You, Me, Dupree, and the Naughty Librarian

You, Me, and Dupree (2006) is an odd film. It stars Owen Wilson, Kate Hudson, and Matt Dillon, and it’s directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, who also executive-produced the TV comedy, Community. You’d think those are ingredients for a potentially amusing film. But overall, those ingredients never really come together, and the half-baked film ends up feeling much longer than its 108 minutes.

It also does and does not include a reel librarian. Confusing? Stick with me.

The main plot is pretty simple:  Molly (Kate Hudson) and Carl (Matt Dillon) are newlyweds, and Carl’s best man, Dupree (Owen Wilson), crashes on their couch after he loses his job (due to attending their wedding). To put it mildly, Dupree overstays his welcome.

*SPOILER ALERTS*

Almost 40 minutes into the film, Molly and Carl are arguing — again — about Dupree staying at their house. Molly is attempting to problem-solve the situation. HINT, it involves a reel librarian:

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'You, Me and Dupree' (2006)

Molly:  What if he had a girlfriend?

Carl:  Good idea. But how’s a guy with no job, no car, living on somebody’s couch going to find any kind of  girlfriend?

Molly:  Our new librarian? She seems really nice.

Carl:  You want to fix Dupree up with a ‘really nice librarian’? listen, I’ve known the guy for 25 years. I think he’s more into the young, foreign, non-librarian type.

Molly:  It wouldn’t hurt to ask.

Carl:  I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'You, Me and Dupree' (2006)

Cut to next scene, after Molly shows Dupree the librarian’s picture in the faculty guide:

Dupree:  I’ll do it.

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'You, Me and Dupree' (2006)

That must be some school picture! We also learn the name of this “really nice librarian,” Mandy. And that she has a car. She is a catch! As is Dupree, obviously. ;)

Molly and Carl come home after a date night to a tie on the front door handle and “Funky Cold Medina” playing inside. Their reactions mirror their earlier conversation about hooking Dupree up with the school librarian:  Carl is worried as Molly gets excited.

Carl:  Looks like Dupree brought his date home.

Molly:  What is a tie doing on our door?

Carl:  Molly, I think we ought to drive around the block a couple of times.

Molly:  Wait a minute. No way. Mandy’s a Mormon. She’s not the kind of girl to get busy on the first date.

Carl:  You fixed Dupree up with a Mormon librarian?

And Carl’s skepticism seems to be justified. I will just let the next three screenshots sum up Molly’s — and our — introduction to Mandy, the Mormon librarian:

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'You, Me and Dupree' (2006)

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'You, Me and Dupree' (2006)

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'You, Me and Dupree' (2006)

Dupree then runs out of the house with a pillow covering his private parts and thanks Molly “for the best night of my life” while Mandy, left alone in the house with all those open candle flames, sets the house on fire. Yes, that’s right. The Mormon librarian sets the house on fire.

That sure is some flammable symbolism, y’all.

The next shot has Dupree wrapped in a blanket and sitting on the sidewalk, talking to Mandy who’s in her car. All we see of her this time is the back of her curly hair. But we do get a nice view of her bumper sticker, which reads:  DO THE DEWEY!

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'You, Me and Dupree' (2006)

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'You, Me and Dupree' (2006)

Molly and Carl, understandably, have had enough, and they blame Dupree. (Why not blame the librarian?) But Dupree is cool with that, as he plans on moving in with Mandy. Timeline reminder:  He met her yesterday.

Molly:  You sure you got a place to go?

Dupree:  Yeah, I got a place to go. I’m going to Mandy’s.

Carl:  The librarian.

Molly:  Don’t you think that’s kind of moving a little quickly, Dupree?

Dupree:  Maybe it is, but so what? Something special’s happening there. I’m not gonna fight it.

End result? Molly and Carl come home that night to find Dupree sitting in the rain, playing the song “Mandy” on his headphones. No points for what happened with his plan to move in with the librarian.

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'You, Me and Dupree' (2006)

And yet we are NOT DONE with Mandy the Mormon librarian. Almost an hour into the film, Dupree shows up to do a Career Day presentation at Molly’s school, thinking this will win Mandy back. Molly tries to let him down easy, making an excuse that Mandy “had a book that was lost.”

