"I act scary, but most of the time I'm terrified."
- The constant teasing and belittling Mike goes through by being told he will never be scary or fit in with his peers. Kids, jocks, Sulley, and Hardscrabble tell Mike that he wasn't meant to become a scarer. It gets even worse when Mike has to find out the hard way that they were all right. It gets even worse when you consider that, arguably, they're not right. But it didn't matter in the end. All that mattered was the moment when Mike believed them.
- After Mike and Sulley are expelled, they share a touching moment with each other and Hardscrabble before parting ways. The BGM playing when Mike was on the bus really tugged on heartstrings because he had just lost his lifelong dream.
- "You said you believed in me." The fact that Sulley lied when he said it hurt Mike a lot more than finding out about the cheating itself.
- You know what makes that moment worse? Mikey was doing an homage to the Scarer he saw when he was little, the one who inspired him to become a Scarer in the first place. When he performed the winning scare, thinking he was a full scarer and then knowing that Sulley rigged the testing device was salt in the wound.
: Did you do this? Sulley
: I—Uh— (sighs
) Yes, I did. But you don't understand! Mike
: Why? Why did you do this? Sulley
: You know, just in case... Mike
: In case of what? (beat
) You don't think I'm scary. Sulley
: Mike... Mike
: You said you believed in me... But you're just like Hardscrabble. You're just like everyone else! Sulley
: Look, you'll get better and better— Mike
: I'M AS SCARY AS YOU!!! I'M AS SCARY AS ANYONE!!! Sulley
: I just wanted to help! Mike
: No! You just wanted to help yourself! Sulley:
Well, what was I supposed to do? Let the whole team down because you don't have it?!
(Mike droops. Then his sadness quickly turns to fury as he shoves Sulley out of the way and leaves in anger. Oozma Kappa leave in depression with Squishy putting down the trophy and leaving it behind
- The way Mike does not respond at all when Sulley first finds him at the lake. The guy never stops talking, so for him to fall completely silent like that is a huge deal.
Mike: Don't say that, please don't say that. You do NOT know how I feel.
- And then there's how guilty and upset Sulley himself sounds when trying to get through to him, his arrogant façade now broken, and finally admitting to why he acted that way.
Sulley: I act scary, but most of the time... I'm terrified.
Mike: How come you never told me this before?
Sulley: Because we weren't friends before.
- Don looking at his old business card sparks a definite sense of pain from those who dreamed of a career but had to settle for a job out of their field just to pay the bills.
- Oozma Kappa when they find out Sulley cheated in the final event of the Scare Games. They don't turn on Sulley or even say anything, they just leave the unearned trophy on the ground and very sadly and silently slink away.
- The fleeting look on Mike's face when he finds his prized hat damaged after escaping the human world. The audience knows that this represents Mike's loss of a lifetime dream.
- Hardscrabble confronting Sulley over whether or not he thinks Mike is scary. He tries dodging it a few times and argues how Mike's hard working and very intelligent, but the question is repeated twice before he sadly falls silent, because they both know the answer. And to think this conversation was prompted because Sulley hoped there were no hard feelings after the canister incident.
- The picture of Sulley shaking hands with Waternoose can be considered this to those who remember how the friendship between them ends in Monsters, Inc..
- Randall betraying Mike to join ROR. Even worse is how Randall is totally unsympathetic to Mike's current plight.
Randall: I'm finally with the cool kids, Mike. Don't blow this for me.
- Randall's turn in general is a tearjerker, given how outgoing, friendly and respectful he was to Mike(compared to others like the ROR's and Sulley were at the start), offering up whichever bunk Mike wanted best as a good roommate, taking Mike's advice to not wear the glasses and use his camouflage, and making cupcakes to try to make friends at the first party. The fact that he turns on Mike and begins a rivalry with Sulley that lasts far into their adult lives at Monsters Inc. that ends with Randall getting trapped in the human world (presumably forever) is especially sad.
- The fact that Mike not only fails to achieve his dream of becoming a scarer: he fails to ever be recognized, celebrated, or even respected in his career.