[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/napoleon-dynamite.jpg]]

->'''Kid on Bus:''' What are you gonna do today, Napoleon?\\
'''Napoleon:''' Whatever I feel like I wanna do, gosh!
-->'''-- Opening lines of the movie. [[RandomEventsPlot He's not kidding.]]'''

An independent movie directed by Jared Hess and distributed by Fox Searchlight. ''Napoleon Dynamite'' is a subdued and sweet little cult film, telling the story of a trio of friends and their attempts to overcome their status as social outcasts. The film became legendary for making audiences laugh at The Sundance Film Festival, and subsequently became a huge hit with the teenage crowd of the 2000s, resulting in a cult following similar to teen movies of the 1980s. The atmosphere of ''Napoleon Dynamite'' is peculiar, with downplayed humor, quiet absurdism, largely unrelatable and awkward characters, and deliberately stilted dialogue -- but at the film's core is a very intelligent and optimistic portrayal of high school life.

The eponymous Napoleon is not just a HollywoodNerd -- he's a real genuine dork, not particularly skilled at anything, angry at the world, incapable of even the most basic friendly conversation, and a mouth breather to boot. He has [[DullSurprise exactly one]] facial expression. People don't like him and he doesn't like people.

The film has its setups and payoffs, but is very much a RandomEventsPlot: anything that would be a big deal in most high school films is very deliberately downplayed. The first half of the story has Napoleon meeting new student Pedro, and the two of them begin searching for dates for the upcoming school dance. In the second half of the movie, Pedro decides to run for class president with Napoleon as his campaign manager. A running theme is a mild quasi-romance between Napoleon and Deb, a girl who is even less socially capable than Napoleon.

Additionally, Napoleon and his unemployed brother Kip are forced to host their Uncle Rico, a [[JadedWashout former high school football player]] trying to find a way to travel back to 1982 so he can [[ICouldaBeenAContender win the big game and become an NFL star]]. Kip, meanwhile, joins in Uncle Rico's various get-rich-quick schemes to be able to meet up with [=LaFawnduh=], a girl from Detroit he talks to in an online chat room on dialup.

The movie aims to be as deadpan awkward as possible, and the results have caused quite a bit of HypeBacklash for those who expected a regular teen comedy. It was the breakout role of Jon Heder, who plays the title character and has gone on to mainstream roles alongside stars like Will Ferrell and Billy Bob Thornton. The filmmakers themselves, [[WriteWhatYouKnow Idaho natives]], went on to make ''NachoLibre'' with Jack Black.

It was [[http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/b205123_gosh_napoleon_dynamite_gets_animated.html announced]] in 2010 that an AnimatedAdaptation was in production for {{Fox}}, with the original cast returning to voice the characters. A trailer for the show can be watched [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scWAETwLojk here]]. The show premiered on January 15, 2012 and was cancelled after 6 episodes; the trope page for the cartoon series can be [[WesternAnimation/NapoleonDynamite found here]].
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!!''Film/NapoleonDynamite'' provides examples of:

