Under 30

I can't complain but sometimes I still do

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Does he suck? Napoleon Dynamite

This week we continue our mission of clearly defining those people, things, ideas, thoughts, actions and other nouns and verbs of questionable suckitude with one of the great cult successes of the Aughties, "Napoleon Dynamite."

Last week, I tipped my hand in the Dashboard Confessional election and possibly influenced the outcome. (The opposite way, of course, which says a lot about my readership.) Anyway, I'm not going to do that this week. Instead, I'm laying out an impartial case for the prosecution and defense, and letting YOU decide which side has more merit.

Case for not sucking: It's kind of a funny movie, I guess.

Case for sucking: Hey, "Napoleon Dynamite," Wes Anderson wants his style back. And when you return it, make sure you make it funny, unique and non-racist again. Look, even if you like this movie, didn't it officially turn sucky when meatheads started wearing those "Vote for Pedro" shirts all the time? Dude, if Pedro went to your school, you would call him "gay" and shove him into toliet bowls.

There you have it. Like I said, I'm not tipping my hand either way until after the election at NOON FRIDAY. And ... go.


Anonymous Cheddar said...

Let me be the first to say that any movie with no plot, no emotional arc, no message and a main character who is unsympathetic, unmotivated, unlikable and deliberately caricatured (explain the moon boots ... can't, can ya?) sucks. That "Napoleon Dynamite" fits all these characteristics is merely more evidence that it sucks.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Krista said...

N.O.T S.U.C.K.

Opposite of suck.

12:10 PM  
Blogger Thomas Roz said...

I watched it once and barely cracked a smile. However, I didn't feel as offended as say, watching "Never Been Kissed" or "Miss Congeniality" because a girl in high school forced me. Wishes it were "Rushmore," but I won't rag on it just because of those "Vote For Pedro" T-shirts. Empty calories. Does not suck.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous mark said...

not suck.

the phenomena associated with the movie (meat heads need shirts, spoofs, impersonations, teenie culture, moon boots) might have annoyed me in my younger years, but regardless of that, i laughed quite a bit during the movie. it was delightfully weird. it's probably in my top 100 list if i had sufficient memory to do something like that...

dick cheney. he sucks.

12:45 PM  
Blogger klhp said...

Any movie with moon boots and the SAME Caboodle I had in elementary school does not suck.

Plus, any movie that has surgical residents quoting it at 6:30 in the morning outside of a patient's room, can't suck.

Love it.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Steve Hyden said...

Tom, you are a total Nader voter on this one.

1:12 PM  
Anonymous duke ellington said...

not suck. now go get me some freaking nachos.

1:18 PM  
Blogger paul said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:22 PM  
Blogger paul said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:23 PM  
Blogger Steve Hyden said...

Man, this is getting very ugly very quickly.

Paul ... my own brother ... not suck? (single tear trickling down cheek)

I'm with you on "Lost in Translation." That movie lost ME in translation.

Get me a rimshot!

1:31 PM  
Anonymous all day said...

this is a tough one. on one hand, i wasn't as amused as i had hoped to be while watching the movie, so my initial inclination would be to vote for suck. on the other hand, however, the movie spawned some pretty great moments after the fact - i think i laughed harder once i had left the theater than i did while i was there. mostly because tim can be pretty amusing when he decides to be... i guess if i were voting for the movie on its own merit i would have to vote SUCK. yup. SUCK is my vote. the lesson here? you'll never go wrong if you stick with your gut instinct.

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it sounds like you're most annoyed with the aftermath of the movie. is this more residual resentment towards the cool kids or an anti-establishment stance? you know you're the cool kid now... don't you?

i think a good suck/not suck would be arnold swhaawerwhatever

1:45 PM  
Blogger Steve Hyden said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Sharon said...

Well, part of marriage is nullifying your spouses vote. Napolean Dynamite=sucks.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous joe said...

