Sunday, January 02, 2005

Napoleon Dynamite (movie review)

Hah, at first I wrote Bonaparte in the title (guffaw). Yes, it was at the Bagdad. An anthropology film, investigating the generally positive influence of African American memes on middle American dorkiness -- of course through a modest filter of caricature.

There's this one guy (Napolean's uncle right?) with a not-cool orange BizMo, mainly not cool because of the guy in it (like, my grandparents had a bright orange VW bus like that, and they were pretty cool with it). This uncle is stuck in a 1982 idealized vision of himself, to the point of wanting to time travel. The gizmo he gets off the Internet for this doesn't work as advertised however.

This 1982 guy seemed like a caricature of some Burt Reynolds characters, plus reminded me of Anchorman, which is also about invoking, and poking fun at, a recent time frame in American culture (in that film, biz culture sexism gets a send up).

Napoleon has some redeeming qualities himself. He's not especially cowardly towards life, even if he's bullied a lot, and he thinks about the welfare of others. The African American piece gives him some missing moves, and his prospects have brightened by the end, although his audience might need some therapy.