242. Monsters, Inc.

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Movie: Monsters, Inc.

Release Date: November 2, 2001

Director: Pete Docter

Starring: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, Jennifer Tilly.

Tag Lines: “Monsters, Inc.: We Scare Because We Care.”

“You Won’t Believe Your Eye.”

“We Think They Are Scary, But Really We Scare Them!”

“Since the very first bedtime, all around the world, children have known that once their mothers and fathers tuck them in, and shut off the light, that there are MONSTERS hiding in their closets, waiting to emerge! What they don’t know is: it’s nothing personal. It’s just their job.”

Relevance: If you have a young child, the movies you rent are altered quite a bit from when you didn’t have said child. And even if you are not a fan of Disney movies, you watch them. A lot. And that was pretty much my life. A trip to the rental store with my son meant Disney, Disney, Disney. Now overall I am not a huge fan but I have enjoyed a few of their films. Thankfully, as repetition ran rampant in my house.

In the Spring of 2002, my son had just turned five and ‘Monsters, Inc.’ was the latest title available for us to rent. So of course that is what we did. Like all of Disney’s movies, I am a tad skeptical at first and usually have a book next to me when we watch it in case I get bored. However this was a Pixar film and up to that point their batting average with both me and my son was really high, so I probably had a little more optimism than skepticism.

Come to find out, I never did need that book I had next to me. Both me and my son absolutely loved ‘Monsters, Inc.’ It was a lovable, charming, hysterical film that I enjoyed rather than just endured. There were lots of laughs and gags for parents peppered throughout to keep me entertained and enough silliness to do the same for my son. It became one of my son’s favorites and to no surprise, he watched it over and over again.

One of my son’s usual Christmas gifts from his Grandmother, my mom, was the latest Disney VHS. She was a huge fan of their movies and wanted to make sure her grandchildren had the entire collection readily available. So Christmas of 2002 meant ‘Monsters, Inc.’ in our stocking. And it was a welcome gift. My son, almost six by that time, would watch and re-watch the movie, make everyone who hadn’t seen it yet watch it with him and even perform many of the scenes from the movie when it wasn’t on. His favorite character was Roz and he had her impersonation down cold, and I was a proud papa. My son caught the performing bug. Although hearing that voice day in and day out over a course of six months can rattle one’s nerves.

Sadly the performance bug was only brief and the impersonations stopped, but the love for ‘Monsters, Inc.’ did not. The title made the transition form VHS to DVD and is still a part of our movie collection. Throughout the years, my son has watched it numerous times, and if I could I was right there with him. It always made us laugh. It always made me tear up a bit. And it continued Pixar’s winning streak for us and boosted up my fondness for Disney a little bit more.

Today’s Thoughts: When I told my son that today’s movie was ‘Monsters, Inc.,’ he replied, “Good movie.” And then he walked away. For my twenty-three year old though, that is a rave review. Although I thought I would be able to convince him to watch it with me today, I sadly watched ‘Monsters, Inc.’ alone. Totally his loss.

I absolutely adore this movie. Even at forty-nine years old, I laughed out loud numerous times. It’s just really funny. The story itself is original, creative and fun and has a beautiful heart to it. The voice cast is impeccable. John Goodman and Billy Crystal are so great together, even though they probably recorded their parts separately. The chemistry between them is fantastic. “Put that thing back where it came from or so help me! It’s a musical!” Priceless.

John Ratzenberger who has become somewhat of a staple for Pixar is hilarious as The Abominable Snowman. I could have totally watched a spin-off with that character. I mean…”Abominable. Can you believe that? Do I look abominable to you? Why can’t they call me the Adorable Snowman, or the Agreeable Snowman, for crying out loud? I’m a nice guy. Snow cone?”

Jennifer Tilly is equally hilarious with all of her “Googlie Bear’s” as Celia Mae. Her (and her snakes) made me smile numerous times, but the line that kills me every time: “Sushi? Sushi? You think this is about sushi?” Every. Time.

‘Monsters, Inc.’ is the second of nine Animated films (see 279. Mulan for the first), and the first Pixar film on my list of most influential movies of all time. It is a wonderful film for both young and old and one that should be watched over and over again.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song, “If I Didn’t Have You,” Randy Newman (winner), Academy Award for Best Music, Original Score, Randy Newman (nomination), Academy Award for Best Sound Editing, Gary Rydstrom, Michael Silvers (nomination), Academy Award for Best Animated Feature (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Feature Film (winner), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Animated Feature (nomination), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Animation, Pete Docter, David Silverman, Lee Unkrich (nomination), New York Film Critics Association Award for Best Animated Film (nomination).

Ways to Watch: YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime, Vudu, Disney+, DVD Availability.

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