Monsters University: Sometimes You're Just Not Good Enough
In Monsters University, the irrepressible Mike Wazowski trains his whole life to become a scarer. He tries the hardest, knows the most, works at improving himself day and night, but he just can't do it. He is, in the words of Dean Hardscrabble, "just not scary."
Mike has to step aside and let the larger, naturally scarier Sully (who comes from a family of famous scarers) succeed in his stead, leaving Mike to do all the paperwork and lead Sully through every move he has to make. Even after the film ends, we are treated to a credit sequence that shows us how they got to where they were in the first film: By Mike's ingenuity they climb from sorting the mail to cleaning the floors, from serving food in the canteen to working in the warehouse, until, finally, they become scarers. Well, Sully does. Mike becomes his scare assistant. How deeply fulfilling.
This is not an award that will make your parents think putting you
through four years of university was worthwhile.
The Horrifying Truth:
No matter how hard you want that dream job (be it astronaut, NBA all-star, or just the best poop-shoveler at a dairy farm) and no matter how hard you work toward getting it, sometimes you just aren't good enough. The few people who reach that level are a fraction of a fraction of the population who have the perfect combination of looks, body type, charisma, competitiveness, commitment, talent, networking skills, and luck.
In the Monsters universe, that's basically the Brad Pitt look.
Yes, there's something to be said for persistence and even making the initial attempt at landing your dream job. That can never be understated, especially to an impressionable child. But the one lesson we always leave out, the one Monsters University had balls enough to point out, is that it's just as important to recognize when you simply don't have what it takes before you dedicate your entire life to something that just isn't going to happen.
Sometimes, you just have to settle for the next-best thing. And that's not always a bad thing. Especially if you figure out a way to stay in the same industry as you originally intended. No, you may not be dong-blessed enough to star in your own porno, but you can sure as hell hold the boom mic while other people slap nasties.
Thanks, Pixar. My kid is now crying into her breakfast cereal because she just found out she'll never get to ride a unicorn.
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For more from Matt, check out 6 Reasons Burton's Willy Wonka Is Actually A Serial Killer. Then check out 7 Insane Easter Eggs Hidden In Movies And TV Shows.