Spring training and special collections in ‘Major League’ (1989)

Since baseball — and all other sports — have been cancelled or delayed due to the global coronavirus pandemic, how about reliving all the spring training, Opening Day, and pennant-chasing fun in the 1989 film Major League? This classic comedy also happens to boast a memorable reel librarian character, Lynn (Rene Russo).

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

I (re)watched this movie from my personal copy of the “Wild Thing Edition” DVD — boasting astroturf, as seen in the image gallery below! — but you can also catch this movie on Amazon Prime. (It is sometimes available on Prime for free, but it’s also always available for a low-cost rental fee.)

Note: All the image galleries below display the images in circles. Just click on any image to view it larger in a new tab/window. (Did I display them in circles so that they would evoke baseballs? OF COURSE. 😉 )

If it’s been awhile since you’ve seen Major League, here’s the basic plot: The new owner of the Cleveland Indians purposefully puts together a team of bad players in order to sell the franchise and move to Florida. When the players find out, they start winning to spite her. Tom Berenger stars as Jake Taylor, the catcher, who also tries to woo back his ex-wife, Lynn (Rene Russo). The film also co-stars Charlie Sheen as “Wild Thing” pitcher Ricky Vaughn, Corbin Bernsen as Roger Dorn, and Wesley Snipes as Willie Mays Hayes. Bob Uecker steals all the bases — and the movie! — as radio commentator Harry Doyle.

“Major League – Trailer” video uploaded by YouTube Movies, Standard YouTube license

So what does a movie about major league baseball have to do reel librarians? Let’s play ball and see, shall we?! 😉

First base: Off and running with a reel librarian reunion

Twenty-eight minutes into the film, Jake Taylor has made it to the final team with teammates Willie and Wild Thing, and they are celebrating at a fancy restaurant. He spies his ex-wife, Lynn, at the same restaurant with another man. She’s all dressed up and sexy, in an off-the-shoulder black dress and ’80s-tastic hair bow.

He calls her on the restaurant’s concierage phone, and here’s an excerpt from their “Meet Cute” phone conversation:

Jake: Hello, Lynn. It’s Jake.

Lynn: Jake? Jake Taylor? How’d you know I was here?

Jake: Just a hunch. I took you there when you got your master’s degree, remember? I figured you’re wearing that black dress with the red sash.

Lynn: How’d you know that? I didn’t even have this dress when — [she spies him across the room on another phone]

Jake: You’re still a stunner.

We don’t actually learn yet that she’s a librarian, but here’s what we do learn about Lynn, evident even from this short exchange:

  • She has a master’s degree
  • She is intelligent
  • She has a modern fashion sense (remember, it’s the ’80s!)
  • She exhibits a more traditional sense of femininity (long hair, off-the-shoulder and body-skimming dress, makeup)
  • She still has mad chemistry with her ex-husband

Lynn also says to Jake that her “life is different from when you knew me” and finally gives a phone number to Jake in order to end the conversation. This introductory scene lasts a total of 3 minutes.

Second base: A curveball and visit to a special collections library

At 39 minutes into the film, Jake calls Lynn’s number… which goes to a sheet metal company! Curveball alert — she gave him a fake number!

But that doesn’t deter Jake, because we next see him arriving at the library Lynn works at. He walks up to a counter, where Lynn is leaning and talking to another librarian, a snow-haired older white woman. We also get a glimpse of an older black man behind the desk, who looks to be filing. Later, at another counter in the library, we also encounter three more library staff workers: An older white man, an older white woman in a pussy bow blouse, and a younger white man with suspenders and glasses. None of these additional reel librarian workers get credits in the cast list. Also, please note that this library scene is the only time we see Lynn wearing glasses.

They then embark on a long-and-winding conversation, as they also weave in and about different parts of the library on their way to her office. I will not record every part of their conversation, but I will highlight excerpts with major bits of information we learn about Lynn, her work, and their relationship.

Lynn’s past and present:

In this exchange, we learn about Lynn’s past as a world-class athlete, and how successful she is in her chosen career as a special collections librarian.

Lynn: [W]e don’t have anything in common. Sometimes I wonder if we ever did.

