It’s Not Shit: Pitch Perfect
Did you know that the last time I posted an It’s Not Shit was almost 3 months ago?
Time does fly when you’re watching nothing worth gushing over.
But Pitch Perfect has brought me out of the darkness, and into the shallow, enjoyable light.
TL;DR Completely self-aware and slavishly non-committal, Pitch Perfect is just great. Simple as that. 5 out of 5 stars.
5? Yeah, it’s worth it.
The plot is surprisingly simple. Anna “suck it, K-Stew. Twilight ain’t holdin’ dis bitch back” Kendrick is an alternative, hipsterrific wannabe DJ who joins an a cappella performance group at her new college. The Bellas, as they’re called, are currently in a slump following an embarrassing performance by new leader Aubrey. Aubrey thinks the group, now comprised of your typical rag-tag bunch of misfits (including Rebel Wilson, casting off her mediocre performances of late), should stay the traditional course. Anna, being a militant hipster bitch, thinks otherwise. Of course, the new ideas win out eventually, as do The Bellas. There’s a subplot involving Anna’s flirtation with a guy from an opposing, all-male group. It isn’t intrusive.
Pitch Perfect was kind of a hard sell on first glance. It’s clearly a Glee hangover (and that’s not a good thing. Have you watched Glee lately?), a cappella singing is fucking lame, and the trailer includes a rap-battle-esque sing-off thing, which had me cringeing into next week.
But fear not, unpleasable reader, because Pitch Perfect knows what you want: brutal apathy.
This movie doesn’t take anything seriously. Like, for real. Nothing is treated as important or sacred or melodramatic. Ever.
The best result of this is Anna’s character. I had my bathtub and toaster at the ready when she really started hammering how alternative and non-conformist she was. But thankfully, nobody in the movie gives a fuck. She is met with constant (and rightful) opposition and is called out multiple for times for being the hipster bitch she is.
Equally, she doesn’t have a big epiphany or realisation that she needs to change. And neither does anyone else. They all just roll on like rational, real human beings.
Why I DON’T hate this movie:
A great example of Anna being a cunt and getting called out for it comes when Jesse (the guy she likes from the opposing boy group) tries to help her during a post-performance argument with The Bellas. She overreacts like a douche and tells him to fuck off and is all “I don’t need your help.” Instead of this being one of those empowering moments you’d see in your run-of-the-mill romcom shit, Anna looks exactly like the bitch she’s being. And later, instead of apologising or at least admitting they were both at fault, Jesse totally bitches her out for it. Equality!
Aubrey gets pretty even treatment, too, despite being supposedly positioned as a typical, blonde Alpha Bitch. Her backstory and motivation (to win and redeem herself) are known right from the beginning, and although the songs she tries to have The Bellas perform are dated and boring, they are proven to help them win the lower level competitions. And instead of the clichéd humiliation by Anna that I was expecting to change her mind, she actually is won over gradually by Anna and The Bellas proving to her the value of their opinions. Holy. Shit.
Anna and Jesse’s romance is super downplayed. Which is excellent, because it’s not the most important part of the movie. Likewise, the competition aspect is also pushed out of focus. The Bellas’ Nationals win actually happens off-screen.
This leaves more room for the 2 things Pitch Perfect properly cares about: the jokes, and the music.
The a cappella songs are scarily enjoyable. I’m guessing there’s probably a ton of mixing and layering and shit to make it sound as good as it does, but I don’t care. It’s great. The numbers are energetic and fun. And most importantly: short. The riff-off is testament to this.
The comedy is the star of the movie. This is backed up by the absence of any melodrama. Even when Anna cries from watching The Breakfast Club (and appreciating its soundtrack), it’s because she’s understanding something she had earlier dismissed out of hipsterdom. Not because she realises she loves something that her Male Lead cares about. I was just constantly impressed by how unbogged every aspect of the movie was.
Rebel Wilson has finally arrived. And shocker, it’s because she wasn’t forced to use her god-awful American accent imitation. She makes a couple of jokes about being Australian, but it isn’t the most important part of her character. Maybe future movies could have the same attitude.
Rebel picks up the best lines of the movie. The absolute stunner, and I shit you not, I lol’d IRL, is when the black chick in The Bellas finally (after much speculation) references her homosexuality. Rebel doesn’t waste a beat: “Whoomp, there it is!” Fucking. Magic. Bonus points for being a song reference in a movie about singing. So cerebral.
The fat jokes don’t go astray, either. After being burrito-bombed by Bumper (the leader of the boy group), she finds her resolve: “I’m gonna finish him like a cheesecake.” I know that feel.
Brittany Snow does a great job with her limited role. Maybe Hairspray wasn’t her only chance at the big time?
Elizabeth Banks (Banksy!) plays a singing contest commentator. Damn, her career is weird. But she’s fucking fantastic.
Rebel strips during an otherwise conservative performance of Turn the Beat Around. Why not?
Bumper is hot. Dat built-fat.
Freddie Stroma plays Anna’s boss at her radio internship. He has gotten considerably hotter since the last time I saw him.
Reasons to hate:
But I’d just like to put it out there that I presonally hated The Breakfast Club. Probably because I’m a post-90s, Gen Y fuckface and don’t appreciate a simpler time for filmmaking. But yeah, I just thought it was trite and clutching at profundity that just wasn’t there.
Anna’s whole “I don’t like movies or respect film scoring as an ambition” thing is fucking random. This from a girl whose apparently only skill is mixing tracks that share chord progressions. I can see why her father doesn’t support her career goal.
Oh, Anna has daddy issues, btw. They’re covered pretty lightly and don’t intrude on the plot much, but there is 1 scene where they are a problem. Anna is arrested following a brawl (long story. It involves Donald Faison playing a washed-up, has-been/his real life), so Jesse calls her dad to bail her out. She chucks a shit fit at Jesse for getting involved in her bizness, boiiii. Fuck off, cunt.
Anna is surprised that other people know who this super underground, revolutionary DJ is that she likes. It’s David Guetta. Bitch, everyone knows who David Guetta is. It was easily the most surreal scene in the movie. It’s literally the only time where I questioned if the filmmakers knew what they were doing. Weird.
The cup song is odd and hipstery.
The movie vilifies Ace of Base’s The Sign by repeatedly using it to show how uncool and out-of-touch The Bellas are. Um, not okay. Ace of Base are eternal. Back off.
The quiet Asian character is a bit of a lazy “look how random the writers can be” joke vehicle.
Oh, and Rebel and Bumper, despite frequent sexual tension, never get their mack on. A real missed opportunity.
It’s pretty much Glee for alternative, conceited, 20-something hipster-lites. IE: me. It’s not shit. 5 out of 5 stars.