Films Turning 20 In 2024

While “Shrek 2” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” topped the global box office, one of the most talked-about, buzzworthy films of 2004 wasn’t a sci-fi, superhero, or fantasy movie. Instead, it was the eccentric indie goofball comedy “Napoleon Dynamite,” which became an instant favorite on high school and college campuses around the country, with a story any student could identify with in one way or another.

Written and directed by Jared Hess, “Napoleon Dynamite” stars Jon Heder as the titular teen, a geeky, gawky high schooler who aimlessly drifts through school with his head in the clouds. An object of ridicule and bullying, Napoleon finds camaraderie with exchange student Pedro (Efren Ramirez) and the meek and mopey Deb (Tina Majorino), both fellow outcasts. While they prepare for the school’s big dance — which means finding dates – the three work together to try and get Pedro elected class president.

A film with an entirely unknown cast and a minuscule budget, “Napoleon Dynamite” was thrust into the limelight when it became the sudden darling of the indie circuit. Endlessly quirky, the film is a perennial favorite among a certain demographic, but it’s still one of those movies we can’t believe is now two decades old — older than most of its audience was when it debuted.

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