Jake: What are you talking about? We were both athletes, world-class, hot for each other. What more could we have in common?

Lynn: I stopped being an athlete three years ago, Jake. Books are my life now. Don’t you dare laugh. In two years I put together one of the best special collection departments in the country.

Lynn’s reading recommendations:

Note: This scrap of conversation will prove important in later scenes!

Jake: What is this? You’re still sore I never read Moby Dick?

Lynn: You never read anything I asked you to.

Jake: All right, I’ll check it out now. Is this the Whales section?

Lynn stands up for herself:

In this exchange, we learn more about their past relationship, and the kind of behavior that Lynn is not going to tolerate anymore from Jake.

Lynn: I haven’t seen you in three years. You never even wrote me a letter.

Jake: I’m sorry about that. I wasn’t exactly proud of my situation. Come on now, you never thought about me at all while I was gone?

Lynn: Yeah, Jake, not so loud.

Jake: What about the three nights we spent on the beach in Veracruz? You ever have nights like that with Mr. Briefcase?

Lynn: What about the night you had in Detroit with Miss Fuel Injection?

Jake: Well, what was I supposed to do? She bet me 50 bucks she had a better body than you, and I had to defend your honor.

Lynn: Oh, what a bunch of bullshit. I have a much better body than she does!

Jake: She’s right.

This last outburst — when Lynn reaches her limit and yells at Jake in the library — causes a strong reaction from patrons in the library. Amusing that a librarian would have a good body, or rather, be proud of her own body…? Hmmm… 😦

Embarrassed, Lynn smiles ruefully and crosses her chest with the stack of folders in her hands. Lynn then ends the conversation, firmly closing the door to her office. Unwittingly, she also sets up a personal challenge for Jake, to finally stop being “the little boy who wouldn’t grow up.”

Lynn’s library:

This library scene — the only scene actually set in an actual library — lasts 3 minutes. We get lots of info, and we follow Lynn on a whirlwind tour of the library, which seems to boast Gothic architectural details. Every space looks to be filled with patrons! And bonus, when Lynn passes through an open doorway (in the third screenshot below), we get a quick glimpse of a sign that reads “Special Collections.” Love that they included that detail!

Lynn’s lasting influence:

Remember when I mentioned how Lynn’s reading recommendations — as well as her parting shot at Jake to grow up — would be important? We get our first payoff a few minutes after this library scene, when Jake is reading the “Classic Comics” version of Moby Dick. He also turns down the opportunity to go to a club because “I got some reading to do.”

Continuing in this aside, a little over an hour into the film, Jake has gotten the entire team interested in reading the Classic Comics series! They highlight the graphic novel versions of Crime and Punishment, Song of Hiawatha, and The Deerslayer. Bless. ❤

Third base: A reel librarian at play

Desperate to reconnect with Lynn, Jake follows her home one night from the library. While I do NOT condone this kind of stalking behavior, we do get treated to a glimpse of Lynn’s specialty license plate, which reads… wait for it…

READ!

Isn’t that the best?!!!

Lynn's "READ" license plate

However, when Jake finally musters up the courage to talk to Lynn on what he assumes is her home turf, he finds out… she’s at her fiance’s apartment, and they’re in the middle of a dinner party.

AWKWARD.

Jake then makes small talk with the guests, and we get to find out more about their backstory and relationship, including that:

  • Jake “wanted to discuss a couple of books with Lynn.”
  • Lynn reveals that Jake “was one of the best in baseball before he had problems with his knees.”
  • Jake wants to eventually move to Hawaii and “have a couple of kids who grow up to be Olympic champions,” particularly in “swimming, the 200-meter individual medley.”
  • Lynn was an “alternate on the ’80 Olympic team” in the 200-meter individual medley.

This informative scene lasts 6 minutes.

Going beyond third base with a reel librarian

By this time, we’re rooting for Jake and Lynn to get back together… and the movie does not disappoint! At 1 hour into the film, Jake spies Lynn at a baseball game… and you probably guessed it… follows her back home. Again, I do NOT support this kind of stalking behavior, but we do get to see this reel librarian’s apartment! Admittedly, it’s in a state of packing, as Lynn reveals she’s getting married soon. They have an in-depth conversation, going back over old wounds and feelings — including more instances of Jake’s cheating.