Every scene that mentions the reel librarian, we learn more about her. Thus far, we have learned:

  • she’s new at the school
  • she has a name, Mandy
  • she has a car
  • she’s Mormon
  • she’s ok with getting busy on the first date
  • she likes butter
  • she shaves her legs
  • she’s not to be trusted around open flames
  • she has curly, reddish hair
  • she loves the Dewey Decimal system
  • she’s not ok with Dupree crashing on her couch one day after meeting (and sleeping) with him

And here are the final things we learn about Mandy:

Molly:  There’s something you need to know about Mandy. Well, it turns out she’s a total slut, sleeping with half the male faculty.

Dupree:  What? No.

Molly:  I’m sorry.

Dupree:  My Mandy?

Molly:  Yeah. I’m sorry, I would never have set you up with her if I would have known. Ever.

Dupree:  There really aren’t any more Audrey Hepburns out there, are there? What a sucker.

This conversation continues when Molly comes home after school to find Dupree watching the end of Roman Holiday, the classic movie starring Audrey Hepburn.

Molly:  You really were serious about Audrey Hepburn.

Dupree:  She had it all. Style, grace, ethereal beauty. Just like I thought Mandy did.

Molly:  I don’t know. I have a hard time imagining Audrey Hepburn getting buttered up to “Funky Cold Medina.”

Dupree:  Really? I don’t.

All that carnage Mandy causes — setting the house on fire and breaking Dupree’s heart — and we still don’t ever get to properly see her. At first, that felt like yet another odd thing in an overall odd movie. Even though Mandy plays an arguably substantial role in the latter half of the film — she is part of the motivation for Dupree getting his act together, as he wants to win Mandy back (and he keeps trying, by the way, calling her later) — she is never technically seen onscreen. We learn so much about this reel librarian, yet we never fully see her. We hear her name dozens of times, yet she doesn’t even earn a screen credit!

So what purpose does this reel librarian serve in this film? Since she is referenced so much — and we do see parts of her — I am going to classify this film in the Class III category, which includes films with reel librarians as supporting or memorable minor characters.

For the role that “Mandy the Mormon librarian” fills, it has to be the Naughty Librarian:

  • She is definitely a flirtatious or sexually charged librarian, a seemingly conservative young woman who then “lets her hair down” outside the library.
  • Adding the detail that she’s Mormon sets up the “conservative” aspect that immediately leads to the payoff that she is not-so-conservative after all.
  • Naughty Librarians also tend to have sexual undertones in their conversation. Since we never actually hear Mandy talk, the sexual undertones in this case come from her “Do the Dewey” bumper sticker!
  • Naughty Librarians also have a tendency to become violent or exhibit otherwise criminal behavior when their love/sex desires are repressed (see Personals, Maxie, Tomcats, etc.)… and Mandy happens to set a house on fire when their lovemaking session is interrupted. Just sayin’.

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'You, Me and Dupree' (2006)

In this light, knowing that she fulfills the Naughty Librarian character type, it makes more sense about why we never actually see her face onscreen. That would ruin the fantasy, right? Naughty Librarians are fantasies — sometimes even violent fantasies — and without actually seeing her onscreen (or rather, just parts of her, like her bare leg and curly hair), viewers are free to conjure whatever image they have that fulfills their own personal “really nice librarian” fantasy.

So while this reel librarian portrayal is disappointing, to say the least — and equal-opportunity offensive to librarians, school teachers, Mormons, and Audrey Hepburn — it does serve up some interesting twists to the Naughty Librarian character type. Not enough for me to recommend the film — but that’s why I watch and analyze these reel librarian movies films, so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

Final lessons from You, Me, and Dupree? Stay safe, y’all. And don’t leave any Mormon librarians alone near open flames. ;)

A behind-the-scenes tour at the Oregon State Library

This past month, my mom (a school librarian in Texas), my husband, and I got a special treat — a behind-the-scenes tour at the Oregon State Library! It was the first time for us all, and it was a highlight of my mom’s recent visit to Oregon. I thought it would be fun to share pictures of a real library on this Reel Librarians site! :)

The Oregon State Library (OSL) was established in 1905, and the current building completed in 1939. There is a definite (but stately and subdued) Art Deco architectural style to the building, which is featured on the OSL’s website, http://www.oregon.gov/OSL, and brochure. The OSL is very near the state capitol building, which in style is quite similar to the OSL.

Reel Librarians | Oregon State Library website and brochure

Reel Librarians | Oregon State Library sign

One of the first stops on the library tour was the card catalog room, and I can confirm some hand-clapping at this beautiful sight. They are working with another government department to digitize all this info, but it is comforting to see an entire room of card catalog drawers.

