The final plot point of the indie film He’s On My Mind (2009) reads like a female counterpart to 2000’s What Women Want:
“Elementary school teacher Kayla King thought she had the perfect relationship, and after an impromptu wedding, Kayla discovers that not only is she the other woman, she’s the other wife. She is spontaneously imbued with the magic ability to intercept men’s thoughts.”
This film stars Sherial Mckinney as Kayla, who is the best thing about this film. The movie overall is admittedly rough in that “indie film” way, with lots of uncomfortable and prolonged closeups, out-of-focus transitions, and inconsistent sound levels and effects. Unfortunately, this movie falls into the “I watched this movie so you don’t have to” category. (FYI, I watched this movie through Hoopla, a free streaming service available through my local public library system.)
The last bit of the plot write-up, about being “spontaneously imbued with the magic ability to intercept men’s thoughts” is key to my own write-up — because it happens when she visits her local public library!
Just after a half-hour into this 2-hour film, Kayla visits the library. The entire library scene lasts a total of 3 minutes.
Kayla is at a round library table, which is piled high with books, and she calls out to the librarian when he rolls past with a book cart. Read MacGuirtose plays the role of the reel librarian. You can read about this actor’s bio here and his personal website here. I have to admit, I kind of love that an actor whose name is “Read” got to play a reel librarian!
Read’s character is listed in the credits as “Cranky Librarian,” and he wastes no time living up to that description.
Kayla: Oh, excuse me. Can you bring me some more books on male psychology? Just bring them here.
Cranky Librarian: Ma’am, does this look like the Cheesecake Factory, and do I look like a waiter? Get your own books. Psychology section is aisle 4.
Kayla [under her breath as he walks away]: I said please, jackass.
I’m with Kayla here. This reel librarian IS a jackass. Another example of what NOT to do as a librarian!
Kayla then does do research on her own, as she gathers armload after armload of books and brings them back to her table. This research montage uses overhead shots to capture the passage of time — and books — as you can see in the two sceenshots below. (Also, who knew a small public library would have this many books on male psychology?!)
Kayla falls asleep on her pile of books. It’s closing time, and the librarian comes back and jostles her shoulder to wake her up.
Cranky Librarian: Ma’am, it is closing time.
Cranky Librarian: Time to go. We’re closing. [Inner monologue: You ain’t gotta go home, but you got to get the hell outta here.]
This is the first time Kayla can read men’s thoughts, and she is understandably confused at first.
Kayla: What’d you say?
Cranky Librarian: I said it’s time to go. We’re closing. [Inner monologue: Jeez, lady, hurry it up already. I want to get home and rub one out before I get too tired.]
Kayla: Oh, how did you do that? [referring to the the inner monologue]
Cranky Librarian: Do what? [Inner monologue: Oh, great. Another nut case.]
Kayla: That. How did you do that?
Cranky Librarian: Ma’am, I’m not doing anything. I’m just trying to get you to leave. [Inner monologue: Man, I don’t get paid enough to deal with this.]
Kayla: What are you doing? Throwing your voice?
Cranky Librarian: No, but in two seconds, I’m going to be throwing you out. [Inner monologue: Jeez, crazy lady, get out already!]
Kayla: All right, I’m leaving! You don’t have to yell at me! Golly!
Kayla starts to gather up all the books on the table.
Cranky Librarian: [Inner monologue: Great. Now I’ve gotta put away all her damn books.]
Kayla: Look, I’m a teacher, I know the Dewey Decimal system.
Gotta admit, I kind of cheered at this! But the Cranky Librarian is not impressed at a patron knowing about the Dewey Decimal system. Instead, he just orders her to leave.
Cranky Librarian: Don’t worry about it. Just go. [Inner monologue: I’m going to do your decimal if you don’t get the hell outta here! Damn, she’s got a fat ass.]
Kayla grabs her behind in embarrassment as she hurries out of the library. Double shame on that librarian for making a woman feel bad about her body!
Significance of this scene and reel librarian role
Why can Kayla suddenly read men’s thoughts after she falls asleep in the library? Are we supposed to think she soaked up all the knowledge in the world on men’s psychology so much that she can now read men’s inner thoughts? Is her city library that good? Suspension of disbelief at your local library, aisle 4!
So what role does this reel librarian play? It’s a memorable enough scene to merit a Class III category, films in which the librarian(s) plays a secondary role, ranging from a supporting character to a minor character with perhaps only a few lines in one memorable or significant scene.
I would venture to say that this reel librarian role primarily fulfills the “Anti-Social Librarian” role for male librarians. This character type:
- hoards knowledge (he won’t help her find what she’s looking for);
- dresses conservatively (light green polo shirt and atrociously unflattering pleated trousers);
- made up to look generally unattractive (those closeups are not kind to this actor);
- exhibits poor social skills (definitely);
- very unfriendly (yep);
- seems to dislike people (yep again); and
- an elitist who rates the library and its rules above the public (I would say yes).
There is that inner monologue line, “I want to get home and rub one out before I get too tired” — which made me review the characteristics of the “Naughty Librarian” character type — but this line about masturbation reveals more about his unsociable lifestyle than it does about sex or sexual attraction. Indeed, this librarian is not attracted to Kayla at all, judging by his final, derogatory comment about her bottom.
Bottom line? Not the finest three minutes of reel librarianship onscreen!
He’s On My Mind (dvd). Dir. Kazeem Molake. Perf. Sherial Mckinney, Ayo Sorrells, Dylan Mooney. Vanguard Cinema, 2009.