Although they have hurt each other in the past, their chemistry is undeniable, and they find themselves back in each other’s arms. (I laughed out loud when Lynn admits “We were always good at this,” as they head off to her bedroom. A reel librarian who enjoys sex… AMAZING!)

I also enjoyed that Lynn’s preferred foreplay involves BOOKS. Behold:

Jake: I guess this is our last hurrah, then.

Lynn: Yeah, I guess so. Hey, did you ever read Moby Dick?

Jake: Cover to cover, babe. When’s the wedding?

Lynn: You know, you could have read Plot Outlines of 101 Great Novels.

Jake: Where?

Lynn: At any library. [They kiss.] Who saved Ishmael at the end?

Jake: Huh? Uh, nobody… It was Queequoc’s, Queequeg’s coffin.

Lynn: Yeah.

We also get to see Lynn’s bedroom set (flowery, pastel, and wicker), as Jake wakes up the next morning alone in her bed. This sexy scene lasts a total of 5 minutes.

Librarian’s note: Y’all knew that I was going to look up the very specific book title she mentioned in this scene, Plot Outlines of 101 Great Novels, right?! This is the work she says would be available in any library, except… there is no work with that exact title in WorldCat (an online card catalog of library collections around the world). There are some reference works with similar titles, including Plot Outlines of 100 Famous Novels, published by Barnes & Noble. My guess, however, is that the writers were thinking of a reference series like Masterplots, published by Salem Press for over 60 years, which IS a very well-known reference book series that summarizes the plots of significant works of literature and films. You’re welcome for this aside. 😉

Home run with a reel librarian

As the Cleveland Indians chase a pennant, we finish the film with a nail-biting game against their longtime nemesis, the New York Yankees. After an amazing game — no matter how many times I watch this film, I’m still at the edge of my seat rooting for the ragtag Cleveland team to win! — Jake spies Lynn in the stands.

She raises up her left hand, to show that she wears no wedding ring. They kiss, and Jake carries her to the field to celebrate with the rest of his teammates. I love that a reel librarian is featured in the final shot of this classic baseball comedy! Home run for the Cleveland Indians AND the reel librarian!

An unconventional reel librarian portrayal

Lynn in Major League (1989) is the only example I’ve been able to find so far of a reel librarian who is also an athlete. Although winding up with 6th billing, she makes a big impact on the overall motivations and (off-field) actions of the characters. Essentially, Rene Russo plays the main romantic lead in the film, and, like I mentioned above, Lynn also gets to be in the film’s final shot, as Jake includes her in the team’s celebration on the field.

Therefore, I have classified Lynn Wells in the Class II category of reel librarian films, in which the protagonist or other major characters are librarians, but the librarian’s occupation does not directly affect the plot.

Lynn Wells is also an atypical portrayal of a librarian and doesn’t fall easily into established character types. Hallmarks of atypical portrayals include:

  • portrayals go beyond stereotypical constraints
  • satisfied in their chosen profession
  • modern clothing and fashion sense
  • intelligent
  • well-rounded characters with scenes and backstory that reveal their homes, personal spaces, and personal history

We get to witness all those points in Rene Russo’s turn as special collections librarian Lynn Wells, and I have always personally enjoyed this reel librarian character and portrayal. She’s smart, sassy, and proud of both her past life as an athlete as well as her current life as a professional librarian. A winning combo!

Related posts

Can’t get enough of this memorable reel librarian? Although this is the first in-depth analysis post for Major League (1989), I have spotlighted this film in prior posts, including:

Sources used

  • Major League. Dir. David S. Ward. Perf. Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Rene Russo. Paramount, 1989.

Library research montage in 'The Manchurian Candidate' (2004) remake

“I got my library card… I do my research, too.”

As many of us are still self-isolating and sheltering in place because of the coronavirus — we’re all still washing our hands and practicing social distancing, yes?! — and most likely still seeking out things to watch via various streaming services, I thought it appropriate to only write about movies that are available via a streaming service (at least at the time of my publishing the post). This week, I’m analyzing the 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate, which is available via Amazon Prime’s HBO channel.

