Napoleon Dynamite: Like, the Best Special Edition Ever! Jared Hess

While predisposed to anger towards "special edition” DVDs, especially ones released so soon after the original, Fox gets a pass since Napoleon Dynamite was a mere curiosity during its 2004 theatrical run and only became an all-powerful cult classic following its first on-disc release. Plus, I’m the kind of fan that owns a talking Napoleon Dynamite doll ("I see you’re drinking one-percent. Is that ’cause you think you’re fat?”) and was annoyed at how chintzy the features were first time ’round. Watching Jared Hess’s visionary debut film now is an entirely different experience — every camera shot feels iconic, every line of dialogue a catchphrase. The film is actually more impressive in hindsight because it creates its time-warp universe — stuck somewhere between 1984 and 2004 — so thoroughly, from the ever-awesome Tina Majorino’s one-sided ponytail and those Pedro election T-shirts to the genius music selections and Napoleon’s Lyger obsession. There’s a veneer of hipster irony and the film could easily have just made fun of these awkward, pathetic, geeky and, in Pedro’s case, somnambulistic characters. But from Kip’s online girlfriend and grandma’s dune jumping to Napoleon’s redemption from spazz to flippin’ sweet break-dancer, the movie celebrates their eccentricities. The features are also cause for celebration, though there are a few repeats (the original B&W short film "Peluca,” the director and star commentary, the "Wedding of the Century" featurette and a few deleted scenes) most of the extras actually are. There’s a "non-linear” documentary that goes from the world premier at Sundance, where Hess worries backstage (looking at the program photos, he frets, "I’m smiling and everyone else is doing Blue Steel”) to the eventual, and now annual, "Napoleon Dynamite Festival," as well as an on-location doc. There are also new outtakes and alternate scenes, a cast commentary, awesome audition tapes and a selection of "sightings” demonstrating how deeply the movie permeated pop culture, including a 2005 spelling bee contestant confusing the judges by asking "Do the chickens have large talons?” (Fox)