For previous generations of college students, the name Napoleon stirred up images of a short, French emperor obsessed with world domination and putting his hand up his shirt.
Recently, however, the name is being associated with images of snow boots, big sleeves, one percent milk and “ligers” in correlation with the newest “it” film: Napoleon Dynamite.
“When I first saw it I thought to myself, ‘Is this seriously happening?'” said first-year Christy Emerson.
But Emerson’s early confusion eventually turned into love for the campy film. In fact, Emerson took her fervor for Napoleon and created a fan club on the chic new college website, thefacebook.com.
Within a week, the group, called Napoleon Dynamite Alliance, had over 60 members at Eastern.
“The movie’s so easy to quote, and all the lines are funny,” Emerson said. Furthermore, she explained the film’s nostalgic value to college students is due to its use of token ’80s and ’90s memorabilia (i.e. side ponytails and music by Jamiroquai).
Not everyone, however, holds Napoleon on such a high pedestal.
“The movie didn’t have a plot,” said sophomore Jackie Ranck. “It was really stupid, which is probably why it’s funny.”
Ranck believes Napoleon’s phenomenal success is grounded in fans’ ability to connect with the day-to-day vibe of the film.
“The movie shows a lot of brainless activity, and Napoleon doesn’t care about anything. People can relate with the characters and monotony,” Ranck said.
Napoleon Dynamite was directed by Jared Hess, who also wrote the film with his wife Jerusha. Napoleon was based on Jared Hess’s award-winning Peluca, a short film he made in film school.
Regardless of whether students have embraced Napoleon with open arms or given it a roundhouse kick to the face, the film’s success is undeniable. With the film’s official website boasting a 150,000 member fan club, Napoleon has become a staple in pop culture.
But whether or not Napoleon’s popularity will last is still debatable.”Napoleon’s a definite fad”, said sophomore Matt Gordon, “because people quote the movie all the time and will eventually tire of it. I don’t think it has stay-power, but I could be wrong.”
Only time will tell if Napoleon is nothing more than a fad or here to stay, always and forever.