Reel Librarians | Oregon State Library card catalog room

Reel Librarians | Oregon State Library card catalog drawer

The OSL is undergoing a transitional period and streamlining its services, and one of the recent changes is that the state genealogical resources have relocated to the Salem Public Library. The shelves in its previous headquarters in the OSL stand empty for the moment.

Reel Librarians | Oregon State Library old genealogy room

The entire building has this geometric design motif, including in the brass elevator doors and in the ceilings.

Reel Librarians | Oregon State Library ceiling and design motif

We also got to see behind-the-scenes in the closed stacks! They have a collection of reference documents, as well as an extensive collection of government documents (often called “gov docs” by librarians), as seen below.

Reel Librarians | Oregon State Library government documents

We also learned quite a bit about the OSL’s Talking Book and Braille Library, which is quite extensive. It was fascinating to learn all the new technological improvements in talking books, and to know that these resources are available nationwide, in every state, free to the blind and physically handicapped! (See the NLS site for more info.)

Reel Librarians | Oregon State Library talking book collection

And OF COURSE, my mom and I had to pose by the State Library sign! We really enjoyed the behind-the-scenes tour at the OSL, and I hope y’all enjoyed these behind-the-scenes pics! :)

Reel Librarians | Posing by the Oregon State Library sign

Have you ever been to a state library? Please leave a comment and let me know!

Meet Hannah in ‘Follow the Stars Home’

Follow the Stars Home, a 2001 Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie, had been on my Master List for a long time, so when I saw it scheduled on my TV guide, I recorded it. For some reason, I was thinking this film included only a minor scene in a library — but I was (pleasantly) surprised when the reel librarian turned out to be a supporting character seen all the way through the film!

First of all, what’s Follow the Stars Home (2001) all about? Kimberly Williams plays a young woman, Diane, whose husband (Eric Close) deserts her and their young child, Julia, who is born with genetic abnormalities. When Diane gets hurt in a car accident, her husband returns, seeking a possible reconciliation. Diane’s mother is a local public librarian, and she helps raise Julia.

There are several scenes set in the library, the first occurring 10 minutes into the TV movie, when Diane goes to the library to tell her mother the news that she’s pregnant. On the way, she talks to an assistant librarian at the front counter (none other than future Oscar winner Octavia Spencer!). She tells her mother the news, and we see them embrace.

Reel Librarians | Library scene in 'Follow the Stars Home' (TV, 2001)

First library scene in ‘Follow the Stars Home’

After Diane tells her mom the good news, we next see them up close at lunch. Her mother, Hannah, is attractive and stylish and loves to smile. There is a lovely, warm rapport between the two of them, evident when Hannah gives her daughter “motherly” advice throughout the film.

We have a lot of books about motherhood in the library, but none of them can prepare you for that moment, when you give your heart to your child.

You sound like your life has been folded up and put away. It’s not over.

Diane, I have a lot of respect for you, as a person, as a woman, but not just because you’re my daughter.

Diane is equally appreciative of her mother, saying at one point:

Do I tell you I’d be lost without you, or do you know it?

Reel Librarians | Reel librarian Hannah in 'Follow the Stars Home' (TV, 2001)

Hannah the librarian in ‘Follow the Stars Home’

Next, about a half-hour into the film, we hear from Diane that her mother is retiring “just to be with Julia.” But Hannah obviously has a well-developed social life, as she mentions a few minutes later into the film that her reading group is coming over.

There is also a subplot about a young teenage girl, Amy (Alexa Vega), who begins babysitting Julia. The two become friends. Before Hannah retires, she helps Amy — and Julia! — get their own library cards!

Reel Librarians  |  Getting a library card in 'Follow the Stars Home' (TV, 2001)

Getting library cards in ‘Follow the Stars Home’

Perhaps as a thank you, we learn at 49 minutes into the film that Amy left Hannah a poem at her desk, which she reads out to her daughter. We also learn that Hannah likes Agatha Christie books. (So do I! :D ) And she knows classic literature, quoting a famous line from Gone With the Wind later.

The next major scene at the library is focused on Hannah’s last day at the library. She apparently didn’t want a big fuss over her retirement, but she and her colleagues are obviously emotional about Hannah leaving. And we get another scene with Octavia Spencer!

Reel Librarians | Public library in 'Follow the Stars Home' (TV, 2001)

Reel Librarians | Librarian retirement in 'Follow the Stars Home' (TV, 2001)

Future Oscar winner Octavia Spencer in ‘Follow the Stars Home’

Hildy (Octavia Spencer):  You made us promise no fuss, but this doesn’t feel right.

