For the Love of Napoleon Dynamite

One of the best parts of being a parent is sharing your childhood joys with your own children. Like watching movies you loved as a kid.  I mean, “Star Wars” is required viewing, right?  The only conundrum is do you show them to your children the way you saw them {1, 2 and 3 are actually 4, 5 and 6}, or do you go in numerical order?  If you ask me it’s a no brainer, you start in 1977 and you work your way to 2005.

My daughter loves “Star Wars” as much as I do, and she’s grasped the whole “We’re watching the 3rd one, but really it’s the 6th one and now they’re making the 7th one.”  And I’ve sworn her to secrecy on the whole “Luke, I am your father” thing.  I mean, their faces when they see that scene?  Priceless.

“The Muppet Movie,” check. We love it.  Movin’ right along, we still have a lot of viewing to do – the old “Annie” before the new one comes out at Christmas {Cameron Diaz as Mrs. Hannigan.  Please.}  Then there’s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” vs. “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”  We tried “Grease” this summer, but it wasn’t the word for Ella, so we’ll try again next year.


Then there’s “Napoleon Dynamite.” While I was far from a kid when this movie came out, it was a big part of my adult work life.  “Napoleon” was released in the summer of 2004 when I was a regional film publicist.  Fox Searchlight knew they had a little gem and they developed a fun and creative marketing campaign to support the film.  It pretty much lasted the entire summer and while Napoleon was hunting wolverines, I was handing out “Vote for Pedro” t-shirts, Napoleon watches, and lip balm.

So, on a recent family movie night, I decided it was time to introduce Ella to Napoleon. I wasn’t sure she would get it, but surprisingly, she watched the whole thing and she loved it.  Speaking in “Napoleon” has become common place around this household.  “Can you bring me my chapstick?” “Why are you drinking 1%?” “Gimme your tots” and “Make yourself a dang quesadilla” come out of my daughter’s mouth on a daily basis.  If you’ve watched past the credits to the very end, you might even love technology as much as Kip does {and we do too, of course.}

The best part, is when quotes are translated in a 7-year-old’s mind. “There’s a buttload of gangs at this school” turned into “there’s a buttload of games at this school.”  She’s told me several times “I caught you a delicious bass” isn’t funny {but it really is.}  And trying to explain to a second grader why “It took me like 3 hours to finish the shading on your upper lip” is super funny is actually super hard.  Then there’s Lyle and the gun and the cow.  She doesn’t get it, and I’m okay with that for now.

So, while Ella is perfecting her sweet dance moves, I’m going to make a tater tot casserole {oh yes, it’s real.} While I think a tot casserole is probably better suited for Tina the llama, I made them eat kale soup last night, so I owe them.

Maybe it’s time you introduced your kids to Napoleon, too. It’s rated PG, there’s nothing obscene, and it’s just a lot of fun.

What movie have you shown your kids that you were excited about? Did they like it as much as you?

Related Links:

Jon Heder is Napoleon Dynamite Again in Video for Fan with Cancer

Napoleon Dynamite 10 Years Later

A Look at Preston 10 Years After Napoleon Dynamite

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