“I wrote 63 songs this year. They’re all about Jeter.” Just kidding. The game we love, the players we hate, and more.

Culture and Criticism

From Norman Mailer to Wendy Pepper — everything on film, TV, books, music, and snacks (shut up, raisins), plus the Girls’ Bike Club.

Donors Choose and Contests

Helping public schools, winning prizes, sending a crazy lady in a tomato costume out in public.

Stories, True and Otherwise

Monologues, travelogues, fiction, and fart humor. And hens. Don’t forget the hens.

The Vine

The Tomato Nation advice column addresses your questions on etiquette, grammar, romance, and pet misbehavior. Ask The Readers about books or fashion today!

Home » Culture and Criticism, Featured

The Poppy-Fields Movie Couch Of Fame: Napoleon Dynamite

Submitted by on November 9, 2017 – 8:48 AM9 Comments

20th Century Fox


Can anyone else believe Napoleon Dynamite is 13 years old? I can’t. Today’s nomination from Annemarie is three years old, but let’s hope she’s still behind it (hee). Here’s her case for its cushion on the PFM Couch Of Fame.

  • lengthy? 96 minutes.
  • familiar/frequent? Played often on Comedy Central and E!, sometimes on MTV and VH1. Some stations won’t show the five-minute epilogue at the end of the movie, which is tragically eliminates the “Wanna have a catch” moment (see below).
  • classic/award-winner? Nominated for several Independent Spirit Awards; won Best Movie at the MTV Movie Awards and Teen Choice Awards. So you know it’s a classic.
  • “Greetings, Professor Falken” (big payoff/long-shot victory a la WarGames)? “Your speech is up next. Your skit had better be good.” Well, it wasn’t a skit, but oh was it good! Reminiscent of the African Ant Eater Ritual which Ronald Miller rocked at the Homecoming Dance in Can’t Buy Me Love, it starts with “huh?” and ends with “Yessssssss!”
  • “Wanna have a catch?” (Pavlovian tear-jerk; anything with dads opens the ducts for this guy)? “We met in a chat room | Now our love can fully bloom | Sure the World Wide Web is great | But you, you make me salivate | Yes, I love technology | But not as much as you, you see | But I still love technology | Always and forever.” Sniff!
  • quote-fest? “You wanna play me?” “Your mom goes to college.” “How much you want to bet I can throw a football over them mountains?” “Break the wrist, walk away.”
  • caper-ish or -adjacent camaraderie? “So me and you are pretty much friends by now, right?” “Yes.” “So, you got my back and everything?” “What?” “Never mind.” Sniff!
  • “forget you, melon farmer” (you own it, but will still watch bowdlerized TV verzh) My husband and I bought the movie and brought it to our friends’ house to watch together. We have similar senses of humor, we thought, surely they’ll love it as much as we do. Five minutes into the movie we’re giggling (“Whatever I FEEL like I wanna do. Gosh!”) and they’re like…really? About a year later we get a call from them all, “You HAVE to see this movie. You might not like it, ’cause it’s out there, but…anyway it’s called Napoleon Dynamite? Have you seen it?” Gah!

This one isn’t a CoF-er for me, but I do remember enjoying it when I first saw it — and I think I rented it from…Block…buster? So this is how long ago that was — and it’s definitely still on on cable a lot. I can also attest that it still speaks to people; you still see Vote For Pedro shirts for sale out in the world.

But I also recall a lot of people haaaaaaaating it, so let’s see whether a vote for Pedro is a vote for the Couch Of Fame!

Should Napoleon Dynamite march onto the PFM Couch Of Fame?

  • No. (56%, 67 Votes)
  • Gosh! Yes. (44%, 53 Votes)

Total Voters: 120

Loading ... Loading ...

[Update 12/15/17: A little too much Napoleon, not quite enough dynamite for this one.]

The Poppy-Fields Movie Couch Of Fame is here. To nominate your own PFM, email bunting at tomatonation dot com with a rundown of the criteria and your argument for why it deserves a cushion. If I use your entry, free loot shall be thine.




  • Kari says:

    I would say yes because we decided to show it to my six-year-old (good clean fun) and ended up staying in the room and giggling through it ourselves.

  • Judy P says:

    I Really Don’t Get This Movie, but I voted yes because I can see how for the people who love it, it totally fits the criteria.

  • Margaret says:

    Love this movie! I own the DVD and watch it when I find it on tv. As an 80s kid, I love the little details like the wall mounted phone with the crazy-long curly cord. I also recently showed it to my teenager and she loves it.

  • Lindsay says:

    Jeez. Gosh, yes!

  • Jen S. 2.0 says:

    I have never seen Napoleon Dynamite, so I can’t vote, but it’s one of those movies where everything I hear about it makes me wonder what made it a hit. It sounds … deadly boring.

    Related: about 50,000 people have told me I would love Office Space. I tried to watch it once and was bored to pieces. My attention span for movies is short in the first place, but does that movie get better after the first 20 minutes?

  • Jen S. 1.0 says:

    I love Office Space because my husband and I saw it as a midnight movie on our first date!

  • Mingles' Mommy says:

    Napoleon Dynamite – still one of the weirdest movies EVER. GAWSH.

    Also @ Jen S. 2.0 – yes, Office Space DOES get better after the first 20 minutes. I think it’s deliberately boring for the first 20 minutes so you can see the contrast in Ron Livingston as the film progresses.

    I’m gonna need you to go ahead and watch that movie….thanks.

    :) :) :) :)

  • RC says:

    Wait, what happens in the first 20 mins of Office Space? IMO it kind of drags up until the hypnosis part then picks up a bit after/when Dr Cox shows up. I enjoy it well enough, though it’s a bit of an anomaly though because I’ve never been a huge Mike Judge fan (though he went to my alma mater, in the same major too! albeit about 20 years apart).

  • Mingles' Mommy says:

    @RC – I think that’s about how long it takes to get to the hypnosis part and then things pick up. I’m not totally sure… it’s been a long time since I watched it.

Leave a comment!

Please familiarize yourself with the Tomato Nation commenting policy before posting.
It is in the FAQ. Thanks, friend.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>