The original The Manchurian Candidate film, released in 1962 and starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, and Angela Lansbury, is a classic. The remake? Not so much. Not even great actors like Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, Jeffrey Wright, and Meryl Streep can lift this remake into anything more than a competent thriller. But there is one thing the 2004 remake has that the original film does not… a reel librarian! 😉

Denzel Washington plays the role that Frank Sinatra played in the original, Major Ben Marco, who knows something is rotten in the state of Denmark the United States.

Getting into the public library

At 1 hour and 20 minutes into the 130-minute film, Marco goes to a public library to investigate the Manchurian Global corporation. At first, it looks like he has wandered into a science museum, as the lobby is filled with scientific posters and genome models. Turns out, it’s the New York Public Library’s Science, Industry and Business Library (SBIL) branch!

Lobby of the NYPL's Science, Industry and Business Library
Lobby of the NYPL’s Science, Industry and Business Library

Marco then poses for a picture for a library visitor pass. We then get treated to a closeup of the library employee, a younger black woman, handling the visitor passes.

Library Clerk role in The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
Smile! You’re on candid camera!

Duana Butler plays the “Library Clerk” role, and she gets two lines in this cameo role:

Smile if you like. This will just take a minute.

As we see in the closeup of Marco’s library visitor pass below, he did NOT feel like smiling on this trip to the library. (You can just make out “The New York Public Library” text above his photograph on the visitor pass.)

Visitor pass to the NYPL

It turns out that this is the only reel librarian we will see in this library scene… before Marco even sets foot into the library!

I thought it interesting to highlight a reel librarian outside the actual library. Is this an interesting, albeit brief, take on the “librarian as gatekeeper” role? Is the director purposely mirroring the expressionless face of the Library Clerk with the equally expressionless face of Marco on his visitor badge? Is it possible I’m overthinking this reel librarian cameo role? 😉

Cue the research montage

Although we never again see a librarian, we do get treated to Marco conducting research via several different library resources and services, including:

  • a microfilm machine
  • a copy machine
  • headphones to listen to Rosie’s tapes
  • a computer to conduct a Google search on the internet

We also get a closeup of the mousepad, which officially reveals that Marco is at the New York Public Library’s Science, Industry and Business Library (SIBL) branch.

I also visited SIBL’s website, which highlights their amenities, including computers for public use, photocopiers, and scanners/reading machines. Marco definitely got the most out of this library!

Closeup of the NYPL Science, Industry and Business Library mousepad

Although libraries are generally seen as safe spaces — in real AND reel life — I thought it interesting to note that the director, Jonathan Demme, chose to highlight the library’s security cameras. The black-and-white shot below is mimicking the security camera’s feed. The message seems to be that no place is safe, NOT EVEN the public library!

Security camera feed in the NYPL
Someone is always watching… even in a public library!

Purpose of library scene

This library scene lasts 4 minutes total, and the primary purpose of the scene is to propel the plot forward, as Marco then acts on the clues and information he discovered during his research.

Although the only thing the reel librarian did was issue a library visitor pass, she did help establish the library setting. Therefore, she fulfilled the basic Information Provider role in this Class IV film.

About 10 minutes later, Marco confronts Rosie with what he found out at the library.

I got my library card, and I got your tapes. I do my research, too.

Have you done YOUR research?! 😉

Sources used

Binge-read the 10 most popular Reel Librarians posts of all time

And by “all time,” I mean since 2011 when this site began!

As we are all probably feeling anxious and stressed during this global coronavirus pandemic, how about taking a break from binge-watching movies and TV series in order to binge-read about reel librarians? I looked through my site stats to find out the top 10 most-read and popular posts of all time. Below, I have listed them in reverse order, from #10 to #1, along with the first paragraph of each post, to whet your appetite.

Enjoy! 🙂

#10. ‘You, Me and Dupree’ — and the Naughty Librarian (Aug. 2015)

“You fixed Dupree up with a Mormon librarian?”

