Among School Children
Little Miss Sunshine and Napoleon Dynamite end in triumphant dances. Both films portray outsiders. In Napoleon Dynamite, an outsider, a Mexican kid named Pedro, becomes president of his All-American Idaho high school. In Little Miss Sunshine, little Olive Hoover attempts to win a Jon-Benet-Ramsey-like little girl beauty contest. But the Hoover family realizes that winning such a beauty contest would be a defeat. There’s no success like failure, as Bob Dylan sang. Olive becomes a beautiful loser, in the Leonard Cohen phrase. Little Olive does a strip-tease. Olive is almost as chubby as Liz Taylor.
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?