Monday, April 1, 2013

Pitch Perfect (2012)

Directed by Jason Moore (1) 

Cast: Anna Kendrick (2), Skylar Austin (3), Anna Camp (4), Brittany Snow (5), Rebel Wilson (6), 
Alexis Knapp (7), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (8), Elizabeth Banks (9)

(Watch the trailer)

My favourite quotes - "
Look honey, college is great. You get to create memories here. I see it every day. You just have to give it a chance.", "How do you not like movies? Not liking movies is like not liking puppies.", "You guys are gonna get pitch slapped so hard, your man boobs are gonna concave.", & "Even though some of you are pretty thin, I think that you all have fat hearts. And that's what matters."

My favourite dialogue -

Bumper: You are probably the grossest human being I've ever seen.
Fat Amy: Well you're no panty dropper yourself.
Bumper: So I have a feeling that we should kiss. And, but is this feeling a good feeling? Or an incorrect feeling?
Fat Amy: Well, I some times have a feeling I can do crystal meth, but then I think... ummm... better not. 

Jesse: What's up weirdo! 
Beca: Oh! What's this?
Jesse: As much as I love spending time with you stacking CDs. And I do. I love it. Like more than life. I figured we can do some other fun things that don't make us wanna kill ourselves right?
Beca: Yeah. 
Jesse: So, I brought some movies. Jaws, E.T., The Breakfast Club, Star Wars, and Rocky. Best scored and soundtrack movies of all time. That's what I wanna do when I grow up. I wanna score movies. Bring people to tears, you know, blow their minds. I feel that only music can do that. 
Beca: Yeah. You must really sweep your girlfriend off her feet.
Jesse: Oh I don't have a girlfriend.
Beca: What? 
Jesse: Yup.
Beca: You have juice pouches and Rocky!
Jesse: Okay. So, what do you want to watch first?
Beca: Can we do something else? We could relive my parents' divorce, visit a gynecologist. 
Jesse: What do you not like movies or something? Like any movies? What the hell is wrong with you! How do you not like movies? Not liking movies is like not liking puppies.
Beca: They're fine. I just get bored and never make it to the end.
Jesse: The endings are the best part.
Beca: They're predictable. Like the guy gets the girl, and that kid sees dead people, and Darth Vader is Luke's father.
Jesse: Oh right, so you just happen to guess the biggest cinematic reveal in history.
Beca: 'Vader' in German means 'father'. His name is literally Darth Father. 
Jesse: Huh. So you know German. Well, now I know why you don't like fun things. You know, you need a movie education. You need a moviecation. And I'm gonna give it to you.

Did You Know? - The film is loosly based on a non-fiction book of the same name by Mickey Rapkin. 

Beca Mitchell: No one was more surprised than me. But I really liked those girls.
Dr Mitchell: And you er, you thought quitting was the answer?
Beca Mitchell: Seriously? You can say that to me?
Dr Mitchell: Oh come on Bec. That's so unfair. Look, your mum and I, we didn't work. But I tried so hard to make things right between us. But you just shut me out.
Beca Mitchell: Well I shut everybody out. Don't take it personally. It's just easier.
Dr Mitchell: It's also really lonely.
Beca Mitchell: What do I do?
Dr Mitchell: Well that's up to you.

No man, or woman, is an island. And that is especially so with a cappella. Besides showcasing the wonderful world of a cappella, Pitch Perfect tells the story of Beca Mitchell, played by the talented Anna Kendrick, who is forced by her father to attend college. All she wants to do is to be a DJ and produce music, but her father doesn't feel that there is a future to being a DJ. So he insists that she attend college, get a proper education, and experience college life. 

What Beca learns through the course of the movie is that letting people in isn't the end of the world. 

Once upon a time, I was like Beca. I got burnt before, so I closed myself to other people and didn't trust anyone enough to form strong bonds or any kind of friendship or relationship. That was during my secondary school days. So for 3 years, I was a loner. 

Dr Mitchell: Beca? Beca, wake up. Funny, this doesn't look like your Intro to Philosophy class.

Beca Mitchell: I'm posing an important philosophical question. If I don't actually go to that class will it still suck?
Dr Mitchell: Look honey, college is great. You get to create memories here. I see it every day. You just have to give it a chance. You've been here, what, a month now. Do you have any friends?
Beca Mitchell: Kimmy-Jin is my friend.
Kimmy-Jin: No.
Dr Mitchell: You gotta get out there Bec. You gotta try something.
Beca Mitchell: I got a job at the radio station.
Dr Mitchell: Oh great that place. Yes. Dark and dirty, has like, what, those 3 weirdos who work there.
Beca Mitchell: Well 4 now.
Dr Mitchell: You gotta try something new Bec. Join one club on campus. And if at the end of the year, you still don't wanna be here, you still wanna go off to LA and be P Diddy, well then, you can quit college. And I will help you move to LA.
Beca Mitchell: Seriously?
Dr Mitchell: Yes seriously. But I really need to see it Beca. This is college. Join in. 

