Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Just reach deep down and let the scary out.

Fifteen years from now, hopefully my son will be spending the summer at home after a successful freshman year of college. Maybe he'll even take his old man to a big summer movie, like we used to go to when he was little. But, if in that same summer, he ends up home earlier than expected after failing his final and getting kicked out of a college for cheating? Well, at least I'll know where he got the idea. Damn summer movies.

Monsters University is probably better than anyone expected it would be. I realize that speaking ill of Pixar is blasphemous, but after the abysmal Cars 2 [review], and the glut of inferior Disney sequels throughout the years, I think it would be fair to say this one could have been another heartless cash grab. Luckily for everyone, that's not the case. This is a highly entertaining, charming and sweet movie - and one that you could probably watch a hundred times and still not get tired of. In other words, it's a Pixar movie. Without Mater.

Setting the sequel in the years before Mike and Sully worked at Monsters, Inc. turned out to be a brilliant move. Pixar, if you can believe it, has made a college movie for kids. And while my three and a half year-old son was giggling, my wife and were laughing. A lot. Sure it's safe and simple, but isn't it supposed to be? You can't make Wall-E every year. In fact, under the bright blues and greens is a solid (though familiar) story about friendship,teamwork and overcoming adversity. And as a bonus, the whole flick is saturated in little touches that no one under the age of 17 would really understand. Meaning the movie truly has something for everyone, as cliche as that may sound.

For my son, this movie, as much as he liked it, was simply something that had to happen before the sequel to Despicable Me arrives, which he's quite convinced is already his favorite movie ever. Kids. They can be so irrationally judgmental at times. Saying something's your favorite when you haven't even seen it? Ridiculous! That's like cheering and jeering mere moments of a film, instead of just assessing it as an entire work in a logical, thoughtful manner. Anyway, here are the Yays and Boos.

  • Whoa. That Blue Umbrella movie was stunning.
  • One of the characters who cracked me up the entire time? The brilliantly average Don Carlton, aka Old Guy Who Loves Learning. Man, there was this exact guy in at least 60% of all my classes. I loved how the professors would always engage them when in doubt! Professor (pointing): You know what I'm talking about, right? Old Guy (nodding vigorously): Yes sir. Yes sir, I do.
  • But maybe even better than Don? Art. This laid back goofball (voiced by Charlie Day) was pretty funny, too. He also looked so cool, I wanted to touch him (speaking of college memories...kidding!).
  • Though, the secondary character gold medal actually goes to: Squishy's mom. This lady was hysterical. The laundry bit was funny, but her choice of tunes in the car? Her blank face still cracks me up.
  • The brief take on the more exceptionally boring classes at college was awesome as well. At MU, it's Scream Can Design with Professor Brandywine. At my school? It was MK 314 Public Relations with a man, though I forget his name, I'm positive was equal parts troll and wizard. This guy read the same 30 page document he wrote over and over. Every class. For the whole semester.
  • The Scare Games friggin' rule! While I loved the Toxicity Challenge (everybody swelling up uncontrollably), and the Teenager Challenge (a ton of great lines), the Library Challenge may have been the best. That librarian lady was intense (I think she actually scared Matty)!
  • Man, as much as I love a good dance scene, Monsters University may have the best one yet. Squishy reeling in Sully? Worth $8.50. Easily.
  • Was one of the kids Lilo? She was from Kaua'i.
  • And finally, let me go on the record officially stating my love for the lovely ladies of Python Nu Kappa. I loved every minute these ladies were on the screen. It brings me back, having sorority girls literally hiss in my general directions. Good times!
  • Not only did I kinda hate it, but I never really bought Sully as the bad guy. He was kind of a jerk.
  • Randall. You sell out.
  • Hopefully this isn't just me, but I feel all kinds of irrational hatred for adults who laugh at the played-out jokes from the previews. Sure, maybe the lady behind me works all day and never saw that slug guy racing to class gag. Fine. In my mind she's less busy mom, more huge idiot. Hmm. That sounds kind of mean. Oh well.
  • And finally, let me put my Nerd Card on the table for a second, but uh...did it make sense that they met Abominable the way that they did? I mean, wouldn't they have been a little nicer to him in Monster's, Inc. if they used to be co-workers? Just a thought. And I'm going to need that card back...so uh...yeah.
We're a year away from my son attending kindergarten, so let's table all this college talk, shall we? I mean, it's not like I sit around longing for the days when all I had to do was go to class six times. A week. For an entire semester, walking through droves of attractive girls each time. No, I hardly think about that at all.

Damn summer movies.


  1. Great review. Your Yay! parts brought me back to the fun of the movie.

  2. Reading your Yays I feel we're in the same boat....it was a family movie brings back so many memories of collage life. Fun times indeed!

    1. I'm with you. Never thought a Monsters movie would make me long for college so much. Who knew?

  3. Haha... Totally agree. I really liked the movie. I actually laughed out loud when Squishy's mom turned on her tunes. Also, was hard for me to embrace the bad guy Sulley. Whole theater cracked up at the snail, but it was Bill Hader... just saying...

    Have to disagree with the Blue Umbrella. I hated that. The animation is incredible, but it's almost the same thing as Paperman with... wait for it... Umbrellas.

    1. Damn it, Bill Hader. That charming bastard! Revealing my Grinch-like heart yet again.

      Whoa whoa whoa. You hated Blue Umbrella? Hated? That's hysterical. I imagine you going home and opening all of your umbrellas, taking a deep breath and then punching them for ripping off Paperman.

      I just thought it looked really cool.

  4. Taking my 3 year old to see it this afternoon! Can't wait.

    1. One of the sweet benefits of kids...taking them to the movies. Enjoy!

    2. Back now, and she enjoyed it. Oddly, seeing the Despicable Me 2 sign, she has also affirmed that it is her favorite movie ever. Wonder what the deal with that is? I guess the minions are like the squirrel thing in the Ice Age movies. Non-sensical comic relief that hammers in the cute factor.

    3. Glad she liked it. It was a definitely an easy watch...minus a little bit of the 'Sully is a huge jerk riding the coattails of his father' arc.

      Seriously. The minions are apparently pure comic gold as far as kids are concerned. I swear my son is starting to turn into one. He wants to go tonight (I guess it's out today?), but we're going to hold off.

      I think.

  5. I've had my eye on this for the kid-in-residence, who is 9. Glad to hear it isn't a miss. :-)

    1. Not at all. I actually think I liked it more than Despicable Me 2. And according to my son, that's the best movie ever.