Whenever I hear about Pitch Perfect or Fever Pitch, it takes me a second to decipher which movie has Drew Barrymore illegally running across the field at Fenway Park to Jimmy Fallon, and which one is about singing.
This post is not about Fever Pitch, though I’m sure I’ll mention it again at some point, out of confusion.
The other day, I watched Pitch Perfect for the first time. Here is how that viewing experience went.
Before I Watched
I knew Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson were in the movie and that singing was involved, as opposed to running across a baseball field.
See: Perfect Fever. Nope. See: Perfect Pitch. AH. See: Fever Pitch.
As far as I can tell, Rebel Wilson is hilarious.
I’m also a fan of Anna Kendrick. For some reason, she seems more like a “real person” than a “celebrity”, which is cool. Plus, I remember going to the movies with some friends in 2010, but the movie we (they) wanted to see was sold out, so we watched Up in the Air, instead.
Kendrick was really good in that, so I pat myself on the back for “discovering” her before she was a major star.
What can I say? I have two eyes for talent.
Anna Kendrick (Beca) goes to college with a “too cool for school” attitude and ultimately finds herself in an all-girls a cappella group, where she helps them evolve from their traditional, boring style, into something that actually entertains the crowd. The group ends up winning the A Cappella Championship.
There is also a lot of vomiting.
Instead of me writing out every detail of the plot, I’ll pick out some moments to talk about.
Oh, It’s 2012 Again!
Pitch Perfect came out in 2012 and holy cannoli, does it ever show. As regular humans (muggles), I don’t think we realize the subtle changes in fashion that gradually add up over the course of nine years.
This movie was full of the classic college looks. Guys with checkerboard shorts and American Eagle t-shirts, as well as a t-shirt and zip-up hoodie – that is always 60% zipped up – for every occasion.
There were also a lot of jeans. I think there was a dark jeans phase back then, but I’m not the one to ask about that.
The word “aesthetic” is grossly overused, so forgive me, but the whole aesthetic of the movie screamed 2012. It was a fun reminder of a time when our collective “worry” was that the world might end on December 21. Now, the world ends every day.
I have a soft spot for college move-in days. If you just sit back and watch the chaos unfold, they are unintentionally hilarious. Where else can you watch someone carry a mini-fridge up a flight of stairs? Where else can you watch someone drop a case of toilet paper in a parking lot and not notice?
Where else can you see someone’s younger sibling carry light items into residence, only for a random adult to go up to them and jokingly assume that they are the one moving in.
The whole thing is comical.
The move-in day moment in this movie that had me laughing was when Beca (Anna Kendrick) arrived and was greeted by an upbeat helper, wearing a bright t-shirt – that’s how you know they are there to assist.
The upbeat helper said, “What you’re gonna do is…” and then turned around to point in a bunch of directions.
Man, if I had a chocolate cake for every time I’ve seen that interaction play out.
It probably wasn’t a moment that anyone else watching the movie laughed at, but it cracked me up.
Kimmy Jin is my friend. No.
Ever notice how college students in TV shows and movies rarely, if ever, have a single room? They always have a roommate and it’s normally someone with whom they have nothing in common. And the roommate is normally fully moved in, as if they’ve been there for weeks.
Beca’s roommate is Kimmy Jin, whose main character trait is, “giving the cold shoulder to Beca”, I guess. I figured they were setting the viewer up for a moment where Kimmy Jin “saves the day”, or has a real conversation with Beca.
But that never happened. Her character stayed at 35 Fahrenheit the entire movie. I kind of enjoyed it. I just expected there to be some sort of payoff.
Maybe I’ve been programmed into expecting quiet characters to all of a sudden burst into dialogue in the back half of a movie. Perhaps, they don’t need a character arc.
You be you, Kimmy Jin.
If vomit isn’t your thing, you can skip this part. This is your only warning.
The movie begins with last year’s all-girl a cappella group, the Barden Bellas, performing on stage at the a cappella Finals. Things go south when one member, Aubrey, starts vomiting so so so SO violently. She looked like a broken fire hydrant.
Later in the movie, she did it again during rehearsals. This time, intentionally. Again, broken fire hydrant. AND THEN, one girl – the quiet one – fell in it and did snow angels. SNOW ANGELS. Vomit Angels?
The whole thing was disgusting.
One thing about Aubrey, though. Whenever she did this, she immediately recovered. You’d think that throwing up your last 8 meals – I’m estimating – would have you pretty knocked out and feeling weak, right? I mean, I’d want to go lie down.
Not Aubrey, though! She was fine. Didn’t even have to clean any chunks off her face.
Rebel Wilson Stole The Show
Playing the role of “Fat Amy”, whose real name is actually Patricia(?), Rebel Wilson was hilarious. I understand all the memes from 2013 now.