Sucks. I agree with Steve's assessment...ND is a poor, poor, poor man's Wes Anderson flick. Wackiness topped with wackiness gets old quick.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous lori said...


this debate will ruin our friendship, i'm sure.

napoleon dynamite does not suck. it's a harmless, entertaining movie. and i don't care what it's trying to be -- and neither you nor i know what the filmmakers' intentions were, assuming they had any -- i just liked it. it made me laugh. it was weird. it had an unlikeable nerdy lead character who did everything wrong and still managed to be somewhat endearing.

therefore, your butt is big, and you are wrong.

i love you despite both flaws.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Steve Hyden said...

Well, I must be anti-establishment, because the establishment is kicking my butt right now.

Are you the same "anonymous" that equated me with Abercrombie and Fitch? Reveal yourself!

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What did the deleted comment say?? It keeps me up at night...

3:00 PM  
Blogger Thomas Roz said...

It said, "Nader rules!"

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Cheddar said...

You know, if we let the White House do the polltaking, every vote here would be counted as 'suck' and anyone of you who said anything about it would be labeled as defeatists.

Yes, I'm having a bad day at work.

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Sarah...the stepniece said...


When it first came out, didn't suck.

But now, it sucks. I am tired of hearing "Gah Tina, you fat lard." and "Your mom goes to college."

It is annoying.

Our school president only won because he based his WHOLE speech on this movie. He wore his "Vote For Pedro" shirt and quoted napoleon dynamite constantly, attempting to talk in the voice. He brainwashed the entire 6th grade because they didnt know him like my grade did.

The only good part about the movie is the opening song because it was the White Stripes.

If Napoleon went to my school, I would kick him and call him gay probably. And me and my friends would probably point and laugh. As if he were Michael Lauria.

So in conclusion, IT SUCKS.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Steve Hyden said...

Out of the mouths of babes comes wisdom.

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Sarah...the stepniece said...

Paul, you hated it the first time you saw it.

You felt bad for him.


4:33 PM  
Anonymous mark said...

i think i might have come up with the same conclusion. but luckily i work with old sterile engineers and have no friends my age that i see on a regular basis. i haven't ever heard someone quote the movie... so my vote was based purely on the film.


4:41 PM  
Blogger Thomas Roz said...

If Chris Crap-rabba actually looked like Napoleon Dynamite while singing "Screaming Infidelities," would that female-heavy non-suck pendulum have swung the other way? Hmmmm ...

5:16 PM  
Anonymous lori said...

mark has a point. we're not voting on the suckiness of the napoleon dynamite EXPERIENCE (i'd like to punch those "Vote for Pedro" shirt-wearers in the head, too, and almost did the day i saw someone's fat mom wearing one)-- we're voting on the movie.

do you hate "wayne's world" because people wouldn't stop saying, "pshaw, and monkeys might fly out of my butt?" do you hate "scarface" because even prissy girls can tell you to "say hello to my little friend?" do you hate "the godfather" because of all of those godawful brando impersonations?

it's the movie, people. jesus. (and by the way, i am nominating Him for the next suck/does not suck poll.)

i think i am wasting too much time on this, and it's only because steve called me earlier and cried for 20 minutes about how people liked napoleon dynamite and he couldn't believe that his opinion WASN'T the only one out there. i'm on a campaign now to take him down. just so y'all know.


5:17 PM  
Blogger paul said...

not suck

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul why did you remove your comments????? If your previous vote was counted before, you can't vote again...Are you stuffing the ballot box!?

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Sharon said...

oops...that wasn't supposed to be anonymous..

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

ok, so i'm gonna come out and say i enjoyed the movie. but i feel kinda embarrassed about it. its like a guilty pleasure. i guess. however, i have had worse experiences while watching movies -- like the time I saw the 12:35 showing of mona lisa smile with some girl i was trying to date in college. needless to say the movie was a bore and the relationship never materialized.

but, yes, steve i do see your point with it being a cheap wes anderson rip off. but if you take that point with everything you wouldn't be able to have many favorites. you would have to hate many bands because they sound like or draw inspiration from other bands. and directors do the same.

wouldn't you have to cede your liking of anderson because other directors have used the same comedic delivery. names like allen and kubrick ring a bell. remember the army general in the base or george c. scott in the war room?

