jessica tholmer
March 14, 2016 7:51 am

There are two reasons that I feel like I should write about Monsters, Inc. today:

a) Monsters, Inc. is my favorite Pixar movie
b) It’s Billy Crystal’s birthday!

And honestly, everything about this movie is perfect. From the beautiful score to the fact that the song “If I Didn’t Have You” was Randy Newman’s first Oscar win, this movie deserves all of the attention it can get. That all being said, of course it is a Disney / Pixar movie and is PACKED full of life lessons.

EINTKILF Monsters, Inc. 

There are jerks everywhere, but good people, too

One of the most important themes in Monsters, Inc. is the whole “good vs. evil” situation, not just in the major corporation being exposed as corrupt (more on that in a minute) but in the simple fact that there are “good” monsters like Mike and Sully and “bad” monsters like Randall. In no way do I think it is easy to break people (or monsters, in this case) into a “good” category and a “bad” category, but we all know that some people (and monsters) are just inherently better people (or monsters). Randall is mean, selfish, and genuinely enjoys terrifying children. Though Sully and Mike are great at their jobs, and just based on Sully’s size alone, can scare kids pretty well, they both have moral issues with it. There will always be people (or monsters) who have a harder time seeing the immorality in a situation. But that’s OK—because there are always anti-jerks too.

How to be romantic
Before all hell breaks loose with the kid, Mike Wazowski has a wonderful birthday dinner planned for his love, Celia Mae. Mike puts a lot of time and energy into it, complimenting himself on his own romance skills–as we all should. 
I am no stranger to calling out my strong suits when it comes to the ol’ game of love. I also have absolutely no problem calling out my faults (bitter, needy, callous) either so let’s be real. Everyone deserves a compliment from time to time.
Kids aren’t scary
Though the entirety of MonstersInc. revolves around the idea that monsters scare kids to capture their screams and somehow make a profit off of that, it is important to note that one of the greatest lessons the monsters learn is that kids aren’t all that scary after all! When Mike and Sully meet and fall in love with Boo, it becomes pretty clear that kids aren’t all that terrifying after all.
I mean, let’s be real, some kids are terrifying. Have you ever seen a horror movie?
Take risks
Sully puts his entire job (and life) on the line to return Boo to her home, and because what are friends for?, Mike goes alongside with him. Though the two do not see eye-to-eye during their entire journey, they both take huge risks in order to save Boo’s life.
Though you may not have to put your job or life on the line at any point, it is important to learn from Mike and Sully and take risks in your own life. Hey, you never know what can happen! One day, you’re working at a mediocre job making children cry and the next, you’re changing their lives with your decent stand-up routine. (This probably won’t happen to you, I’m just saying–never say never.)
Friendship is everything
And speaking of Mike and Sully’s risks, these two wouldn’t have nothin’ if they didn’t have each other. Watching the two of them work together, from Sully’s workout routine to the depths of…wherever abominable snowmen live, is proof enough that friendship can outlast anything. Though Mike and Sully certainly have their differences, ultimately their friendship is the winner in importance.
And though most of us don’t have Randy Newman to write a song about our friendship, I hope we all have a friendship that can relate to that quote.
Don’t judge others
Monsters, Inc. is very subtly about judgment in all aspects of life. Not only is it about Mike and Sully’s subtle judgment issues in their friendship, but it’s ultimately about not judging others based on what you’ve heard about them. Though everyone at Monsters, Incorporated has heard that children are these terrible, disease-ridden beings, it very clearly turns out not to be true. If we all assumed that tiny humans were a thing to be terrified of without getting to know them, how sad would our lives be? Kids rule.
And you know, other stuff. Just don’t judge people or monsters or anything until you have a solid reason to feel the way  you feel about them.
Our differences bring us together
AGAIN, not to drive the Mike and Sully thing home too much, but Mike and Sully are so different. Mike is driven by the corporate world, constantly trying to impress the big-wigs who may or may not promote him and Mike further up the corporate ladder. Sully is great at his job, but he has more compassion and is more likely to step aside and make sure he understands what and why is he doing–and for who he is doing it. Physically speaking, Mike is a tiny little green dude and Sully is gigantic. There are a lot of differences in the two characters, but they come together to make their world a much better place. The two best friends eventually save a child’s life, overthrow a corporation, and open a new business in which children’s laughter is the main focus. Who says opposites don’t attract?
Businesses should run on love
Look, I am not some anti-huge-corporation person. I have worked for some of the biggest corporations in America and I have always had a pretty alright time working for them. That being said, I think it is important to note that most companies, corporations, and individuals working for those corporations, can stand to learn a thing or two about change.
Mike and Sully end up, purposefully or not, exposing Monsters, Incorporated as the corrupt corporation that it is. Because this is a Pixar movie, everything ends up delightful in the end, with Mike and Sully running a much happier and better company where most everyone is still employed. Yay! This is great and in no way do I think that all big businesses should run on love buuuuuut I do think most businesses would be better with a bit of heart in them. Is there anything wrong with heart? Nah, dawg. I am not a business person by any means, but I am a person and I do think putting a little love into your clients, customers, and employees lives is the best way to do it.
Stand up for yourself
I am pretty sure that “stand up for yourself” is on my list of everything you need to know from every single thing I’ve ever written, but it is only because I mean it. Monsters, Inc. does a great job of reminding us that you need to stand up for yourself–whether it be Sully to Mike, Boo to the monsters, or Sully and Mike to their bosses–the fact is, standing up for yourself is vital. Even though it literally terrified her, Boo stands up for herself, proves that she is more than an infectious child, and changes the lives of those around her. Sully, though he may lose his job and his best friend, stands up for himself and proves that their lives are not going down the right path.
I guess maybe the reason I always come back to this lesson is because I think I’m good at standing up for myself until I am really in a situation where I need to stand up for myself. There are conversations that are scary to have, there are Randalls in all of our lives, and sometimes, we work for corporations that need to be overthrown. Though not all of those examples work for my present day life, some of them do, and it is important to remember that we should all be speaking our minds as often as is appropriate.
Man, I think I’m a Mike Wazowski and I’m not even mad about it.