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The 100 Best Movies Of The Complex Decade

99. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

Director: Jared Hess
Stars: Jon Heder, Jon Gries, Efren Ramirez, Tina Majorino, Aaron Ruell, Diedrich Bader, Haylie Duff, Shondrella Avery

Seven years after the fact, Napoleon Dynamite seems about as hip as the phrase “Fo shizzle.” There's plenty to blame for the oddball comedy's loss of coolness, chief of which are all of those irritating “Vote For Pedro” T-shirts, every unimaginative Napoleon costume seen on Halloween, and star Jon Heder's inability to make anything else of note since. But none of that is director Jared Hess' fault, so give the film another chance, will you?

Forgetting about all of its negative ubiquity, we're still impressed by the director/co-writer's bizarrely singular world, a rural town that doesn't seem completely of our time yet doesn't feel ancient, either. The film's cavalcade of quirky, one-of-a-kind characters only adds to the strangeness; throw it all together and you've got a highly quotable and unique pop culture phenomenon with strengths that extend well beyond ligers and “fat lard” llamas.

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