Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Gift of Dynamite

 It gets me every time.
I don't know exactly why.

Maybe it's the way he's so earnest and concentrated.
Maybe it's because it is such a bizarre and true act of friendship.
Maybe it's because it's such a statement.

Every time.
He dances, I cry.
I have seen the movie several times. I own it. The first time I watched it, I was taken completely by surprise. I knew the dance scene was coming, could feel it all heading that way. I expected to laugh. But no. The tears sprung up and I made some sort of chiffon excuse to leave the room and collect myself. Now when I watch it, I know it's coming. I know the whole thing by heart. And still, I cry.

Maybe it's because he is so buoyant throughout the movie.
Maybe it's because I know that some of the most interesting people aren't always the most popular.
Maybe it's the triumph of something genuine, if strange, over the false hierarchy of high school.
Maybe it's because I admire the strength it takes to just be your own weird self.

I don't really identify with him personally. His plight was not mine in any sort of obvious way. Mine are not the cringing tears of all too familiar recognition. I know the movie is supposed to be funny, and it is. But usually the things we find the funniest, hit the closest to home. My home would have been across town from his. I would have been the girl who is embarrassed by her friends' meanness yet too afraid to stand up for him. So I cry.

Maybe it's because sometimes the least appreciated people are the strongest because they endure.
Maybe it's because it's so self conscious and raw.
Maybe they're tears of joy, though.
Maybe I'm so glad to see someone finally stand up and dance.

Every time.
He dances, I cry.

This was written for Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop. Check out her blog & all the fun stuff she has going on. This is a response to one of this week's writing prompts: 'What is it about that movie that makes you cry every time?'


  1. That's great. I was worried while reading it that you wouldn't divulge what movie it was. What a sweet thing to have written. I love posts that come from out of nowhere, in a way.

  2. Wonderful writing! I'm sorry I haven't seen the movie before. I will make a point of doing so very soon. Steel Magnolias is one of those movies for me. "Armacion" is the WV. Sounds like a good one for the Balderdash game.

  3. I always tear up at that scene as well, which my husband finds bizarre. It's very touching, though that's not the immediate, obviouse reaction to his dance. Lovely-written post.

  4. I am one of the 5 human beings on the planet who has never seen that movie. Now maybe I will, because this makes it sound beautiful!

  5. I also love that scene and I cringe a bit at the awkwardness, yet celebrate at the boldness with which he carries it out.

    Side note ... hanging out with Green Goose today and her lovely macaw parrot talks all the time. My favorite conversation he's had with himself today is "Shut. Up!" "Idiot." "That's a no, no!" "Friggin idiot." "Shhh."

    I laugh and cry alligator tears.

  6. Thanks for the kind words, all. I highly recommend the movie if you haven't seen it. So glad I'm not the only one that cries a little bit at that scene.
    @M - put down the parrot and slowly walk away.

  7. I've never seen the whole thing--only bits and pieces when I've walked through when the kids have been watching it. This post definitely makes me want to see it.

  8. What a fabulous post. I never expected Napoleon Dynamite to make someone tear up. I never thought about it that way before, but you're so right. Beautifully written.

  9. @ Masked Mom - As a John Hughes deconstructionist, you should definitely watch it. Not quite the same ambiance as a Hughes film, but a lot of the same themes.
    @ Melissa - Hello! Thanks for stopping by and thank you for your kind words. I'm not entirely sure it was meant to make someone tear up, alas...

  10. Beautifully written and one of my favorite films. If we all danced each day with such intent, I'm convinced the world would be a better place.

  11. @mauishopgirl - Thank you. And I completely agree.


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