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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Napoleon Dynamite feature night at Keswick theater

In-costume audience members participate in a dance-off judged by the Napoleon Dynamite actors at the Napoleon Dynamite Live! 2023 tour. PHOTO COURTESY OF GAVIN KUEBLER ’25

“If you vote for me, all your wildest dreams will come true.”

After almost 20 years, those famous words continue to garner applause and laughter from audiences nationwide. Spoken by character Pedro Sanchez in the film “Napoleon Dynamite,” it’s one of many lines quoted on T-shirts, bumper stickers and in casual conversation. 

The off-beat comedy has become a cult classic since its release in 2004.

On April 16, The Keswick Theater in Glenside, Pennsylvania, hosted a stop on the Napoleon Dynamite Live! 2023 tour. As part of the tour, cast members Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez and Jon Gries visit local theaters like the one in Glenside to share the experience with their fans. 

“We really do love this film so much. That’s why we come out and do this. We love this interactivity,” said Gries, who portrays Uncle Rico in the film.

The actors began the night with several segments, including a musical performance, an impromptu skit and anecdotes about how the production process had been, for them, as hilarious and impactful as the movie itself.

“It was great because I got to meet and work with Jon Heder and Jon Gries, and for 20 years now, these guys have been my brothers,” said Ramirez, who portrays Pedro Sanchez.

The film’s attempts to capture an awkward style of humor, by using exaggerated teenage mannerisms to depict relatable adolescent scenarios, is part of why it is a fan favorite. 

“I think it was just the first movie that made me fall out of my seat laughing,” said Rosario Laspina, who lives in Collegeville, Pennsylvania and who attended the event’s cast meet-and-greet with his brother. “I feel like a lot of people hate on it, but I honestly love the nerdy style of comedy.”

Donna Rachuba from West Deptford, New Jersey, attended the event to spend her birthday watching what she said was her favorite movie.

“This movie came out when I was in dental school,” Rachuba said. “I love watching this movie because it can just take me back.”

Many audience members were most excited to see Heder, who portrayed the titular Napoleon Dynamite himself.

Heder was just as enthusiastic about the ability to show his appreciation for those who have supported him over the years. He said fans’ stories over the years have been an indescribable inspiration to himself and everyone involved in the making of “Napoleon Dynamite,” and that he cherishes the ability to reach out to the community.

“It has totally changed us, changed me, and I don’t ever want to forget that we have this effect,” said Heder. 

Napoleon Dynamite Live! will continue the tour with its last two stops in Richmond, Virginia, on Sept. 2 and in Fort Wayne, Indiana on Jan. 18, 2024.

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Gavin Kuebler
Gavin Kuebler, Assistant Features Editor
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