Preston, Idaho: Home of Napoleon Dynamite
Gosh! Preston is the sweetest freaking town in Idaho! Well… that might be a stretch, but at least it was the setting for one of the past decade’s most popular cult films: Napoleon Dynamite. We took a self-guided driving tour of Preston, and ended up with an appreciation for what life in small-town southeastern Idaho must be like.
First, a quick confession: I didn’t particularly like Napoleon Dynamite. For a comedy, it was strangely unfunny. The kind of film that uses the wackiness of its characters as a substitute for actual humor. I never understood the hype around the film; if I wanted to watch weird people act goofy, I could just turn on Honey Boo Boo.
But we enjoyed our tour of Preston. We drove past the homes of both Napoleon and his buddy Pedro, and the high school they attended. We went inside the thrift store where Napoleon bought his sweet suit. And we got to see the Pop n’ Pin: the bowling alley frequented by Kip and Uncle Rico.
Preston itself is an unassuming town of about 5000, heavily Mormon, without a lot to recommend it besides the undying mythos of Napoleon Dynamite. It’s a safe assumption that any tourism Preston sees is from the movie’s many fan-boys. And every time we stopped to take a picture of a store or house that had appeared in the film, I felt distinctly embarrassed. The last thing in the world I want to be confused with is a Napoleon Dynamite fan-boy!