Since doing School Days, a recent television series I worked on, I have been thinking a lot about my own school days. And looking back, I really don't have many fond memories of my primary or secondary school. For the first 10 years of compulsory education, I can count the number of friends, from those school days, I still keep in touch with regularly today. (PS: I'm excluding those on Facebook). Zero. Well, maybe 1. But I know her through Sunday classes rather than school, so to me, that doesn't really count. 

I don't have many fond memories during my primary or secondary school days, so after many years of being mostly friendless and keeping to myself, I decided that I needed to make a change and make friends. You see, I got lonely. I think it was my secondary school prom that made me wake up and decide that I need to break out of my shell and trust people again. On a side note, my prom experiences have never been good. Something bad always happens during my prom. But I'll save that story for another post on a film like Drive Me Crazy or Wish Upon A Star

Truth be told, I would say that my college years were the most eventful and fun, yet heartbreakingly painful. My polytechnic years were the most pleasant and memorable, with a healthy dose of suffering. And my university years were the most driven and educational period of my life. But I agree with Beca's father, there's much to experience when you are a student. If you can afford it, slow down and enjoy every minute of your school days. Don't be in such a hurry to get into the real world and work. 

You might think you know what you want, and you may actually end up doing what you love and want you think you want now. But who knows, all that could change over the years. In college, I wanted to be a Literature teacher and teach at my alma mater Catholic Junior College. But look where I am today! I'm a writer. I'm fulfilling a childhood dream.

This prayer is a favourite of one of my ex boyfriends, Mr 4.

God, give me grace to accept with serenity 
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

- American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr

This prayer always reminds me that change is the only constant. But also that we must know what we can or cannot change. And remember that there are some things we cannot change no matter how hard we try.

I applaude how Beca dreams big and is such a go-getter. But I'm glad she eventually learns to slow down and smell the roses. It makes it all worth while to know that she realises that some people are worth being around and fighting for.

Beca isn't the only one who had to learn to be open to new things and change. Anna Camp's Aubrey also had to learn to let go of her need for control and accept that change isn't always a bad thing. Control. We can't always control the situation or people around us. And I'm glad Aubrey, played by Anna Camp, learns to let loose and go with the flow by the end of the film. And I loved the way Brittany Snow's Chloe finally took control of how she wanted to be treated by Aubrey and stood up for herself. These two wonderful actresses did a fantastic job as Aubrey and Chloe. Especially Anna Camp. She was able to play the "villain" without us writing her off as a total b***h.

Now about the a cappella. With the popularity of Glee and High School Musical, it's no surprise that people would enjoy Pitch Perfect and all the a cappella goodness it has to offer us. In fact, I think it's amazing how an a cappella group can harmonise and produce such amazing sounds with just their mouths! I could never do that! But what's even more amazing is how the film makes a cappella look like a rockstar! I think that while plenty of people like Tommy, the university's constantly harassed audition emcee played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, can relate to being looked down on because of their love for a cappella, this film has put them in a new light. A better light. So kudos to the creative team of Pitch Perfect.

Aubrey: Nothing! Nothing. This is a Bella's rehearsal.
Beca: I know. I just wanted to say I'm sorry. What I did was a really dick move, and I shouldn't have changed the set without asking you guys. And I definitely shouldn't have left. I let you guys down and I'm really sorry. And Aubrey if you would have me, I want back in.
(Beca takes a chair and drags it out until it nearly reaches the edge of the room)
Aubrey: Wait!
Beca: Thank you. That would have been embarrassing. 
(Beca leaves the chair and walks back towards them)
Aubrey: Beca I know I have been hard on you. Okay. I know that I have been hard on everyone here. But I am my father's daughter. And he always said, if at first you don't succeed, pack your bags.
Fat Amy: Jesus.
Chloe: It's really crazy.
Beca: I get it. Mine gets on me too. Not like that but, er, I guess we don't really know that much about each other. About most of you really.
Stacie: Well, I'll confess something that none of you know about me. I have a lot of sex.
Fat Amy: Yeah, we know Stacie.
Stacie: Only cos I just told you.
Beca: This is a good idea. That was a bad example, but this is a good idea. Why don't we all go around the room and we can all say something about ourselves that nobody else knows.
Cynthia: Okay. I got something. This is hard for me to admit to you guys.
Fat Amy: I think we all know where this is going. Let's be honest.
Cynthia: Well, for the last 2 years, I've had a serious gambling problem.
Fat Amy: What?
Beca: What?
Cynthia: It started when I broke up with my girlfriend.
Fat Amy: Whoop! There it is.
Denise: I still love you. 
Beca: Anyone else?
Lily: I ate my twin in the womb.
Fat Amy: What?
Beca: Okay. Fat Amy?
Fat Amy: I'm an open book. I mean for god's sake you guys all call me Fat Amy. See, I guess I'm just not really living if I'm not a 100% honest. And my real name is Fat Patricia.
Beca: Okay, I've never been one of those girls who had a lot of friends who were girls. And I do now. And that's pretty cool. So that's me. Someone else please go.
Chloe: Okay. Over spring break, I made the courage decision to remove my nodes. I know. The doctor said that I can't sing above a G-sharp, maybe ever. I thought this season was over. 