"he'll see the big board!" well steve, read my big board: DOESN'T SUCK

8:06 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Definitely does not suck. You're just afraid of goodness, Steve.

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wait -- i thought steve's opinion was vaulted in secrecy for this weeks does he suck

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

riding the bus with rosie o'donnell sucks. this does not suck

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that you're comparing Napoleon Dynamite to Wes Anderson movies is sort of offensive. Yes, Anderson uses a lot of off-beat humor but I highly doubt that's what a bunch of college kids were trying to compare themselves to when they made a low-budget movie.

yeah, it sucked when the "cool kids" starting wearing the t-shirts but that's judging on who else watched it, not the movie itself. i agree that if the jocks actually knew this kid, they'd stuff him in a locker and I think what's funny is they seem to miss out on that point. I guess The Napoleon Dynamite phenomenon brings to mind the instance of Austin Powers. It's a simple movie you can enjoy for the cheap humor because it's not trying to create a bigger story than what's already there. That's why I don't think you can judge it with the same pretentiousness that you would with other movies. Come on, kid. Have some fun!


8:56 PM  
Anonymous Tammy said...

On the fence, but since you deleted all those comments, (you gotta wonder what they say....)For that, I say does not suck. Sorry.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Steve Hyden said...

For the record, I don't delete comments. What do you think I am, a Republican?

10:47 PM  
Blogger paul said...

FYI Tammy, I deleted two of my own comments in a moment of weakness, although "Lost in Translation" did totally suck.

Anyway, I guess Sarah is right that my initial reaction was that the movie sucked, especially given the hype I had heard by the time I rented it. But strangely, I watched it again, and the goofy lines got more amusing and the characters got more endearing, sort of like a song that is more enjoyable when you know the words. (Maybe it helps that I watched it on my laptop... small screen=small expecations.) Anyway, I haven't seen it since, and I haven't seen student governments base their popularity on it like Sarah has (although *hearing* that story makes it *more* enjoyable for me). Should the fact that the quotes and the characters can be abused from overuse like reoccurring SNL characters be held against it? *shrug*

In response to Lori, I think I enjoyed the experience (its quotability and its weirdness in tone and characters) more than the actual movie. Punishing it because it was successful with lots of people in this way seems really lame and smacks of elitism. Plus, there is a sweet spot in there where those references and quotes are actually pretty fun.

So... yeah... doesn't suck. But then again, I'd give "Tommy Boy" (aka Fat guy in a little coat) a "Doesn't suck" too though, although I'd be the first to agree that it was a terrible movie, far worse than ND.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Keith R. Guehrke said...

Sucks. This movie played at SXSW a couple of years ago, and while I appreciated that this little eccentric little no-budget comedy actually got exposure, I just didn't find it all that funny. It was quirky for the sake of being quirky (i.e. - He wears moon boots ALL THE TIME! Ha!). Now that it's a cultural touchstone for people under 30 - some of whom quote and immitate Napoleon Dynamite - it definitely sucks. I felt the same way about the Austin Powers movies years ago. On its own, a somewhat entertaining diversion, but when co-workers started saying "yeah, baby" in coversation, it made me sick to my stomach. If you need any proof that Napoleon Dynamite does indeed suck, check out the trailer for the hideous-looking "Date Movie," in which there's a parody of everyone's favorite red-haired dork. (Can you really parody a character who is supposed to be funny?)

10:19 AM  
Blogger Krista said...

I just need to say I don't know who Lori is, but I'm on her team. She's so right.
And yes, Jesus should totally be the next one on the chopping block.
Steve, you have no soul. None. Sigh.
I already voted, so I won't cheat... but, does.not.suck

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sucks. my god, people! and you suck for thinking it doesn't suck!

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous posters suck

11:19 AM  
Blogger Thomas Roz said...