For me, the funniest part of the movie was when Amy (I’m not calling her Fat) stopped at a gas station to fill up the bus and when she got out, the boys bus was driving by. At which time, Bumper threw a burrito out the window at her. It was a direct hit.
It looked like a broken fire hydrant (Aubrey’s vomit) exploded on her.
And the way she reacted was perfect.
“i’ve been shot…I’VE BEEN SHOT!”
What a moment.
Then she said, “I’m gonna finish him like a cheesecake”.
The Guys Look Alike?
The leader of the Treblemakers (boys a cappella group; as if it could be the name of anything else) was a guy named, Bumper. He looks exactly like Jimmy Neutron, minus the exaggerated hair swoop.
Then there was Jesse. He pulled up on move-in day, singing out the window of the car. Yes, because all Freshmen have that kind of confidence before receiving their room key? I genuinely thought they were setting him up to be the villain.
Jesse’s roommate was Benji, who had a whole Star Wars thing set up in their room before Jesse even arrived. He also did a magic trick and I’m pretty sure he was wearing a cape. Again, to my earlier point. How did he have all of this unpacked already?
Jesse said he was okay with all of it, but I didn’t believe him. I was expecting him to “accidentally” burn the whole thing down.
But, no. Jesse wasn’t the villain.
However, you could’ve told me that him and Benji were twins and I wouldn’t have asked any questions.
Maybe it was the matching sideburns? Or the fact they had the same haircut? Was it a two-for-one deal? Or was it a three-for-one deal? Because Bumper had the same haircut.
Sorry. My point of this is the casting of these three characters was the antithesis of diverse.
Beca doesn’t want to be in college and is only there because her father is a professor at the university. He made his grand appearance into the film with a Dad joke, claiming he was campus security. Beca would much rather be in Los Angeles, pursuing a career as a music producer.
Beca likes to mix songs. What’s the correct term for this? She likes to create mashups? Song mixes? Song mixing? I don’t know. It’s like a Venn Diagram of songs for your ears. You know what I mean.
Her background knowledge of that inspired the new direction for the Barden Bellas.
Anyway, I’m only writing this section about “Audio Mixing” because in real life it felt like everyone in 2012 was trying to become a DJ, or was playing around with audio editing programs.
By “everyone”, I mean maybe two people I knew at the time. They are who I thought of when I saw Beca doing it.
I think I was about 12 minutes into the movie and all of a sudden, Beca had been in college for a month. The plot moved quickly and I can understand why – there was a lot of story to tell.
However, at times, it felt like we were just jumping into something because it was time to do it, and not because there had been a proper build to it.
For example, when Beca went to jail for accidentally smashing a window with a trophy. Jesse bailed her out, except wait, he didn’t. Beca’s dad bailed her out because Jesse called him. Beca gets mad at Jesse and doesn’t talk to him for a while.
I know it was time for some conflict in the movie, but it felt weird.
That whole trophy/jail/dad being really mad thing was all a giant misunderstanding and could’ve been cleared up in two seconds.
“Yeah, the trophy broke and flung itself through a window. I was arrested because I was holding a piece of the trophy and Amy had run away.”
That’s all Beca had to say and, surely, her dad would understand?
And how was Jesse supposed to know that bailing Beca out of jail, with her dad’s assistance, would’ve been the wrong thing to do? Did she want to stay in jail all night?
There just seemed to be a lot of misguided and unnecessary anger, when the whole situation called for just a little bit – like a teensy weensy bit – of understanding.
You just have to put a wedge between Jesse and Beca, so they can reconcile with a kiss at the end. Never seen that before.
Musicals & Me
If you’re wondering what I think of musicals, my answer is: I don’t know. I can’t say I’ve watched a bunch of musicals. In fact, I can only think of High School Musical and The Lion King.
By the way, it wasn’t until about 3 years ago that I realized The Lion King was a musical. I had no idea. Yes, I watched it many times as a kid. I even had the backpack. It just never registered in my brain that I was watching a musical.
When they do the musical episodes of Riverdale, I take that as my cue to fast-forward until they’re done singing.
So, as I said before, I don’t know how to feel about musicals. They’re just there, I guess. And I’m just here. We both exist.
Personally, I didn’t hate the amount of times they sang, “The Sign” by Ace of Base. Darn right, they saw the sign!
The a cappella song mashups threw my brain into a bit of a tizzy. I found myself failing at trying to follow one set of lyrics, while someone else was singing a different set. Both sides of my brain were playing tug-of-war.
That must be so hard to do in real life. Singing your lyrics while hearing someone else sing theirs. At some point you just scream, “Be quiet for a second!”, right?
Anyway, I liked the movie. It was fun. I’ll watch the sequels and probably blog about them, too.
Thanks for reading!
Have you seen Pitch Perfect? What are your thoughts on it?