'Napoleon Dynamite' on my mission in Chicago. I was discussing religion with an old Italian guy from Sicily and that's what he told me his name was. I was like, 'Dude, that is the funkiest, freshest name I have ever heard in my whole life.' Then I found out later it was also an alias Elvis Costello used on a 1986 album. We found out, like, one of the last days of shooting, and it was too late to turn back then."
“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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pete

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« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2004, 10:57:27 PM »
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I got a Liger shirt from work, and a Napoleon Dynamite shirt.
“Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.”
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Ghostboy

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« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2004, 04:44:33 AM »
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I got a liger shirt, and I didn't even have to go to work, or even have a job. But then I left it in the theater, so I guess you still win.

xerxes

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« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2004, 05:19:12 AM »
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Quote from: Ghostboy
I got a liger shirt, and I didn't even have to go to work, or even have a job. But then I left it in the theater, so I guess you still win.


i was going to get one too, unfortunately i couldn't make it to the preview screening.

xerxes

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« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2004, 02:34:43 PM »
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This has got to be one of the funniest posts i have ever seen... too bad it's on imdb.

eward

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« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2004, 03:16:13 PM »
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"there is a reason why clowns have red hair - it's because of hate."


funniest thing ive ever heard
"Do you laugh at jealousy?"

"No, I don't even laugh at seasickness! I happen to regard jealousy as the seasickness of passion."

tpfkabi

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« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2004, 03:17:03 PM »
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Quote from: bigideas
Quote from: pete
looks great...but I wish it wasn't PG!


why do you say this?
and to those who have watched it, does this(language and whatnot) detract from the film?


how do the rest of you feel about my question above.
i just wondered if the fact that it was PG kind of took you out of the film.
this is important to me because i don't want any language in my films. i just don't want to give people reasons not to see one of my movies because of the R rating.
I am Torgo. I take care of the place while the Master is away.

xerxes

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« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2004, 04:08:33 PM »
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i don't think the lack of harsh language distracts from the film at all

Ghostboy

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« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2004, 04:35:47 PM »
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Yeah. I didn't even know what it was rated when I saw it. I don't need swear words to satisfy me. I think their usage is often overrated anyway.

modage

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« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2004, 10:13:55 PM »
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ND screened for like the 5th time here in a few weeks so i decided to go and check it out although i was not expecting much.  and i got even less.  i laughed a few times, but the movie is somewhere between 'okay' and 'not very good'.  i think a lot of times people are so anxious for the 'next big thing' they will champion a movie that doesnt quite deserve it just to be the first to do so.  they didnt break any new ground here, all the best bits were things i'd seen in other films.  there was no plot or story to speak of, which still would've been okay had the writing been clever or it had been REALLY funny.  but it really wasnt. it almost seems like they thought of 'hey what if we had a nerd dancing?' and then just worked backwards from that to fill out the other hour and a half.  so, overall this movie is NOT RECOMMENDED>.
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

RegularKarate

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« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2004, 11:48:45 PM »
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well, it's recomended, just not with high expectations or by mod-age

because it IS funny... it's just not THE movie people think/say it is

pete

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« Reply #27 on: June 19, 2004, 02:44:34 AM »
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admin edit- MASSIVE SPOILERS, THANKS

just saw it, laughed out loud at several times, and I really was rooting for this guy.  It may not as sophisticated as rushmore or welcome to the dollhouse but I don't think it's completely hollow.  I think the film stars a kid who is a nerd but is proud of it, that's pretty much it.  It almost completely skips over the whole insecurity/ internal struggle thing that "plagues" most of all coming-of-age films.  It stars a nerd, who sets out to do something, then fails, then succeeds.

Quote from: ebert in suntimes
Even his victory toward the end, if it is a victory, comes at the cost of clowning before his fellow students.


but I disagree that it's a "cost."  I don't think he made a fool out of himself and I don't think anyone else saw it as that.

also, this napoleon dynamite pretty much is a character I can most identify with/ resemble moreso than any other character I've ever seen.  from the wardrobe to the dance moves.  but none of you guys, aside from jokerspath, knows me in real life, so it'll be hard for me to get concurrence.
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Finn

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« Reply #28 on: July 12, 2004, 11:39:16 AM »
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I just saw this in New Orleans. It was really funny overall. It kinda ran out of steam by the end, but it was entertaining enough. I think it's kind of a mix of Todd Solondz and Wes Anderson films.
Typical US Mother: "Remember what the MPAA says; Horrific, Deplorable violence is okay, as long as people don't say any naughty words."

RegularKarate

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« Reply #29 on: July 12, 2004, 01:03:18 PM »
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Except those films have plots and multi-dimensional characters.

 

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