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Looking back: 10 fun things about ‘Napoleon Dynamite’

UPDATED: Thu., April 14, 2022

Cast members Tina Majorino, Efren Ramirez and Jon Heder participate in a panel discussion for the Fox animated TV show "Napoleon Dynamite" at the Fox Broadcasting Co. Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena , Calif., on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012.  (Danny Moloshok/Associated Press)
Cast members Tina Majorino, Efren Ramirez and Jon Heder participate in a panel discussion for the Fox animated TV show "Napoleon Dynamite" at the Fox Broadcasting Co. Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena , Calif., on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012. (Danny Moloshok/Associated Press)

There has never been a film quite like the 2004 cult smash “Napoleon Dynamite.” In celebration of cast members Jon Heder and Efren Ramirez headlining a “Napoleon Dynamite” event at Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox on Saturday night, let’s look back at 10 elements from the film that placed Preston, Idaho, on the map.

1. The dance. It doesn’t get any better than when Napoleon gets down in front of the entire student body. He was so vulnerable, but he took a chance and utterly kills it for his best friend Pedro!

2. Tetherball, anyone? Napoleon isn’t very athletic, but he gives it his all. Well, sort of. How cool is it when Napoleon shouts “yes” whenever he makes contact with the ball?!

3. Napoleon needs his ChapStick. Poor Napoleon’s lips. When he asked his brother Kip for ChapStick, the response was a great big no. Kip’s plate was full as he was making nachos. Perfectly understandable.

4. Girls want a guy with good skills. What are good skills? Well, let Napoleon explain. “You know, like nunchuck skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills. Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.”

5. Kip was ahead of the curve. “Napoleon, don’t be jealous that I’ve been chatting online with babes all day,” Kip said. Kip was there at the dawn of online dating.

6. It couldn’t be more relatable. One of the killer scenes between Napoleon and his grandmother was when she simply asked, “How was school?” “The worst day of my life.” What do you think? What person hasn’t been there?

7. Napoleon is a different kind of nerd. Most cinematic nerds are brains. Napoleon isn’t a genius or close to it. The quirky protagonist is awkward and clueless. A breath of fresh air.

8. Vote for Pedro. Who is almost old enough to run for president. Ramirez was 31 when he portrayed Pedro.

9. Bus Man’s holiday. For some reason, the film was initially renamed “Bus Man” when it screened in Japan.

10. Don’t play with your food. Hats off to the film for one of the most inventive opening title sequences of all time. The plate of food spelled out the names of the cast and crew. Dig in!

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