* {{Adorkable}}: The title character - '''especially''' during [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome the big dance scene]].
* AdvertisedExtra: Diedrich Bader has two scenes and receives top billing but compare some of the other characters like Summer played by FakeGuestStar Haylie Duff who has much more screen time then him.
* AlphaBitch: Averted. The worst thing Summer Wheatley does is refuse Pedro's offer to go to the dance and the [[PoliticallyIncorrectVillain "Chiminy-changas" crack]] she makes about him.
* AluminumChristmasTrees: The Liger is a real animal but's not bred for its skills with magic.
* AmbiguousDisorder: Napoleon's awkwardness goes ''way'' beyond the level of your average unpopular kid, and is just packed full of odd quirks and ticks. Many fans and critics of the film believe he has [[UsefulNotes/AspergerSyndrome Asperger's syndrome]] .
* AnachronismStew: The opening credits clearly shows Napoleon's school ID reading "2004-2005", but the plot lulls you into thinking it's the 80's (with the music and the characters' clothes). Then it jolts you out of it when Summer plays a BackstreetBoys song -- though Kip having an internet relationship also seemed to contrast the 80's atmosphere... albeit with 90s-era dial-up. This was intentional, to make the setting/characters seem "backwards" when in fact the story takes place in the present. When Jared and Jerusha Hess were asked ''when'' their story was set, they responded "Idaho."
* AwesomeMcCoolname: Napoleon Dynamite. (Fun fact: Music/ElvisCostello was using "Napoleon Dynamite" as a pseudonym nearly twenty years before this movie came out. This nearly got the film into legal hot water.)
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: In-universe: Napoleon's dance sequence is completely unexplained. It is unrelated to any aspect of Pedro's campaign, style, or personality (which was, itself, very random). It does not respond to Summer's campaign promises by any means. It comes out of nowhere and makes zero sense and has very little context. Everything goes quiet, and then - [[spoiler: thunderous applause; Pedro wins]].It's a rare [[JustifiedTrope justified]] BLAM- Napoleon only did it because he had no idea that he and Pedro were required to perform a skit, so he just did the first thing that popped into his head to stall for time. [[spoiler: It works beautifully]].
* BlackComedy: The scene where the farmer shoots a cow ''just'' as a schoolbus full of children stops on the street.
* BlatantLies: Napoleon is a frequent liar, and constantly claims he's done many outlandish exploits like hunting wolverines with his cousins, or being approached by a gang for his bo staff skills. He also claims to have tamed a "wild honeymoon stallion" and in the post credits scene, he shows up riding it. Whether or not he ''tamed'' it is still debatable, yet it makes you wonder whether ''all'' of his claims were as unfounded as they sounded.
* CatchPhrase: "[[GoshDangItToHeck Gosh!]]" "(Friggin') Idiot!"
* ChekhovsGag: When Deb tries to sell her hair salon services to Napoleon, she hands him a picture of a blond model to demonstrate what he could turn into. Napoleon later shows the picture to Pedro and lies that it's his [[GirlfriendInCanada ex-girlfriend from out of state]].
* ChekhovsGun: Each of the food plates making up the opening credits are eaten during the course of the movie.
** The dance instruction tape that Napoleon watches early in the movie (see ChekhovsSkill).
** Pedro's cousins returning to [[spoiler:intimidate a bully.]]
* ChekhovsGunman: While teaching his self-defense class, Rex shows the students a picture of his wife Starla. Later in the movie, Rex comes home just as Uncle Rico is trying to sell Starla "bust enhancers". It doesn't end well.
* ChekhovsSkill: Napoleon practicing his dance moves.
* CompositeCharacter: Pedro is a combination of two characters, Pedro and his cousin Gabriel, from the original short film ''Peluca''.
* CoolCar: Pedro's cousins drive a cherry-red convertible with adjustable hydraulics. They later have "Vote for Pedro" emblazoned on the side.
* CloudCuckoolander: ''Everyone.''
* CreditsBrandProducts: In the opening credits and DVD menus.
* DullSurprise: Napoleon's default expression.
* FacePalm: Done by a member of [=LaFawnduh's=] family in the post-credits scene when [[spoiler:[=LaFawnduh=] and Kip marry]].
