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(2004), PG
Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
September 3, 2004
71 out of 100

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If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

(2004), PG -- you will probably leave not certain whether you liked it or not.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Access Films, MTV Films, Napoleon Pictures Limited
Distribution (US): Fox Searchlight Pictures, MTV Films, Paramount Pictures
Director(s): Jared Hess
Producer(s): Jeremy Coon, Jeremy Coon, Sean Covel, Frederick Wedler, Jory Weitz, Chris Wyatt
Written by: Jared Hess, Jerusha Hess
Cinematography/Camera: Munn Powell
Music: John Swihart
Film Editing: Jeremy Coon
Casting: Marty Fresca, Jory Weitz
Production Design: Cory Lorenzen
Art Direction: Curt Jensen
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

Dry wit. Not much substance. Eighty-seven uneventful minutes except for a school dance and a student body president election. A retelling of the story of every nerd and every misfit in every high school rolled up into one -- Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder) -- the king of "It ain't good enough, no matter what 'it' is." But Napoleon Dynamite can grow on you if your let it. If you watch it you will probably leave not certain whether you liked it or not while wanting to like it battles with the discomfort it left with you.

Napoleon lives with his "working" grandmother (Sandy Martin who has very little screentime). She traipses off to somewhere, leaving Napoleon's sleaze living-in-the-past Uncle Rico (Jon Gries) in charge of Napoleon and his equally misfit older brother Kip (Aaron Ruell) who spends hours each day in Internet chatrooms, building himself into anything he dreams of being.

Napoleon is at the very bottom of the social totem pole, subject to intense and frequent ridicule and physical tormenting. Napoleon has but one friend ... the new kid Pedro (Efren Ramirez). One of the popular girls, Summer (Haylie Duff) runs for class president. As a social warfare maneuver, Napoleon convinces Pedro to run against Summer. After a speech by each candidate a little skit is required of the candidates. Napoleon and Pedro did not know this. Caught unprepared, Napoleon decided to do a dance routine he had just learned by watching a video tape. It proved more helpful to Pedro's campaign than Pedro's speech. And Napoleon finds a girlfriend, Deb (Tina Majorino).

Napoleon Dynamite is rated PG for thematic elements (whatever that means) and language. With a final CAP score of 71 it earns a place among the scores earned by PG movies in the comparative baseline database (86 to 68 out of 100) but in the lower half of the scoring range, making it a "hard" PG. The only uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary I could find in the cut I saw was the conversational snippet of being angered and the use of the name of eternal fire as an expletive in a background song. But there were several uses of the euphemism of the most foul of the foul words which where treated not as the most foul of the foul words but the same as one of the three/four letter words.

The largest single loss of points was due to many lies. Together with several uses of the euphemism of the most foul of the foul words, these two culprits plus a few instances of ridicule reduced the Impudence/Hate score to equivalent to some R-rated movies. [Prov. 22:11] Sexual Immorality lost about half of its starting 100 points due to Uncle Rico trying to sell breast enhancements to women including a teenager, pelvic thrusts in dance, and a couple other typical indications of Hollywood's fascination with the body. It was clear by some of Rico's tactics that his interests were not limited to sales, especially regarding the teen girl. [Col. 3:5] Wanton Violence/Crime lost about a fourth of its starting 100 points to physical torment several times and assault to commit theft. [Hab. 2:9] Offense to God found four uses of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive, causing the loss of a little over one third of the starting 100 points. [Deut. 5:11] But each of Drugs/Alcohol and Murder/Suicide earned the maximum of 100 points, making the film equivalent to G-rated movies in these two investigation areas. The listing in the Findings/Scoring section will reveal all that was found.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Prov. 22:11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.
  • Col. 3:5 Put to death [defeat, expunge, deprive of power, destroy the strength of], therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
  • Hab. 2:9 Woe to him who builds his realm by unjust gain to set his nest on high, to escape the clutches of ruin!
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or thoughtful discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Rom. 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change [warp, distort, falsely represent, situationally redefine, counterfeit, conditionally apply] the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The heart of the CAP Analysis Model)

    Napoleon Dynamite (2004) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • physical torment, repeatedly
  • physical assault to commit theft

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • drawing of flatulence
  • five uses of the euphemism for the most foul of the foul words
  • lies, repeatedly
  • two uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • ridicule, repeatedly

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • crotch injury
  • sexual reference
  • attention to crotch
  • retreated attempts to sell breast enlargements to women with suggestive comments, once to a teenager
  • pelvic thrusts in dance, repeatedly

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • none noted

    Offense to God (O)
  • four uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • none noted



    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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