This was supposed to be the beginning of a new era, built around a new kind of pop culture. But when the director of Napoleon Dynamite's new film can't even get a national release, the dream is surely in danger.
This has been a harrowing week for Hoodie Nation, with setbacks that make the Democratic Party's election losses look like a day at the beach. First off there was the stunning news that hipster warhorse HBO's Flight of the Conchords show might have reached the end of its run.
And now on the heels of that debacle comes word that Fox Searchlight, distributor of Gentleman Broncos, the new film by Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess, featuring(!) for the love of God(!), Conchord Jermaine Clement, is pulling the plug on the film's national release, after its one week run in LA and New York.
The film seemingly had everything; a plotline built around a young fantasy fiction writer, exotic 70's costumes, characters with funny pets — all created by the auteur of the Quirky Filmmakers Bible Napoleon Dynamite. But after a week in New York and LA where it did so-so box office and received miserable reviews from critics who are clearly just jealous, Searchlight decided to stop the bleeding and forgo the expense of a national release.
And to add insult to injury, the news first leaked out on Roger Ebert's Twitter feed of all the non-hipster places (although Ebert tweeting has just about come full circle now and is scheduled to be cool again sometime mid-to-late next week).
So for Hoodie pundits, there are several ways to spin this news. Putting on our Hoodie Pundit pom-pomed ski cap, first of all, just getting real, who cares if people outside of New York and Los Angeles see it? I mean, why were we going to show Broncos to them in the first place? Do those people even understand what quirk is? Do they even know that back in the early 80's people wore Members Only jackets and what that meant? So seriously, hell with them.
Second, looking at the big picture, let's not forget that quirk remains an extremely viable artform; (500) Days of Summer has grossed almost $50 million to date. Owl City is at the top of the record charts. The Fantastic Mr. Fox is being well received. And Jason Schwartzman's show was just renewed by HBO. So there is no cause for panic. While we can all admit, these events did not go as we would have liked, the state of Hoodie Nation is strong and still on its way to being the majority party of pop culture for decades to come.
Third, you can't beat something with nothing. You want to knock off the Quirkers but with what? Hip Hop? Maybe if you can open a time portal back to 2003. Country? I don't think Taylor Swift would last five seconds on the mean streets of Williamsburg. Emo has been co-opted...So what else've you got?
No movement around has the stature to take on Hoodie Nation, to challenge it block to block, apartment to apartment for the rulership of America's cool people.
They may say Quirk is over; but in the eyes of its people, it's just getting started.