Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Geeks through the ages #4: Napoleon Dynamite



Napoleon is an self-delusional loner who daydreams his way through school, doodling fantastic magical creatures and trying to dodge the school thugs. Napoleon is the archetypal geek. He is a clumsy teenager who enjoys enthralling diversions such as drawing, playing tetherball and hip-hop dancing and is apparently bad at all of them. He regularly boasts about his 'skills' with weapons such as "nunchucks" and bostaffs plus knowing all the "illegal ninja moves from the government." He wears vintage t-shirts tucked into waist-high beltless jeans, black moon boots and dorky steel-rimmed glasses. He is active in the FFA and his school's sign language club (the "Happy Hands Club").

Napoleon is the quissessential outsider, never part of the in-crowd, never willing to compromise his own interests and fascinations to fit in. This gives him a persecution complex, and he is never able to truly understand why others think he's an oddball. To him, they're all idiots, they're all stupid and his superior intellect is what gives him his edge and his true outsider status. He isn't able to comprehend why his versions of niceness and flirting are miscomprehended by his peers. He is stubborn and set in his ways, almost OCD, almost Aspergers in his reactions to changes in his patterns and habits.

His friendship with Pedro is again an outsider partnership. Pedro being the foreigner will never be part of the crowd and this is what drives Napoleon to leap in and befriend him. Together they can be outsiders together. However, Pedro has delusions of being the coolest kid in school and allows Napoleon's misdirected attempts at sourcing popularity ruin his campaign for insider status. He never truly appreciates the outsider inherent in Deb, simply passing her off as a weirdo.

Seething with teen-angst irritability and an obstinate blind ignorance to just how much of an outcast he is, Napoleon Dynamite may be the biggest dork in the history of high school movies.

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