Haylie Duff, Shondrella Avery, Carmen Brady, Diedrich Bader, Jon Heder, Sandy Martin, Jared Hess, Tina Majorino, Efren Ramirez

A decade has passed since the world was introduced to Napoleon Dynamite. Co-written and directed by Jared Hess, the small indie took off after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival. It ended up being one of the most profitable films of 2004. It starred a cast of mostly unknowns in a quirky and awkward but hilarious and quotable PG-rated tale of high school struggles. At the center was one of the most unique characters in recent cinematic history. Played by Jon Heder, Napoleon Dynamite was a persona no one had seen before and few would soon forget.

Now the film is celebrating its 10th anniversary. On June 9, a statue dedicated to the film was erected on the 20th Century Fox lot in Los Angeles, CA (seen above), and that day the cast and crew attended a special 10th anniversary screening of the film presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This was no normal screening though. Heder, Hess and host Will Forte were given microphones and did a live commentary during the film, offering up a ton of cool pieces of trivia about the production.

Below, read 20 things we learned about Napoleon Dynamite from the 10th anniversary screening. Read More »

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Why We Go To The Sundance Film Festival

NOTE: We ran this article in 2011, 2012, 2013 and have updated it for 2014.

The Sundance Film Festival is the best known film festival in the United States. Say the word “Sundance” to anyone, film lover or not, and chances are they’ve heard of the festival. As a movie blog though, the problem with covering Sundance is that virtually all of the movies are brand new. We haven’t heard of them, you haven’t heard of them, so why would you even care about them?

More than any of the casting news, trailers or film stills that we post on a daily basis, what happens in that small corner of Utah for a little over a week in January is probably the most important movie event of the year. Even so, talk to the most seasoned movie fan and they don’t spend half as much time focusing on what’s going on at Sundance as they do bitching about movies that came out three years ago. Plain and simple, the best films that you will see in theaters for the next 12 months are being shown at Sundance over the next week and a half. And while you probably haven’t heard of them in January, you’ll definitely have heard of them by December. Don’t you want in on the ground floor?

For the next 7 days myself, Russ Fischer and Peter Sciretta will be in Park City, Utah at the Sundance Film Festival. And while you might not be eager to click and read about a movie you haven’t heard of yet, we urge you to do so. Some of the films that people hadn’t heard of when they played Sundance in the past are films like Saw, The Blair Witch Project, Donnie Darko, 28 Days Later, Napoleon Dynamite, Memento, Bottle Rocket, Clerks, Reservoir Dogs and The Usual Suspects. Think of all the movies that have been made since because filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, Wes Anderson, Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino and Bryan Singer broke out at the Sundance Film Festival. Who is the breakout star this year? You’ll have to follow our coverage to find out.

Still not convinced? We’ve compiled even more films that you know and love that got their start at Sundance after the jump. Read More »

A few months ago we showed you the first trailer for Napoleon Dynamite: The Animated Series, which offered a brief glimpse at the new show. At this year’s Comic-Con, FOX brought out several clips to give the audience a better taste of what to expect.

Based on 2004′s sleeper hit indie, the new show will see all of the main cast from the movie — Jon Heder, Aaron Ruell, Efren Ramirez, Tina Majorino, Sandy Martin, Jon Gries, and Diedrich Bader — revisiting the now-animated town of Preston, Idaho to lend their voices to their cartoon counterparts. Jared Hess and Jerusha Hess, who created the film, are executive producing along with Mike Scully (The Simpsons). Watch the clips after the jump.

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napoleon_dynamite_animated_01

Last May it was announced that 20th Century Fox was developing an animated television series based on the 2004 Fox Searchlight film Napoleon Dynamite. A year later, Fox has released the first trailer for the upcoming series, Napoleon Dynamite: The Animated Series. The one minute promo is only a teaser, as the series won’t air until Midseason 2012. Looks pretty much like you would expect, the question is: Is it still funny or are they capitalizing on the popularity of the 2004 indie a little too late? Watch the promo trailer now embedded after the jump. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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The United States of Movies Map

Subtonix decided to create a map of the United States by pinpointing the movies which best represent each of the 50 states. For example, New Jersey is Clerks and Kansas is The Wizard of Oz. There will likely be some debate over some of these choices (is Fast Times at Ridgemont High the ultimate representation of California?) but it is an interesting concept none the less. It’s also interesting to note that more Coen Brothers films appear on the map than any other filmmaker. Hit the jump to see the whole map, and click to enlarge.

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VOTD: 15 Years of Fox Searchlight

Fox Searchlight released their first film, The Brothers McMullen, in 1995. This year the minimajor is celebrating their 15th anniversary. Anyone who reads /Film knows that I tend to love the type of films that Searchlight picks up at Sundance, and more recently, the films Searchlight has been producing in house (Aronofsky’s Black Swan, Boyle’s 127 Hours, Romanke’s Never Let Me Go to name a few). /Film reader Kees van Dijkhuizen put together a short video showcasing some of the great films Searchlight has brought up over the last 15 years. You might remember that Kees created some of the video montages we’ve posted in VOTD in past years including Cinema 2009: 1 Year, 342 Movies, 12 Months of Production, 7 Minutes and the movies of Cinema 2008. It looks like someone at Fox saw his work and commissioned the video editor to create this video for Fox Searchlight 15th anniversary. Here is Kees description:

15 Years of Drama, Compassion, Icons, Romance and Challenges. Some of the best indie flicks came were brought to us by Fox Searchlight, and to celebrate their 15 year anniversary, here’s a quick recap of what they have brought us. Some of the movies featured include Juno, The Darjeeling Limited, Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later, Sunshine, (500) Days of Summer, Napoleon Dynamite, The Last King of Scotland, Crazy Heart, Sexy Beast, One Hour Photo and Thirteen.

Watch the video now embedded after the jump.

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Gosh! Now it’ll be super easy for Napoleon Dynamite to get extra chap stick, tame a wild stallion or go off some sweet jumps because it’ll be drawn for him. Fox has picked up a six-episode animated TV version of the 2004 cult film which launched the careers of director Jared Hess and star Jon Heder. All the original cast members will be providing voices for the show which will be produced and written by Hess, his wife Jerusha Hess and Simpsons alum Mike Scully. Simultaneously, Fox also green lit another animated show called Allen Gregory which is created by Jonah Hill and Andrew Mogel and Jarrad Paul, who wrote Yes Man. Hit the jump for more info on both shows and the uncropped hight res version of the Dynamite art. Read More »

VOTD: The 100 Greatest Movie Insults

Pajiba has edited another wonderful montage of movie clips, this time compiling the 100 greatest movie insults of all time in under 10 minutes. Watch the video now embedded after the jump.
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