The 2006 film You, Me, and Dupree (2006) is an odd one. 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. …

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'You, Me and Dupree' (2006)
Do the Dewey! bumper sticker on the reel librarian’s car

… continue reading ‘You, Me and Dupree’ — and the Naughty Librarian

#9. Harry Potter and Madam Pince (Dec. 2012)

How the Hogwarts librarian is depicted in the Harry Potter books

I recently reread the Harry Potter series, and this time around, took note of how the librarian, Madam Pince, is depicted. This librarian is never mentioned by name in the films as such, but she does make a physical appearance in the film version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002). As portrayed by Sally Mortemore, the reel Madam Pince — her first name, Irma, is also revealed in that film’s credits — is physically more attractive than her counterpart in print. …

… continue reading Harry Potter and Madam Pince

#8. Books and book-burning in ‘Fahrenheit 451’ (May 2017)

“Is there not freedom in the very choice of which book you want to be?”

I recently rewatched the 1966 film version of Fahrenheit 451, directed by French New Wave director Francois Truffaut and starring Julie Christie in a dual role and Oscar Werner as Montag, the fireman who falls in love with books, the very thing he’s charged with burning. …

Reel Librarians | Screenshot from 'Fahrenheit 451' (1966)
Oscar Werner as Montag

… continue reading Books and book-burning in ‘Fahrenheit 451’

#7. First impressions: Monsters University (July 2013)

“What are you afraid of? You just angered a 40-foot librarian!”

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned how two members of my family had tipped me off to a reel librarian featured in the recent release, Monsters University (2013). Since that post went live, I have had five additional friends recommend I watch the movie, which I did over the Independence Day long weekend. …

… continue reading First impressions: ‘Monsters University’

#6. The Jedi librarian (March 2013)

“If an item does not appear in our records, it does not exist.”

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I watched the fan edit of the Star War prequel trilogy, entitled Star Wars:  Rise of the Empire, which was compiled back in 2007. Out of the 7+ hours of the original prequels (Episode I: The Phantom Menace, 1999; Episode II: Attack of the Clones, 2002Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, 2005), this techie fan managed to whittle the story down to a still-healthy-yet-manageable 4 hours. It seemed like a majority of the second prequel, Attack of the Clones, stayed on the cutting-room floor (no more painful love scenes out on the lake by Naboo, thank goodness!), but guess which scene made the cut in its entirety? …

Jedi librarian glare in Star Wars Episode II
Jedi librarian glare in Star Wars Episode II

… continue reading The Jedi librarian

#5. First impressions: ‘Hidden Figures’ and its library scene (Feb. 2017)

The reel librarian character echoes the barriers that were starting to crack, brick by brick and book by book.

I recently watched the Best Picture-nominated film Hidden Figures, which is a biographical film featuring three African-American female mathematicians — or “computers” — at NASA during the early 1960s. The film sheds lights on their individual and collective struggles to earn personal and professional respect, both as women and as African-Americans in a field dominated with white males. The three female leads all deliver top-notch performances: Taraji P. Henson as brilliant mathematician Katherine G. Johnson; Octavia Spencer in an Oscar-nominated performance as mathematician and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughan; and Janelle Monáe as firecracker engineer Mary Jackson. …

… continue reading First impressions: ‘Hidden Figures’ and its library scene

#4. Librarian t-shirt collection (Sept. 2014)

“I have secret powers… I’m a librarian!”

I was going through some of the archived posts here on this Reel Librarians blog, and I came across this early post about my “Marian the Librarian” coffee mug. And then two things clicked: …

Reel Librarians | Librarian t-shirt collection
Librarian-themed t-shirts from my personal collection

… continue reading Librarian t-shirt collection

#3. Marian or Marion? (May 2012)

Researching the reel librarian in ‘The Music Man’

I am a stickler for spelling and punctuation (see my post last week on that anal-retentive trait), so it still bugs me that I can’t ever seem to remember if the librarian in The Music Man is spelled “Marian” or “Marion.” I spelled it BOTH ways in my undergraduate thesis, which still makes me cringe. And that’s probably what inspired this blog post — maybe after writing this, I won’t have to look it up again. 😉 …

… continue reading Marian or Marion?

