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Napoleon Dynamite
Review by Ross Anthony

Believe it or not, Napoleon Dynamite is the name of the lead character. Napoleon is a tall string bean, curly topped high school nerd. His best skill is simple survival of will and pride in the brutal world of numbskull bullies and untouchable jocks and cheerleaders. But he takes defeat in stride. It’s a certain resilience that makes him so likeable despite his acute lack of refined social skills.

The film delights in deadpan – it celebrates nerd. And is a testament that beauty can be found everywhere. There’s this absolutely lovely scene where Napoleon and several other students sing “The Rose” in sign language. The scene comes and goes with no introduction, no mention. But its inclusion adds a great warmth to the picture on the whole.

Admittedly, I watched this on cable. I’d just switched off “Dodgeball” after 20 minutes of waiting to laugh. “Napoleon Dynamite” proved absolutely delightful and refreshing and a strong statement, that a funny film doesn’t have to resort to rubbing body parts against soapy windows to keep its audience entertained.

Overall, a charming, albeit quite odd cinematic piece. Napoleon Dynamite is meticulously directed, warmly acted, and intelligently written in a dorky kind of way. If you liked “Harold and Maude” you may find that this film shares some of its quirkiness in a less in-depth but still entertaining kind of way.

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  • Napoleon Dynamite. Copyright © 2004.
  • Starring Jon Heder, Aaron Ruell, Jon Gries, Efren Ramirez, Tina Majorino, Sandy Martin, Haylie Duff, Diedrich Bader.
  • Directed by Jared Hess.
  • Screenplay by Jerusha Hess and Jared Hess.
  • Produced by Jeremy Coon, Sean Covel and Chris Wyatt at Fox Searchlight.

Grade..........................A (3.5/4)

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Copyright © 1998-2022 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:02:04 PDT