‘Monsters University’: Your Freshman Year, But With Hairier Dorm-Mates

Sequels are always a crap-shoot, and prequels even more so. But Monsters University, the upcoming origin story-spinning Pixar film starring the tall, blue and fuzzy and short and one-eyed heroes of the hit Monsters, Inc., actually looks like it’ll be a good time. There’s an element of the goofy, nostalgic college-movie spirit peppered throughout the promotion for the film, from the actual fake university website for MU that teased the film (complete with fake ".edu" address and all-star football quarterbacks with very quarterback-y names) to the new UK trailer released yesterday.

As it says on the tin, Monsters University details how Sully (John Goodman) and Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) met as Scaring majors (and roommates) their freshman (freshmonster?) year of college. Along the way, set to blaring trumpets and a popular Motley Crüe party anthem, they become rivals—Sully the cool, popular scaring expert; Mike the awkward, bookish retainer-wearing melvin—and try to out-scare each other, while encountering wild dorm parties, pranks, football games and frat monsters, all on a picturesque campus that may remind you of your wildest years. Don’t let the college nostalgia get to your head now. Watch.

New York Film Festival Hosts ‘Princess Bride’ Reunion

How should I start this one? "Speaking of Mandy Patinkin…" or "Do you want to feel really fucking old? Because it’s the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Princess Bride…" As much as I’d rather go with the former, I’ll have to go with the latter, as my theory that we all have a piece of Mandy Patinkin in our hearts has sadly not been proven as fact. So here we go: Holy shit, you guys, it’s been twenty-five years since The Princess Bride swash-buckled into our lives. Inconceivable! (Sorry.) To celebrate, The Film Society of Lincoln Center is hosting a cast reunion in early October as part of the New York Film Festival. 

According to The New York Times, original cast members Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane, Mandy Patinkin (Mandy Patinkin!), and Chris Sarandon will be stopping by the festival along with director Rob Reiner for a conversation and likely Q&A after a screening of the comedy-fantasy film on October 2. Notably absent: Fred Savage, Christopher Guest, and Wallace Shawn. What the hell are they doing? And, of course, no Peter Falk. R.I.P. Peter Falk, America’s Grandpa. 

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

GLAAD Hosts Gigantic Ad For ‘The New Normal’ Disguised as an “Infographic”

I’ve never been too keen on the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, otherwise known as GLAAD. I’m all for people who are also against defaming gays and lesbians, but I never found several of their initiatives, particularly those in the entertainment sector, to be very positive for the gay community. Take, for example, The GLAAD Media Awards, which generally laud celebrities, news outlets, TV shows, and films for doing the very least to portray people of the LGBT community in any positive light—mostly by simply marketing to them. I’ve always found it to be a bit pandering! And, not surprisingly, the organization seems to have thrown all of their support behind Ryan Murphy’s new NBC sitcom, The New Normal.

I watched the pilot for The New Normal. Now, I know, generally, pilots are not too representative of a television show. But the pilot for The New Normal was not good. It was full of easy laughs, excruciatingly calculated heart-warming moments, and a generally shitty outlook—it’s full of racist humor and downright mean, which is not particularly becoming for a show that makes a point to show the positives of a same-sex couple raising a child. So why is GLAAD, an organization the purports the positive depiction of LGBT community members, devote an entire page of its site to the show in what is basically a massive advertisement?  

The short answer, I assume, is "money". But let’s focus more on what the site intends to do. It lists three examples of same-sex couples who are successfully raising their children. See? These couples are The New Normal! Just like the show! They do not, of course, feature group shots of their families large enough to include their homophobic and racist family members (like the cast photo that features Ellen Barkin’s character) or with their African-American employee (in The New Normal‘s case, played by Real Housewives of Atlanta provocateur Nene Leakes). Nor is there any sense that these same-sex couplings are restricted to somewhat sexist and heteronormative gender norms as in the show, in which Justin Bartha (who is straight in real life) plays the masculine one of the pair, which Andrew Rannells (who is gay in real life) plays the queeny one. 

Additionally, GLAAD hosts an infographic claiming, despite the suggestion of homophobic group One Million Moms, that American TV has a long history of featuring same-sex parents. Forty years worth of history, in fact! Sure, of its fifteen examples, eleven of them are from the last twenty years. One example, from 1987, is a pair of secondary characters from a recurring sketch on The Tracy Ullman Show. Another, from 1977, is Billy Crystal’s character from Soap—the first series regular who was a homosexual—who impregnates a woman on a one-night stand. And there’s the suggestion that American Dad is forging the concept of same-sex parenting, because Seth MacFarlane is clearly a bastion of tolerance, respect, and equality.

So, what gives? Is GLAAD suggesting that we should just settle for a show that preaches intolerance for humor’s sake as much as it delivers self-congratulatory respect for non-traditional families? Or is GLAAD’s support of the show (which you can see in full below) just another example of it giving attention to another series that probably doesn’t do much for the LGBT community other than perpetuate the same lame stereotypes we’ve seen on television for years? After all, wouldn’t it be a lot edgier to portray a same-sex couple in a sitcom with a little less levity?

Contact the author of this post at tyler@bbook.com, and follow him on Twitter.

Watch the Shiny New Trailer for the Oscars

The Oscars are less than two months away and after host and producer changes, ABC just released a promo to reassure everyone that it’s going to be A-Okay. The trailer, which comes via Movieline, is a highly produced narrative short about Josh Duhamel and Megan Fox’s journey to the Himalayas in order to find host Billy Crystal. 

Oh no! They aren’t saving the best stuff for the show itself!

Besides Oscar mainstays Josh Duhamel and Megan Fox, the promo also stars Vinnie Jones as the bartender and a heavily made-up Robin Williams as the Mongolian ferryman. If there were an award for Best Oscar Promo, this would definitely, without question, get a nomination.

Prediction: "You could’ve just texted" will become the catchphrase of 2012, narrowly edging out Crystal’s "You look marvelous" after it makes its inevtitable return during the Oscars broadcast,which airs February 26.

Billy Crystal Will Host the Oscars Again

Well, that’s settled. After a grueling day of wondering who could possibly take Eddie Murphy’s place after the Tower Heist star decided not to host the Oscars, Billy Crystal announced via Twitter that he’s stepping in as host.

"Am doing the Oscars so the young woman in the pharmacy will stop asking my name when I pick up my prescriptions. Looking forward to the show," Crystal wrote this afternoon. This will certainly bring tears of joy to those who stil love Mr. Saturday Night and pains of disappointment for those who were hoping that the Academy would somehow lose their goddamn minds and hire a bunch of puppets to do it instead

Crystal is a seasoned Oscars host, having served as Master of Ceremonies eight times. I suppose this means there’ll be plenty of musical parodies, as this will be the first year that Crystal has hosted the show after the Best Picture category was expanded to include ten nominees.