NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jason
American Animals begins with showing a map of the world and then slowly zooming in on Kentucky and particularly Transylvania University which is where it’s primarily set in. In the intro we see people doing makeup, but we don’t know what it’s for yet. Spencer is a student there and an artist and is best friends with Warren who is also a student. They are both very normal suburban kids who along with their Eric decide that they want to do something to make their lives extraordinary. So they begin to hatch up a plan to rob some books from their college’s rare book library that are worth millions of dollars.
They decide to recruit their friend Chas who comes from a wealthy family, and they decide that he can be not only the financier but also the getaway driver. They begin to plot the crime in Warren’s basement, and the boys realize that the one thing that is getting in their way is Betty Jean Gooch who is the librarian in the rare books area. Warren suggests they all draw straws to see who has to “take her out” and they all say no, so Warren says that he will take care of it all.
Meanwhile, the boys practice for the big day, with Chas working on driving his car from the school to their drop-off point as fast as he can, with 14 minutes being his fastest time. The boys decide that the best way to not be noticed is to dress up like old people because old people go unnoticed according to them. So they start applying the makeup similar to how it was applied during the opening scenes of the movie. So now we know the tie-in to why they were being made up.
The crew decides that Warren will go upstairs into the rare book room first and disengage Betty Jean Gooch and then will call up Eric to come and help him break into the cases and steal the books and getaway. Spencer is perched up on a roof across the way and is acting as lookout and Chas is parked in the car ready to get away. As Warren gets to the top floor, he looks into the rare book room and realizes that there’s some kind of staff meeting going on and Mrs. Gooch has four or five other people with her in the library. So they have to abort the heist.
Part of the plan was for Eric and Spencer to be taking their finals right after the heist so they wouldn’t look guilty as they would have an alibi that they were taking their exams if something were to happen. So they have to first go take their exam after the failed heist.
As they’re driving back to Warren’s place, Spencer seems to feel a sense of relief that it isn’t going to happen. He starts telling Warren ‘maybe it’s best that we didn’t do it.” But Warren maintains that it’s not for the best, and he’s furious about the whole thing. So he decides that they’re just going to take another run at it before finals are over. But this time they’re just going to act as though they’re book collectors and make an appointment to be alone in the library with Mrs. Gooch.
They schedule the appointment and Warren goes upstairs with the plan that he will subdue Mrs. Gooch and then have Eric come up to help carry the books out of there. So Warren goes up and is meeting with Mrs. Gooch. The camera then pans back to Eric who is checking his phone over and over waiting for Warren to call. The phone rings, and it’s Warren saying it’s clear to come up. Eric gets upstairs and sees that Mrs. Gooch is still sitting at her desk. Eric looks at Warren pissed off and confused as to why he called him up when he hadn’t taken care of Mrs. Gooch. Eric comes in and walks around with Warren for a bit looking at the books before Warren finally takes Mrs. Gooch down with a taser. She fights it a bit, and Warren yells at her just to relax, and they zip-tie her feet and hands as she’s laying on the ground crying. Eric is freaking out and struggled tying her feet. Warren yells at him to open the case, but he can’t find a key, and he starts to freak out even more. Warren finds the keys on Mrs. Gooch’s necklace, and they take out the big Audubon book. They grab another huge book, both are like 3 feet long and extremely heavy. They also grab a few smaller books.
They start their getaway in the elevator and Eric his the main level button instead of the basement. So the elevator opens to the main level, and all the students can see into it with them holding the paintings. They get off in the basement but turns out there’s no way out from there. So they go up to the main level and try to walk straight out, but students know something is up and call the police. As they get to a stairwell, they drop the Audubon book and another heavy book and just make a run for it. They hop in the car with Chas who is freaked out they don’t have any books. They drive away, and Chas eventually kicks them out of his car as he’s really pissed off and worried.
The guys did manage to get a Darwin book and another rare book out of their, and they set an appointment in New York City with a Christie’s buyer. They hope to sell the books before 8 days when they end up in the FBI stolen files. So they road trip to NYC and meet with a buyer who says they are amazing. But she also says their main buyer isn’t there, and she can’t approve a sail until the next day. The guys get back to the car and freak out about it and inevitably decide to go home. Once home spencer realizes they gave his college email address and personal cell phone to the lady at Christies and that might get them caught.
The boys try to go back to life as normal, but we see shots of them each individually getting arrested. We find out that they plead guilty and each get seven years in prison. Throughout the movie, the real Eric, Chas, Spencer, and Warren are interviewed, and at the end, they all talk about Warren meeting with someone, and that’s what got them caught. Warren denies it, and the final scenes tell us what all the guys are up to. Chas is a personal trainer, Warren is studying film, and Spencer is an artist in Kentucky.
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