So, I see an awful lot of movies in the theatre. When summer rolls around, I can usually be expected to have seen one new film a week – not as much as post-Thanksgiving, pre-New Years, when all the Oscar-bait films come out, but still more than the average moviegoer. Sad films, happy films, funny films, weird films: as long as it doesn’t fall under the category “gratuitous slasher flick” I’m typically going to see it. And if I love it/hate it, I’ll talk about it. Forever.
This past weekend my husband and I went to see Monsters University, which fell under the umbrella of “liked it, didn’t love it, but had some great parts.” For a sequel it was certainly strong, and it’s hard to go wrong with Nathan Fillion and Helen Mirren playing bad guys in the same movie. The film is very much a creation story; we see Mike and Sully meet during their Freshman year at school, quickly become enemies, begin to work together, learn from each other, and then finally become friends and colleagues. Monsters U, the school itself, is prestigious and honorable, and it has a typical division of clubs and cliques: jocks, hot chicks, emo kids, nerds, and weirdos. They’re all pitted against each other during the school’s monster triathlon, the Scare Games, which consists of a series of trials to choose the best Scarers on campus. One of the trials – called “Don’t Wake the Parent” – takes place in the university’s library. Can you see where this is going? I could, and it was glorious!
The “Parent” in the trial’s scenario is of course the curmudgeonly, be-speckled, old lady/squid-like librarian who hates noise and has a penchant for chucking ne’er-do-well students into the lake outside. It’s over the top and silly and so much damn fun. She’s everything a Freshman might expect from their university librarian, especially if the university in question is as old fashioned as Monsters U. Look at all those books! The wood paneling! HER OUTFIT! Of course the library is destroyed when the librarian furiously lashes out, but you just know part of her enjoyed putting it back together again. It’s gloriously over the top (really, could they have made her any uglier?) but I just can’t bring myself to roll my eyes. Sometimes you just have to laugh.
Considering summer movies and surprisingly fun librarian cameos, did you know that last year had a similar set up? The Spider-man reboot (The Amazing Spider-Man starring Andrew Garfield) included a scene in which the entire school was destroyed during an epic fight between Spidey and the Lizard. The two crash through a wall – surprisingly easy to do in comic book movies – and on the other side? The school library, featuring none other than the legendary Stan Lee as the oblivious school librarian. He’s rocking out to his old guy muzak and humming to himself as his library is destroyed behind him. See the whole scene here:
Reel Librarians had a great write-up of this scene, as well as other Comic Relief librarians, but I think it’s worth mentioning that perhaps the reason our profession keeps showing up in these summer blockbuster films is because the profession is immediately recognizable as light, good fun. We don’t need back story for why Monsters U librarian is so bent on shushing students – she’s a librarian! We don’t need to know why bow tie-clad Stan Lee doesn’t notice his quaint little library falling to pieces around him – duh, he’s a librarian! Like I’ve said before, sometimes you just have to laugh.
What do you think? Have you seen Monsters University yet? Looking forward to the next Spider-Man? Do you think summer 2014 will bring us another librarian cameo?