Directed by Jared Hess
Cinematography by Munn Powell
The small-town high school world of Napoleon Dynamite take place in Idaho, but could reflect any number of places across America. Napoleon is the main character, a tater-tot eating champion and liger-drawing master, who lives with his brother and grandma (not to mention Tina, the llama). When he makes friends with a new kid at school, Pedro, they build an unspoken pact in helping each other navigate through the social world at the school with a constant nonchalant banter.
This movie came out when I was in middle school and I was very into it at the time. To this day, it holds up very well for me. One of my favorite quotes comes at the beginning of the movie. "What are you gonna do today, Napoleon?" a kid asks him on the school bus. Napoleon shoots back, "Whatever I feel like I wanna do. Gosh!" He was someone you could relate to in one way or another. Napoleon was a chill guy, but if you asked him a stupid question or messed with him, it was almost a guarantee he was gonna snap back at you a bit. This is not because he's just a mean kid, but more so that obviously he's not the most popular kid at school so he has to defend himself. Napoleon was a statement that you can be weird and have a different style, and you have to embrace that and be you. To dance like no one's watching, even when a whole auditorium full of people are watching you.