Archives / 2004 Sundance Film Festival

Napoleon Dynamite

Director: Jared Hess

Screenwriters: Jared Hess, Jerusha Hess

Institute History

Description

Napoleon Dynamite's his name … don't wear it out. From the rural town of Preston, Idaho, comes one of the most memorable screen characters in recent memory. With a tight red 'fro, some sweet moon boots, and illegal government ninja moves, he is a new kind of hero.

His family consists of fragile brother Kip, who's seeking his soulmate in online chat rooms; Uncle Rico, who is stuck in his "glory" days of high school football; and Grandma, who enjoys going out to the dunes on her quad-runner.

Napoleon spends his days drawing magical beasts, working on his computer hacking skills to impress the chicks, and begrudgingly feeding his grandma's pet llama, "Tina." When his friend Pedro decides to run for class president, they must rely on their knowledge of cows, piñatas, and a surprise special talent if they are to defeat the stuck-up Summer Wheatley.

Napoleon Dynamite is a modest film made with a ton of heart, and, like all great comedies, the genius is in the details. Jon Heder gives a truly awe-inspiring performance as the titular character. Writer/director Jared Hess and cowriter wife Jerusha Hess flesh out the world and the characters so brilliantly that it takes multiple viewings to truly savor the magnificence that is Napoleon Dynamite.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

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