According to the assumptions by which Hollywood usually operates, Pitch Perfect should never have been an success. It was a musical about nerds, a film about women made mostly by women, with no box office stars to its name. It wasn’t a sequel, a remake, a superhero movie, or any of the typically bankable films that Hollywood regularly pumps out. Its eventual success happened not in spite of the things seemingly stacked against it, but because of them. It was a film that celebrated women the way it celebrated music, and served not the stereotypical male “geek culture” that movies like The Avengers cater to, but instead it embraced the nerd inside of us. The one that’s sometimes awkward or embarrassed, that hides from the world around us, but is immensely passionate about whatever it is that we love, music or otherwise. And in the end it made big stars out of its cast of familiar faces. There is no other movie among my friends and acquaintances that is as universally loved as Pitch Perfect, and it is always one of the first answers given to the question, “What should we watch?” Its passionate fanbase meant that a sequel was inevitable, and the only question was whether they could recapture lightning in a bottle and make something as special as the film that captured so many hearts. The answer isn’t quite so simple, but Pitch Perfect 2 is still a lot of fun, and it fills a niche that is too often ignored by Hollywood.
Welcome to “Friday Favorites” which highlight some of my favorite movie-related things.
I’m a big fan of movies that manage to capture the entire film in just one scene, especially when it is done in a way that doesn’t scream, “This is what the movie is about,” in an annoyingly obvious way. Hook is by far the best example of this, but discussing that scene is an essay for another time, so instead I present you with a similar scene from Pitch Perfect. Take a look:
Beca (Anna Kendrick) is starting her first year at Barden College with a free ride because her father is a professor there. The only problem is, she doesn’t want to go to college. Beca would rather be going to LA to become a music producer. She spends every spare moment (even in the cab she took from home to avoid interacting with her father) on her laptop, creating mash-ups and musical creations, her real joy in life. She has an awkward first meeting with her roommate, she scoffs condescendingly at the goofy people she encounters around campus (especially the cute guy who sings at her out the window of a car), and her embarrassing dad is insisting that if she gives college a try and doesn’t like it he will pay for her to move to LA. This would typically be the start of a typical college movie about romance, parties, friends, and finding your place. But Pitch Perfect has something different going for it. You see… Beca is a nerd.