#2. Naughty Librarians (ladies, take it away) (March 2012)

Exploring the female Naughty Librarian character type

A rose by any other name… the Naughty Librarian. We’re down to the final category of exploring reel librarian character types (see previous posts hereherehereherehereherehere and here). And I know I’m going to get a lot of hits out of this post, as “naughty librarian” — and similar phrases like “sexy librarian” or “tomcats librarian” —  are the MOST POPULAR search terms that lead to my blog. It’s a classy joint I’m running here, this Reel Librarians blog. …

… continue reading Naughty Librarians (ladies, take it away)

#1. ‘The Killing Kind’ vs. ‘The Attic’ (Oct. 2013)

The Attic (1980) serves as a kind of cinematic continuation of two characters featured in The Killing Kind (1973)

As I mentioned in last week’s postThe Attic (1980) serves as a kind of cinematic continuation of two characters featured in The Killing Kind (1973). I have a copy of both films, so I set about watching The Killing Kind this past weekend and comparing the two. There are some eery similarities in both films, but some interesting differences, as well. Enjoy! …

Reel Librarians | 'The Attic' screenshot
Librarian hallucinations in The Attic

… continue reading ‘The Killing Kind’ vs. ‘The Attic’

Any personal faves?

Any personal favorites among these Top 10? Please leave a comment and share! And please continue washing your hands and practicing social distancing. Be well, everyone!

Reel librarians and archivists in 16 sci-fi films

With the growing spread of the COVID-19 virus — please keep up-to-date via the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention page — it feels like we are living in a sci-fi, dystopian alternate reality right now, doesn’t it? (Stay safe out there, y’all, and let’s all keep washing our hands!) So it felt fitting to explore the role of reel librarians and archivists in 16 different science fiction films. Shall we?

Images, clockwise from top left: Jocasta Nu in Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002); Wong in Doctor Strange (2016), The Books in Soylent Green (1973); Vox in The Time Machine (2002)

I put this list together after reviewing my Master List as well as the Reel Substance lists on this site. I then noted three major trends of the reel librarian roles in these sci-fi films; generally, they serve as Heroes, Helpers, or Hindrances. Within each of these sub-categories below, the films are arranged in descending chronological order (oldest to newest).

Heroes || Helpers || Hindrances

Let’s explore!


Heroes


Reel librarians in this sci-fi sub-category are lead roles. They serve as characters who lead the way for resistance, problem-solving, and saving the world.

The War of the Worlds (1953):

In this sci-fi classic and Class II film, Martians invade Earth! Sylvia Van Buren (Ann Robinson), who teaches library science courses, teams up with the hero-scientist (Gene Barry) in order to defeat the aliens.

Related posts: War films and reel librarians

The Handmaid’s Tale (1990):

In this dystopian tale and Class II film, fertility becomes rare, and fertile young women, trained as Handmaids, are treated as slaves in the households they are assigned to. Natasha Richardson plays a Handmaid, and we learn in one scene that she used to be a librarian. She never stops using her intelligence, and she becomes involved with the growing resistance movement.

Related posts: The reel librarian in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Idiocracy (2006):

This science fiction comedy film stars Luke Wilson as Joe Bauers, a U.S. Army librarian, who takes part in a classified military human hibernation experiment and awakens 500 years later in a dystopian society. He ends up as the most intelligent person alive.

The Age of Stupid (2009):

This drama-documentary film stars Pete Postlethwaite as an archivist living alone in the devastated world of 2055. He watches archival videos to understand why we didn’t stop climate change when we had the chance.


Helpers


Reel librarians in this sci-fi sub-category serve in supporting roles. They help the lead characters and provide vital assistance, knowledge or help inspire solutions.

The Monster that Challenged the World (1957):

In this Class III film, an earthquake in the Salton Sea, California, unleashes radioactive mollusk monsters. Nearby Naval base officers work to stop the horde of monsters, and a museum archivist (Milton Parsons) helps find a vital map of underground rivers.

Related posts: Of ‘monsters’ and missing maps

Quatermass and the Pit, aka Five Million Years to Earth (1967)

The third film in the Quatermass series and Class III film starts off with a discovery of ape-like human skeletons at a subway excavation site. The armed forces are called in when scientists further dig up a missile-like metal shape. Professor Bernard Quatermass (Andrew Keir) and an assistant scientist, Barbara (Barbara Shelley) do some digging of their own — in the research archives. This leads them to the Westminster Abbey archives and a short scene with the Abbey Librarian (Noel Howlett).