* FakeGuestStar: Haylie Duff as Summer among others who's in quite a bit of the movie despite not getting top billing. Compare with AdvertisedExtra Diedrich Bader who does and is in far less of the movie.
* FollowTheLeader: After the success of the film, many TV commercials (notably candy commercials for Skittles and Trolli) tried to emulate the film's style by featuring absurd, deadpan humor and realistic-looking kids in late '70s - early '80s clothes.
* FootPopping: When Kip and [=LaFawnduh=] first meet in person and kiss.
* FootsieUnderTheTable: Kip and [=LaFawnduh=].
* GiantPoofySleeves: Deb's prom dress. Napoleon [[DiscussedTrope compliments]] her on them and she replies that she [[InvokedTrope made them herself]].
* GloryDays: Uncle Rico had his glory days in high school football... as a bench warmer.
* GoryDiscretionShot: While waiting for the school bus one morning, across the road Napoleon sees a farmer preparing to shoot a cow. Just before he does, the bus drives into the scene and Napoleon doesn't see the shot. The kids on the bus, however, do, and scream.
* GoshDangItToHeck: Elevated to an art form with both Napoleon's self-{{Bowdlerization}} ("What the flip was grandma doing at the sand dunes?") and his made-up words ("Why don't you go eat a decroted piece of crap?")
* GratuitousJapanese: "Bow to your sensei!" Considering "sensei" is a pretty common loanword, this probably wouldn't be an example if Rex weren't such a blatant {{Eagleland}}er.
* GroinAttack:
** Uncle Rico orders a "time machine" that is simply a box with a handlebar to be inserted between a person's legs. Activating it just gives one an electric shock. The next day, Uncle Rico is shown walking gingerly.
** When Pedro and Napoleon try out tricks on Pedro's bike, Napoleon's attempt causes the ramp he's on to collapse and the bike to hurt his crotch.
* HollywoodToneDeaf: Kip's song in the post-credits scene. Oh my.
* IBelieveThatYouBelieveIt: As noted, the name "Napoleon Dynamite" was first used as a pseudonym by Elvis Costello. Despite this, the film makers say that they weren't aware of that and thought up the name on their own. Costello isn't calling them liars, but he doesn't think it's a name that you'll ever come across twice.
** The film makers claim that they heard a rambling homeless man call himself Napoleon Dynamite. It's a pretty plausible story that they heard it from someone else who knew about it and then assumed that the homeless guy made it up himself.
* ICouldaBeenAContender: Parodied with Uncle Rico's football dreams, which were nonexistent in the first place.
* TheIllegal: Pedro.
* InsistentTerminology: "My friends and colleagues, they call me ''Uncle'' Rico..."
* JadedWashout: Uncle Rico, but not so jaded that he can't delude himself into thinking time travel is an actual thing.
* {{Jerkass}}: Uncle Rico and the Principal.
* JerkJock: Don.
* LovableNerd: Most of the protagonists, but Napoleon in particular.
* MerchandiseDriven: Not made that way, but it was latched onto extremely fast. Almost every quote you could name from the movie appeared on a T-Shirt at some point.
** And there is now merchandise backlash, e.g. t-shirts saying "Pedro lacks political experience."
*** Or "I voted for Pedro" with George W. Bush's face on it.
* {{Metaphorgotten}}: "I, uh, would like to give you this advice. And a fella give me some years ago. He said, "When an argument arises... if you go outside and take, uh, a nice walk... you'll calm down and then you can come back and it won't be an argument."
--> "And you'll find that helps your health."
--> "All that fresh air and exercise will do you a lot of good."
* MormonCinema: Often considered an "honorary" Mormon film. Despite containing no explicitly Mormon themes, most of the production team was LDS and recently graduated from BYU, the film is [[GoshDangItToHeck squeaky-clean]] to the point of it being part of the humor, and many of the jokes make a lot more sense if one has a familiarity with Mormon culture.
* MundaneMadeAwesome: The whole point of the movie. Napoleon could be the poster-boy for this trope--especially his dancing--but other characters get their fair share, like the scene where [=LaFawnduh=] gets off the bus.
* {{Nerd}}: In an odd case, Napoleon isn't even particularly smart or hard-working, but has all the cornerstones of a stereotypical nerd - poor social skills, awkward posture, mouth breathing, eccentric habits, thick, ugly glasses, crappy fashion sense...
* NippleAndDimed: ''Cow'' nipples that is. Pedro examines them as part of a test on food inspection.
