Fox Searchlight Pictures

Saturday night at the Charleston Music Hall will be a little awkward, a little goofy, and most of all, a lot of fun.

I certainly remember when I saw Napoleon Dynamite during its 2004 run in theaters. I laughed like a hyena. I was so taken with the film’s oddball humor that I was absolutely convinced my mom would love the movie as much as I did.

Boy howdy was I wrong. It wasn’t 10 minutes into the film when I noticed that while I was red-faced from uncontrolled laughter, my dear mother was not only not laughing but somewhat baffled by the goofiness on screen. Needless to say, our viewing experience ended not long after. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

For those who have not seen the film, a young high school kid, Napoleon Dynamite, with no help from his brother Kip ( Aaron Ruell), decides to subvert dominant paradigm (aka high school). He enlists help from his newfound friends, Deb (Tina Majorino) and Pedro (Efran Ramirez).

For fans like myself who love Jared Hess’ 2004 debut film, it’s kinda nice to know that the cult classic will screen this BYOT (Bring Your Own Tots) Saturday, followed by a moderated Q&A with Napoleon himself, Jon Heder. In advance of the show, here are a few fun pieces of trivia about the quotable comedy.

“Tina, you fat lard, come get some dinner!”

Tina, the llama who is victim to Napoleon’s frustration via thrown food, is not just any llama. She is Dolly, Hess’ mother’s llama. Why her career never took off, I’ll never understand.

“What are you going to do today Seth/Napoleon?”

Before Napoleon decided to attach an action figure to a string, chuck said figure outside the window of a moving school bus and watch the figure struggle to keep up with the bus, there was a similar looking guy with similar mannerisms named Seth doing the same thing in a short black and white 16-mm short called Peluca. In Hess’ short, Seth (played by Heder) skips school with his friends, Pedro and Giel, to score lottery tickets and a wig for Giel, who had just recently shaved his head after getting a fever. It’s almost like this short film served as a jumping off point for Hess’ feature debut.

“It’s pretty much my favorite animal.”

With the exception of the unicorn, all of Napoleon’s doodles, including the liger, were drawn by Heder himself.


“You know this boogie is for real.”

Most folks familiar with Napoleon Dynamite know the sweet dance number that happens toward the end of the film. It’s so iconic that Dwayne Johnson himself once recreated that scene. Almost a year ago, Jessica Wang at Bustle wrote a piece devoted to the work that went into the dance. At the key scene, with an assist from a copy of D-Qwon’s Dance Grooves tape and Jamoraquai’s wonderful “Canned Heat,” Napoleon shows his classmates and the world at large that he is more than a pretty face in moon boots and a “Vote for Pedro” shirt.

For Heder, no slouch in the dance department himself, the hard part wasn’t the sweet moves.

Talking with Bustle, Heder said: “One of the hardest parts of the dance was trying to stay in character, and doing the scene and trying to keep the Napoleon face [to make] sure that was consistent with the character, [and] making sure he wasn’t gonna break out into this super expressive face. It’s all Napoleon in the face, but I [felt], I’m gonna let my body go and do what it does… once I got into it, it wasn’t too hard.”


As the post-credits sequence, during which we hear the frequen Napoleon refrain, viewers are treated to a tribute to George Miller’s The Man from Snowy River.

One wonders what became of the citizens in Preston, Idaho. Well, if you were still watching Fox TV’s Sunday Night Animation Domination blocks back in 2012, you likely already know how they were doing since you were probably watching the Napoleon Dynamite series sandwiched between Homer Simpson escapades and Belcher family catastrophes.

The series brought back all of the characters you know and love from the film — from Uncle Rico (Jon Gries) to Grandma Dynamite (Sandy Martin) to Rex (Diedrich Bader). Despite some folks, like this writer, digging the further adventures of the characters, the show lasted all of six episodes before getting canned due to low ratings.

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