Sucks is making a late push here. I think Steve did some recruiting last night. Either way, I don't have emotions invested in this one like Dashboard ...

By the way, if Jesus goes on the chopping block, I'm pretty sure Steve's head will follow.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Steve Hyden said...

I am not putting Jesus up for election.

Possible Does he suck? candidates include: John Madden, Steve Martin, Mike Holmgren, Simon Cowell, MC Skat Kat, Kanye West, junior high school, and grinding

12:32 PM  
Blogger - C.H. said...

Just found your blog by hitting the next blog button. The fact that this is even a debatable is astounding to me. I suppose we are all entitled to our own opinion.

For those who didn't grow up in a small town during the 80s, maybe it didn't hit as close to home? Hence many of the "suck" votes? Others who would vote "suck" might be non-fans of the "no apparent plot" genre?

I don't know, I could go on, but I am just a mere visitor to this blog.

My vote is that Napoleon does "not suck".

On the other hand, I am guessing, his brother's girlfriend, LaFawnduh, does.

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't get why there is a debate, either.


1:40 PM  
Blogger Steve Hyden said...

Please, no more "LaFawnduh" jokes, even if they help support my "sucks" case.

1:41 PM  
Anonymous timmyteentazer said...

I think he not sucks.

1:48 PM  
Anonymous mark said...

nice comparison to the austin powers craze. actually anyone who sits around in real life situations quoting movies as responses to questions and other real life situations... the unoriginality and lack of creativity of that person sucks.

yeah i got sick of people quoting austin, and like i said before, i haven't heard people quoting napoleon out here, but if i did i'd get sick of that too. i get sick of people quoting office space, and talking like jar jar binks too.

so yeah that sucks, but the movie was funny to me in that moment... not suck. wait i already voted.

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

i wonder what people think is worse: the meatheads that wear the 'vote for pedro' shirts, or that craptastic nfl, american idol rip off, commercial where the bears lineman are dancing wearing the vote for pedro shirts?

and did any of you bears fans vote 'suck' because you were embarrassed and wanted to run and hide in shame?

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Sarah...the stepniece said...

it doesnt matter

Napoleon Dynamite has screwed up our culture.

It might make another serial killer. I doubt anyone wants that.

I want another thing to vote on. These are fun.

4:18 PM  
Blogger - C.H. said...

so that's the first vote to vote on more things to vote on?

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Sarah...the stepniece said...

well chafer

ive already voted on suck

i just like to vote...
its like a chatroom

4:38 PM  
Anonymous mark said...

sarah i'm glad i'm not the only one taking the chat room approach. i can't seem to not comment.

5:21 PM  
Blogger Jim Collar said...

Alright -- now I have to throw in my two cents. I completely agree that you have separate the movie from the jocks in Pedro shirts phenomenon.

Having done that, I still straddled the suck/not suck line.

To me, the whole brother wanting to be a cage fighter scene firmly moved it into the non-suck category. Hilarious. The scene where uncle is trying to hit the camera with the football left it there. I also liked the woman who wanted to buy the Tupperware to get the model ship.

But you do without the rest of the movie. To me, It's good for 10 minutes out of an hour and a half.

If you could boil those scenes into a trailer, I would watch it, enjoy it and probably giggle a little.

At the same time, I've decided that Hollywood needs more cage fighting and cage fighting references.

Based on that alone, my rating is doesn't suck.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

I say you should vote on Kelly Clarkson, Saturday Night Live, beta fish, tuna fish and jam bands. I'm just sayin', there are a lot of emotions surrounding all of those. Well, all but one.

9:11 PM  
Anonymous mark said...

i love under 30 blog

1:55 AM  
Anonymous breanna said...

Oh no, it sucks... it sucks even from the view of someone in high school...

The only thing that makes Napoleon entertaining is the fact that he's quotable ("Are you drinking 1% cause you think you're fat???"). It gets a laugh, and then you realize what you're laughing at, and you stop.

And Paul... shame on you!! But I always knew Sarah and Sharon had good taste...

9:56 PM  

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