Napoleon Dynamite's house
When indie comedy 'Napoleon Dynamite' was released in 2004, audiences were sharply divided between a happy majority who who found its deadpan portrayal of small-town geekdom hilariously offbeat and a smaller group who thought it condescending, disjointed and just plain unfunny. Whichever camp one falls in, it's undeniable that Jared Hess' unique first feature (co-written with his wife, Jerusha) not only recouped its $400,000 budget many times over, but made quite a cultural impact. (Check out how many recreations of "Napoleon Dynamite Dance" there are on Youtube.)

Jon Heder made a truly remarkable film debut with his embodiment of Napoleon, an alienated über-geek who lives with his grandmother, equally nerdy older brother Kip (Aaron Ruell) and a llama; and who, of course, is regularly bullied at school. When grandma is injured in an accident, clueless yet aggressive Uncle Rico (Jon Gries) looks after the boys and causes yet more problems for Napoleon, including a fall-out with Deb (Tina Majorino), the classmate he has a crush on. A kind of salvation comes in the form of Pedro (Efren Ramirez), an equally ostracized transfer student from Mexico who, with Napoleon's help, runs for class president against a popular girl. The culmination of the campaign (and movie) is Napoleon's inspired dance routine in front of the student body. Surprisingly, things end well for everyone concerned.
categories On the Scene