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YMMV / Napoleon Dynamite

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  • Adorkable: Napoleon is a dorky highschooler with no social skills or talents, who nonetheless gets flashes of awesomeness.
  • Awesome Music: The film features a great soundtrack filled with memorable songs from the 80's and 90's.
    • Notable examples include "Canned Heat" from Jamiroquai while Napoleon dances, as well as "The Promise" by When In Rome, which plays over the credits.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Shooting a cow in the head isn't funny. Shooting her while a school bus full of children passing by is.
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  • Epileptic Trees: Napoleon has been armchair diagnosed with autism, Aspergers, compulsive lying, and just about every personality disorder under the sun. While a lot of his behavior may suggest Ambiguous Disorder, his habits could just as easily be ascribed to regular quirky behavior, offbeat small town dynamics, and Rule of Funny. Nonetheless, some viewers persist in finding a deeply disturbing meaning behind Napoleon's weirdness.
  • Fountain of Memes: The whole damn script has appeared on a t-shirt at some point.
    • Everything Napoleon says. "Gosh!" "Frickin' idiot!" "I like your sleeves." "Fine!"
    • Also, Kip's "Your mom goes to college!"
    • "Tina you fat lard come get some dinner!"
    • And the "Vote for Pedro" shirt might count as well.
    • Napoleon's dance routine is also a popular dance to reenact.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Napoleon might get beaten up less if he wasn't so rude to his bullies when they ask him simple questions. Though since they often beat him up without being provoked anyway, he probably has a right to be a jerk at them back. It's kind of a chicken-or-egg thing.
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  • Retroactive Recognition: Yep, that's Mac's mom from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia playing as Grandma Dynamite.
  • Signature Scene: Napoleon's dance scene during the high school election, accompanied by the song "Canned Heat" by Jamiroquai.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Some fans of "Weird Al" Yankovic are convinced that Napoleon Dynamite is an Adaptation Expansion of "That Boy Could Dance" (from "Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D). After all, both involve a clumsy, geekish outcast who dazzles everyone at school with his amazing dance skills. Watch the video and decide for yourself.
  • Squick: The farm lunch scene. Sandwiches covered in flies? Nummy! How about orange juice infused with raw egg?
  • Unintentional Period Piece: The film immediately dates itself at the start by setting the year as 2004-2005, but the film's aesthetic more resembles the 1980s, with only one song from the 2000s at the end. When asked what time period the film takes place in, Jared Hess replied "Idaho." Most assumed that this was a case of Teasing Creator, but it was his way of explaining just how behind the times the state is. Many who visited Idaho after the film came out were quick to note how little the creators exaggerated its distance from the pulse of the rest of society.
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  • Watch It for the Meme: Or at least, the lines all your friends have been repeating ad nauseum.

Animated Series

  • Jerkass Woobie: Uncle Rico. In the Animated Adaptation he is despised by pretty much by everyone. At the end of one episode it's revealed that he is a very sad and lonely guy.
  • So Okay, It's Average: Consensus is mixed like the movie it was based on. Also it didn't stand out much between the much revered Bob's Burgers and the much reviled Allen Gregory both airing around the time it debuted, and the series was quietly cancelled after six episodes.