Hannah:  You’ll get your chance at the book lovers’ ball, where you can make as many speeches as you want.

Hildy:  You’ll be the guest of honor at my table.

Hannah:  We’ll see.

Young Librarian:  Goodbye, Mrs. Parker. We’ll miss you.

Hannah waves goodbye without looking back, but she is obviously emotionally affected. As she drives up to Diane’s house, she wipes away tears. It’s a short but sad scene, but touching that she obviously loved her job and earned the respect of her colleagues (who both fill Information Provider roles). It’s also a rare kind of library scene onscreen, to highlight a librarian’s retirement! The only other scene similar to this I’ve seen is the retirement party scene in The Attic, seen here in this post.

Reel Librarians | Librarian retirement in 'Follow the Stars Home' (TV, 2001)

Retiring from the library in ‘Follow the Stars Home’

But SURPRISE! Diane, Amy, and Julia welcome her home with balloons and signs that proclaim, “Life begins at retirement” and “Congratulations, Hannah!” Hannah is deeply touched, saying, “I was feeling a little sorry for myself but not now.”

Reel Librarians | Emotional moment in 'Follow the Stars Home' (TV, 2001)

Getting emotional in ‘Follow the Stars Home’

Reel Librarians | Retirement balloons in 'Follow the Stars Home' (TV, 2001)

Life begins at retirement! A welcome home surprise in ‘Follow the Stars Home’

An hour into the TV movie, we get the final scene set in the library, the aforementioned “Book Lovers’ Ball” taking place in the library. It seems like an annual event, but this year, it’s also an occasion to honor Hannah and her retirement. The scene starts with a close-up on the cake.

Reel Librarians | Retirement cake for a librarian in 'Follow the Stars Home' (TV, 2001)

A cake for the retired librarian in ‘Follow the Stars Home’

Hannah is dancing with Diane’s brother-in-law, the long-suffering David (Campbell Scott), who’s obviously in love with Diane. David goes to find Diane, who is taking a breather in the stacks.

Reel Librarians | Dancing at the Book Lovers' Ball in 'Follow the Stars Home' (TV, 2001)

A reel librarian dancing!

Reel Librarians | Talking in the stacks in 'Follow the Stars Home' (TV, 2001)

Talking in the stacks in ‘Follow the Stars Home’

Diane shares this tidbit with David:

I love the way libraries smell. When I was little, my mom used to bring me here, and I thought all the books belonged to her. My dad built these shelves. I wish he could be here tonight.

It’s a lovely sentiment to share, and I love that it’s history about the library as well as a glimpse into her own family history.

The TV movie wraps up pretty predictably — do Diane and her long-lost husband reunite? Or will Diane and David finally get together? — with all the loose ends tied up. One of those loose ends was the babysitter’s mom, Tess, who is a recovering alcoholic. With 10 minutes left in the movie, Hannah comes by Diane’s wood shop and hints at a possible part-time job for Tess:

Hannah:  Do you think Tess knows the Dewey Decimal system?

Diane:  I bet she could learn. Why, you gonna get her a job?

Hannah: Well, I could try.

Hannah is a supporting character, so Follow the Stars Home (2001) lands in the Class III category, but Hannah is an atypical librarian character. Most reel librarian portrayals fit into common character types. However, we get to witness a fully rounded character in Hannah. For example, we see her in multiple locations, at work, at home, at the hospital, etc. Hannah engages in a lot of activities, like reading, dancing, and shopping. We also get to see her in her professional role as librarian as well as in her personal life as a mother and grandmother. Throughout, Hannah is warm and understanding, and obviously intelligent. She’s not a saint; instead, she comes across as a realistically kind and thoughtful woman.

Reel Librarians | Reel librarian Hannah in 'Follow the Stars Home' (TV, 2001)

All in all, Hannah is a fantastic addition to the world of reel librarians! I enjoyed the movie much more than I expected to, and Hannah is a major reason why. :)

Reel librarians take a trip

Summer is the time for travel! Almost three years ago, I put together a themed list of travelin’ librarians, and I’ve added to that original post to include a few more road-trippin’ reel librarians… happy travels! :)

Reel librarians on a road trip

Bon Voyage! (1962)

A Disney comedy about a typical, all-American family (Fred MacMurray and Jane Wyman as the parents) on a “dream” vacation to Europe. A couple of memorable scenes take place in the ship’s library, including one in which the father becomes a bit annoyed with the ship’s librarian over-solicitous manner — and clueless social skills.

You can also read my extended write-up of the film by clicking here.

