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Published: Thursday, 4/21/2005

Fans' frenzy proves Napoleon is still Dynamite

BY LUKE SHOCKMAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
'Napoleon Dynamite' cast member Efren Ramirez, left, looks on as fellow actor Aaron Ruell high-fives a fan at BGSU. 'Napoleon Dynamite' cast member Efren Ramirez, left, looks on as fellow actor Aaron Ruell high-fives a fan at BGSU.
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Turns out, you've got to really chuck a piece of steak at a passing bicyclist if you want a good sound effect when it smacks him in the face.

It also turns out that if you're testing a time machine your little brother purchased on eBay, you'd better not strap it to your other brother's head and plug it in.

And finally, truth be told, Uncle Rico in real life is "pretty hot, for an old guy."

These and other important behind-the-scenes details were revealed last night at Bowling Green State University when three cast members from the popular movie Napoleon Dynamite came to campus: Jon Gries (Uncle Rico), Efren Ramirez (Pedro), and Aaron Ruell (Kip).

What? You didn't like Napoleon Dynamite? Didn't even see the movie?

As the film's main character, Napoleon, would likely suggest: Idiots!

Hundreds of people like Krista Dotson, 16, a Sylvania Southview student, came out to BGSU to meet the cast members because they just can't get enough.

"I watch it almost every day. It's the best movie ever," Krista said.

"It's the great acting skills," chimed in her friend, Carl Freckelton, 16, another Southview student.

Sweet, Carl. Now that's what I'm talking about.

Quick recap for those who have not seen the movie: Napoleon is a nerd who lives with his grandmother and his brother in a small Idaho town. Unfortunately for him, Napoleon lacks the necessary "skills" to meet a lot of "babes." His brother, Kip, thinks Napoleon is "jealous that I've been chatting online with babes. All day."

Much chaos ensues when Napoleon and his new-found friend, Pedro, a transfer student, join forces to elect Pedro student body president. Napoleon's Uncle Rico, who sells a generic version of Tupperware and claims he can chuck a football a quarter-mile, does not make this quest easy. A llama, who does not like ham, makes some appearances.

Chuck Coletta, a film teacher at BGSU who moderated yesterday's sessions, said he was surprised the film turned out to be such a hit, but acknowledged its popularity among the college crowd.

"Kids in my class have seen it 15 or 20 times. These kids could write out the whole movie if they had to," he said. "I mentioned they were coming to speak to our class and it was like Elvis was coming. "

The appearance by the three cast members mostly consisted of them fielding questions from their fans. Among them:

Will there be a sequel? No.

Are they available? No, Kip's been married seven years, and Pedro and Uncle Rico have girlfriends.

How did Pedro get the part? "I got a call from God, and he said, 'Pedro,' and I said, 'what?' "

How many times did Uncle Rico throw a steak at Napoleon? Three. The third time he chucked it as hard as he could and bruised Napoleon.

Where did Pedro's cousins come from (The ones who help Pedro grant "protection" to his supporters). The filmmakers found them in a grocery store in Preston, Idaho.

Where did the idea for that time-machine scene come from? Kip, in real life, has a younger brother who actually ordered a time machine on eBay, which was subsequently tested on another brother with poor results.

What should you do as a wannabe filmmaker when, like the makers of this movie, your ideas are initially rejected? Keep trying. Remember, as Kip tells Napoleon, there's someone out there for you.

Peace out.

Contact Luke Shockman at:

lshockman@theblade.com

or 419-724-6084.



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