Related posts: ‘Quatermass’ and the librarian

Soylent Green (1973):

In this sci-fi classic and Class I film, food is scarce, and the world’s population relies on a food product called “soylent green.” A detective (Charlton Heston) investigates a murder of a Soylent official, and his “Police Book” personal researcher (Edward G. Robinson, in his final film role), visits a former public library, now known as the “Supreme Exchange.” The librarians in this dystopian future are known as “Books.”

Related posts: Reader poll of runner-ups, Fall 2016: ‘Soylent Green’ and the Books

The Avengers (1998):

In this silly sci-fi adaptation of the British TV series and Class IV film, British agents John Steed (Joseph Fiennes) and Emma Peel (Uma Thurman) unite against Sir August De Wynter (Sean Connery), who attempts to control the world by a weather machine. Steed visits the Ministry Archives to get help from the archivist (Patrick Macnee).

The Time Machine (2002):

In this Class III remake of the 1960 sci-fi classic, 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.

Related posts: Stylish male reel librarians

Doctor Strange (2016) ; Avengers: Infinity War (2018); and Avengers: Endgame (2019):

Benedict Wong plays Wong, a monastery librarian and Master of the Mystic Arts, in the Marvel’s Avengers movie series. In Doctor Strange (2016), Wong teaches Strange several important lessons throughout. In Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Wong defeats Cull Obsidian in battle and displays his librarian research skills to help set up the stakes — and the plot of the entire movie — to members of the Avengers. In Avengers: Endgame (2019), Wong survived the snap and plays a crucial role in the final battle scene.

Related posts: Sorcerer librarians of ‘Doctor Strange’ ; First impressions: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ ; First impressions: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ (2019) ; 3 reel librarians who have died in the line of duty

Blade Runner 2049 (2017):

In this sequel to 1982’s sci-fi classic Blade Runner and Class III film, Ryan Gosling stars as K, a police officer assigned to track down a rogue replicant. He begins by going to the Wallace Corporation’s Earth Headquarter archives to track down a suspect’s DNA and records; an archives clerk (Tómas Lemarquis) leads him to the files.

Related posts: Reel archivist in ‘Blade Runner 2049’


Hindrances


Reel librarians in this sub-category of sci-fi films serve as road blocks to the protagonists.

Rollerball (1975):

This sci-fi classic and Class III film is set in a future controlled by corporations, and Jonathan E. (James Caan) is the star of the ultra-violent sport Rollerball. The corporate executives want him to quit, but Jonathan defies them. In the first library scene (in this future, they are called “computer centers”), he goes to the local branch, where the Circulation clerk (Nancy Bleier) tells him his books are classified. Later, Jonathan travels to the central computer bank in Geneva, but the older librarian there (Ralph Richardson) is unable to get the information out from the main computer.

Related posts: Reel librarians in ‘Rollerball’ | Analyzing the 1975 original film and 2002 remake

Brainstorm (1983):

In this sci-fi thriller and Class IV film, researcher Michael Brace (Christopher Walken) has developed a system of recording and replaying actual experiences of people, complete with the “higher brain functions” of thoughts, emotions, senses of smell, etc. This technology gets corrupted by the military in order to torture and brainwash suspects. The finale of the film features the Tape Library and its technicians (Jimmy Casino, May Raymond Boss, and Clay Boss) who keep the tapes locked up.

Related posts: ‘Brainstorm’-ing

Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002):

In this second prequel in the Star Wars saga and Class III film, Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) cannot find any information about a mysterious planet at the Jedi Archives. The Jedi librarian (Alethea McGrath as Jocasta Nu) insists that “if an item does not appear in our records, it does not exist.