Forbidden (1932)

Lulu Smith (Barbara Stanwyck), a lonely young librarian, longs for adventure. Taunted by children calling her “old lady four eyes,” Lulu quits her library job and sets sail for Havana. Romantic melodrama ensues, including an illegitimate child, a lifelong adulterous affair, murder, and a deathbed pardon. She wanted adventure… be careful what you wish for?

Forbidden also made my list of reel librarian firsts!

Rome Adventure (1962)

School librarian Prudence Bell (Suzanne Pleshette) quits her job at a stuffy women’s’ college after being reprimanding for recommending a “too adult” book to a student. Prudence goes to Italy in search of adventure and love. Does she find it? With Troy Donahue and Rossano Brazzi in the cast, you bet!

You can view the film’s original theatrical trailer and read my extended write-up of the film by clicking here.

Joe Vs. the Volcano (1990)

Title character Joe (Tom Hanks) is stuck in a thankless job as an advertising librarian for a medical supply company. After learning he has only weeks to live, he embarks on an adventure to sacrifice himself in an island volcano. As you do. Meg Ryan — in 3 different roles — also comes along for the trip.

Mad Love (1995)

High-schoolers Matt (Chris O’Donnell) and Casey (Drew Barrymore) fall in love and set out on a road trip. In an earlier scene, the school librarian rats out Casey’s bad-girl behavior. The librarian isn’t the one in the film that goes on the road trip, but at least someone gets out from under the nose of this nosy reel librarian!

Miranda (2002)

Hapless librarian Frank (John Simm) falls in love with the mysterious Miranda (Christina Ricci) and sets off after her when she disappears from his life one day. The film’s opening scene is set in the library, which is set for demolition.

The Mummy trilogy (1999, 2001, 2008)

Egyptologist and librarian Evelyn Carnahan (played by Rachel Weisz in the first two films, and by Maria Bello in the third film) is always up for adventure and saving the world. In the first — and best — adventure tale, Egyptian priest Imhotep is accidentally brought back to life, and wreaks some pretty major havoc in the desert. Evie, her scheming yet lovable brother, and an American soldier (Brendan Fraser) join forces to stop him — and get to race some camels along the way. Of course the librarian wins! ;)

Scent of a Woman (1992)

This coming-of-age story focuses on a young prep school boy (Chris O’Donnell), a student library assistant at a New England private school. To pay for a flight home for Christmas, he agrees to be temporary caretaker for an alcoholic blind man (Al Pacino), who takes him on an adventure-filled Thanksgiving weekend in New York City.

The Time Machine (2002)

In this remake, a disillusioned inventor (Guy Pearce) builds a time machine and travels 800,000 years into the future. He encounters Vox (Orlando Jones), a holographic librarian who supplies him with information about time travel and the history and evolution of the planet and its population.

Even though this film is all about time travel, Vox never actually goes anywhere; instead, he is the sole, stationary witness to the continuous collapse and rebuilding of civilizations throughout centuries.

The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)

Henry, a librarian (Eric Bana), time travels in and out of a love story with Clare (Rachel McAdams). There are a couple of early scenes set in a library, and Henry is referred to as a “special collections librarian.” The ultimate travelin’ librarian!

You can also read my extended write-up of the film by clicking here.

Reel librarians are everywhere

I recently received an email from a regular reader (alliteration alert!), who was passing on a few more film titles he had come across that mention or feature reel librarians. He concluded his email with this statement:

Now that I’ve started, I can’t help noticing any minor use of librarians on film!

So true!

This happens to me ALL.THE.TIME. Sometimes, I get excited and yell out excitedly, “Buns and books! Buns and books!” (See also this post, where I explain that reference at the end of the post.) Other times when I am trying to relax, I get annoyed that I then have to take notes. I wrote about that in my Enough Said analysis post:

However delighted I was that James Gandolfini played a librarian in his last major role, I do admit to shouting at the screen, “NO!!!!! Now I have to take notes! This was NOT the relaxing evening we had planned for!” (I do enjoy being overly dramatic sometimes. But it’s all for you, dear readers. All for you.)

Family members can probably relate to this statement, as well, as they send on film titles to me frequently. (I obviously have them trained… ;) ) I don’t watch that many children’s films, so I especially appreciate it when my sister-in-law, who has four children, sends me children’s films that include reel librarians. This was the case with my Monsters University post.

I regularly add to my Master List of reel librarian movies, so readers, please keep sending me film titles!

A real librarian’s work is never done when researching reel librarians… and I wouldn’t have it any other way. :D