From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

H is for Jared and Jerusha Hess

Now, I'm going to start off acknowledging that J and J Hess's stuff is not everybody's cup of tea. They are the couple that did Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre. Also Austenland and Gentlemen Broncos, which I submit may be their best work, though lesser known.

Whether or not you liked Napolean Dynamite, here me out. I think there are things all of us writers can learn from Jared and Jerusha Hess.

I personally think they are pretty much comedic geniuses. I watched Gentlemen Broncos the other night and basically spent two straight hours laughing my guts out.

Here's the thing. The two of them know exactly what they're doing. All of their movies have the same slow, gloriously awkward almost mockumentary feel. They work hard to perfect their specific craft, and its found its audience. A wide one.

I also just love their story. I love hearing about independent artists who just did such great work on their own weird little thing and found just enough luck that it exploded out of its niche and became this huge thing, and that's exactly what happened with Napoleon Dynamite. Nobody expected it to become what it became. But because Jared and Jerusha knew what they were going for, kept creative integrity and were business savvy, things worked out brilliantly. And that success allowed them to keep that ball rolling with Nacho Libre, where they were even able to bring in big name actors like Jack Black.

So whether or not the odd feel of their movies sits well with you, their combination of creative integrity and industry know-how is something we can all learn from. We can work hard to make our own weird little things more widely marketable, and still keep them our weird little things. That way we will find out niche, and with a dash of luck, our niche will explode.

I can't leave without one more plug for Gentlemen Broncos. I do think it may be their best movie, and I don't know why nobody's heard of it. And since it's about writers, it may interest some in this crowd. Do yourself a favor and just watch the trailer:


Sarah Allen


  1. Thanks Sarah, I will definitely give Gentlemen Broncos a go. My son has been making films since he was 10 and is now doing a film degree. Napoleon Dynamite was always one of his favourites and I learned to love it too. Like you, I'm a writer pushing towards first publication... I love sharing writers' tips, enthusiasms and advice. Your blog is great.

  2. I love movies about writers, so I will definitely have to check out Gentlemen Broncos. Hess fan here! :)

  3. I liked Napoleon Dynamite,so I;ll need to check out the others.

  4. I'm a hess fan as well. Call them what you will, but they're *real* They tell real stories in odd situations, stories that, when it all comes down to it, we can all relate to in one way or another.

  5. I thought Napoleon Dynamite was hilarious. My brother, on the other hand, hated it.
    Thank you for visiting Poetry of the Netherworld.

  6. Thank you for the movie suggestion. Love Napolean Dynomite!

  7. N.D. is THE funniest movie ever. Brilliant. I think I've watched Austenland ten times since the DVD came out. Huge fan of the Hess clan. I've got to see Gentlemen Broncos. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. I'm not a fan myself but the guys in the family loved Napolean Dynomite.


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