Related posts: The Jedi librarian ; May the archives be with you | Shining the spotlight on the Jedi librarian ; A funny thing happened on the way to the Jedi library…

Sources used

  • The Age of Stupid” via Wikipedia is licensed under a CC BY SA 3.0 license.
  • The Avengers. Dir. Jeremiah S. Chechik. Perf. Ralph Fiennes, Uma Thurman, Sean Connery, Jim Broadbent, Fiona Shaw. Warner Bros., 1998.
  • Avengers: Endgame. Dir. Anthony Russo and Joe Russo. Perf. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Josh Brolin. Marvel Studios, 2019.
  • Avengers: Infinity War. Dir. Anthony Russo and Joe Russo. Perf. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Josh Brolin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong. Marvel Studios, 2018.
  • Blade Runner 2049. Dir. Denis Villeneuve. Perf. Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Dave Bautista, Jared Leto. Warner Bros., 2017.
  • Brainstorm. Dir. Douglas Trumbull. Perf. Natalie Wood, Christopher Walken, Louise Fletcher, Cliff Robertson. MGM/UA, 1983.
  • Brainstorm (1983 film)” via Wikipedia is licensed under a CC BY SA 3.0 license.
  • Doctor Strange. Dir. Scott Derrickson. Perf. Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tilda Swinton, Benedict Wong. Marvel Studios, 2016.
  • The Handmaid’s Tale. Dir. Volker Schlindorff. Perf. Natasha Richardson, Faye Dunaway, Robert Duvall, Aidan Quinn, Elizabeth McGovern. Cinecom, 1990.
  • Idiocracy” via Wikipedia is licensed under a CC BY SA 3.0 license.
  • The Monster that Challenged the World. Dir. Arnold Laven. Perf. Tim Holt, Audrey Dalton, Hans Conried. MGM, 1957.
  • Quatermass and the Pit. Dir. Roy Ward Baker. Perf. Andrew Keir, Barbara Shelley, James Donald, Julian Glover. Hammer Film Productions, 1967.
  • Rollerball. Dir. Norman Jewison. Perf. James Caan, John Houseman, Maud Adams, John Beck. MGM/UA Entertainment, 1975. 
  • Soylent Green. Dir. Richard Fleischer. Perf. Charlton Heston, Leigh Taylor-Young, Edward G. Robinson, Brock Peters, Joseph Cotten. MGM, 1973.
  • Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Dir. George Lucas. Perf. Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Christopher Lee, Samuel L. Jackson. 20th Century Fox, 2002.
  • The Time Machine. Dir. Simon Wells. Perf. Guy Pearce, Samantha Mumba, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Guillory, Orlando Jones. Warner Bros., 2002.
  • The War of the Worlds. Dir. Bryon Haskin. Perf. Gene Barry, Ann Robinson, Les Tremayne, Robert Cornthwaite. Paramount, 1953. 

Updating my Best & Worst Lists

I (finally!) updated the lists on the “Best & Worst” section of this website. I first put those lists together when I started this blog, over 8 years ago, and I had not yet updated them even though I have watched and analyzed many more films since. But better late than never, right? 😉

The Best & Worst lists I’ve updated include:

I went back through my Master List, and below are the new reel librarian characters and movie titles I’ve added to each Best & Worst list:

New additions to the Hall of Fame list:

  • Wong in Doctor Strange (2016), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019)
  • Hannah in Follow the Stars Home (2001, TV movie)
  • Mike Hanlon in It (1990 TV miniseries) and It: Chapter Two (2019)
  • Dr. Abigail Chase in National Treasure (2004) and National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets (2007)
  • Cheri Jameson in The Twelve Trees of Christmas (2013, TV movie)

New additions to the Hall of Shame list:

  • Sally in Chainsaw Sally (2004)
  • Louise in The Killing Kind (1973) and The Attic (1980)
  • Miss Ophelia in Maxie (1985)
  • The school librarian in The New Guy (2002)
  • Jocasta Nu in Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
  • Conan the Librarian in UHF (1989)

New additions to the Honorable Mention list:

  • Kala in The Golden Child (1986)
  • Microfilm Clerk in The Changeling (1980)
  • The librarian in Curse of the Demon (1957)
  • The Records Keeper in RED (2010)

New additions to the Dishonorable Mention list:

  • Denver Librarian in Ask the Dust (2006)
  • Lindgren in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
  • White Librarian in Hidden Figures (2016)
  • Miss Gottschalk in The Seventh Victim (1943)

Love ’em or loathe ’em? Lemme know!

Any notable reel librarian characters you recognize, love, or loathe? Please leave a comment and share! 🙂