* NoAntagonist: Uncle Rico is probably the closest thing this film has to a villain, but he’s more of a delusional douchebag than evil.
** Also Summer Wheatley and her boyfriend, who would have the role of AlphaBitch and JerkJock in any other movie, but here are pretty realistic high schoolers who's only crime is being dismissive to our protagonists.
* OddFriendship: Business-savvy redneck Rico and technology-loving loser Kip. Also Napoleon and Pedro, to a lesser degree.
* ParentalAbandonment: It's never explained why Napoleon and Kip are living with their grandmother and not their parents.
* PoirotSpeak: "We're going to put some santitos, el Santo Niño de Atocha is a good one".
* PowerCrystal: They're the power source for the useless, mail-order time machine, which doesn't do anything, except shock the groin area.
* PrettyFlyForAWhiteGuy: Kip. [[spoiler:He manages to score with a black woman.]]
* RandomEventsPlot: The time machine, the school dance, and the election have nothing to do with each other. They just happen.
* RetroUniverse: Both in-universe and in RealLife. As it turns out, the town they filmed in (Preston, Idaho) really ''was'' like that, since significant portions of Utah & Idaho (specifically, the more rural & Mormon-dominated areas) are notorious for being 10-15 years "behind the curve" in regards to popular culture of almost any sort.
* SassyBlackWoman: [=LaFawnduh=] is downplayed due to lack of lines. She has the look but is otherwise nice and non-sassy.
* SceneryPorn: The town it's filmed in ([[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preston,_Idaho Preston, Idaho]]) makes it this for some.
* SheCleansUpNicely: Subverted. Deb spends the whole movie looking somewhat dorky, which can mainly be attributed to her silly hairstyle and bad fashion sense. When she shows up at the school dance in a [[GiantPoofySleeves self-made dress]] it only makes matters worse. She does however look genuinely pretty by the end of the movie when she sports a more conventional hairdo and, more importantly, smiles for the first time in the entire movie.
* ShmuckBait: The "time machine" couldn't be any more this.
* SophisticatedAsHell: Most of the dialogue features this in some capacity.
* StylisticSuck: The hideous portrait of Trisha drawn by Napoleon, and anything drawn by him in general. Like the Liger.
-->'''Napoleon:''' It took me like 3 hours to finish the shading on your upper lip. It's probably the best drawing I've ever done."
-->''(Trisha cringes)''
* SummonBiggerFish: "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJp7RUC0Ies Pedro offers you his protection]]."
* TheUnintelligible: Lyle the farmer. He has actual lines, but they're almost impossible to understand due to the actor's mumbling speech.
* TooQuirkyToLose: This whole movie but particularly the climax is an example of this trope.
* TripleNipple: Or Quintuple, regarding cows. Apparently cows should only have four.
* UnusualEuphemism: Quite a few. "Bodaggit", "decroded", etc.
* WearingAFlagOnYourHead: Rex wears a red white and blue bandanna with stars AND American flag pants.
** "Take a look at what I'm wearing. You think someone wants a [[ChuckNorrisFacts roundhouse kick to the face]] while I'm wearing these bad boys?!"
* WhatDoesSheSeeInHim: In the post-credits scene, all of [=LaFawnduh's=] relatives are clearly in shock and disbelief at the fact that she's [[spoiler: marrying]] Kip.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Pedro is shown at one point to have a sister. She turns in one scene where she mistakenly takes Napoleon's call for Pedro, but then never shows up again.
* WhatTheFuAreYouDoing: Kip's "cage fighting skills" vs. Rex. Rex himself.
* WhenHeSmiles: It takes flipping FOREVER for Pedro to register ANY kind of facial expression, let alone smile, but when he does, it's beautiful.
** Similarly with Deb; when she finally smiles at the end of the movie, you realize how pretty she actually is.
* WimpFight: Every fight in the movie: Napoleon vs. Uncle Rico, Napoleon vs. Kip, and Kip vs. Rex... they're all pretty pathetic.
** "I think you ripped my mole off!"
* YoungerThanTheyLook: Much of the cast.
** Averted with Sandy Martin, who looks older than her age, 54, in the movie (though this was most likely due to make-up, considering she looks slightly younger in other shows like Always Sunny)
* YourMom: "''Your mom'' goes to college!"
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