It was really nice to get to know all the main characters in the Barden Bellas a little better in that brief but effective get to know you session in the training room. This scene helped the film become more than just an a cappella showcase. It gave us something to really think about. About life, about friendships, and about the experiences that shape us. All of us has a past. Some of us may have had it easy, and some have it really hard, but regardless, everybody has a different story to tell. Our past shapes us to become we are today, but remember that its how we react to the present that determines who we become in the future. 

Face your fears instead of pushing them or running away from them. Saying sorry maybe the hardest thing to do, but think about what you could gain in return. Admitting you're wrong, learning from your mistakes so that you can become a better person. That's the way it should be. And if you're on the receiving end of that apology, remember that everyone makes mistakes. And forgiveness will give you so much more peace and strength than to hold on to that anger and bear a grudge. 

Beca: I love you awesome nerds.
Fat Amy: Yeah. You guys are the best. Even though some of you are pretty thin, I think that you all have fat hearts. And that's what matters. Okay, let's just smash this. Okay?

Pitch Perfect is very well casted. And I love the diversity of the Barden Bellas. I knew that Brittany Snow can sing because she did a great job in the film version of Hairspray. But I was totally surprised and floored by Anna Kendrick's voice and performance in the film. She stuck a great balance between the tough chick she seems to be on the surface and the slightly damaged and hurt girl inside waiting to be loved and belong. And of course, Rebel Wilson. She is so funny! And she improvised with a lot of her lines and I think they were all hilarious and spot on! Her confidence in herself shines through and I'd love to see more of her work in the future. Oh, and Elizabeth Banks was so sarcastic and funny as Gail! The commentary by John Michael Higgins' commentator John Smith and Elizabeth Banks' Gail Abernath-McKadden is so mean and sharp, but oddly still pretty hilarious. 

Skylar Austin also impressed me in the film. Although I think I was distracted by his good looks and great voice to really pay attention to his acting performance. But still, he had a bookish charm that didn't see too glaring and would sparkle once in a while and catch your eye. I did however enjoy the banter between Skylar's Jesse and Anna's Beca. Their sizzlingly beneath the surface kind of chemistry is wonderful to watch throughout the film. In fact, it made me wish for more scenes with the two of them.

Pitch Perfect has some really awesome performances and music besides a great tale and message. So what's not to love about it? The choreography, singing, and the mash-ups are soooo good! I love watching them over and over again. Among my favourites are...

Since U Been Gone sung during the audition

The Riff Off songs Mickey, Like A Virgin, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, S&M, Let’s Talk About Sex, I’ll Make Love To You, Feels Like The First Time, No Diggity

There's also Just The Way You Are and Just A Dream which is the Pool Mashup

Bright Lights Bigger City and Magic the Treblemakers' Finals

The Bella's Finals consisting of the songs like Price Tag, Don’t You (Forget About Me), Give Me Everything, Just The Way You Are, Party In the U.S.A. and Turn The Beat Around.

(1) Jason Moore has also directed musicals like Les MisĂ©rables, Avenue Q, and Shrek The Musical. 

(2) Anna Kendrick has acted in films like Camp (2003), Twilight (2008), The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009), Up In The Air (2009), The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010), Scott Prilgrim vs. The World (2010), 50/50 (2011), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (2011), What To Expect When You're Expecting (2011), End Of Watch (2012), and The Company You Keep (2013). She also voiced the character of Courtney Babcock in the stop-motion animation ParaNorman (2012).  

(3) Skylar Austin has performed in musicals like Spring Awakening and Rent. He has also acted in films like Taking Woodstock (2009) and 21 And Over (2013). He also voiced the character of Roy in the animation Wreck-It Ralph (2012) and acted in television series like Girls and House.

(4) Anna Camp is known for her role as Jill Mason in the 2008 Broadway revival of Equus. She is also known for playing Sarah Newlin in the television series True Blood and the role of Gwen Grandy in the series The Mindy Project. She has guest starred in series like Roswell, The Office, Glee, Numb3rs, Covert Affairs, Mad Men, The Good Wife, and House of Lies and also acted in the film The Help (2011). 

(5) Brittany Snow has acted in films like The Pacifier (2005), John Tucker Must Die (2006), Hairspray (2007), Finding Amanda (2008), and Syrup (2013). She also played Margaret "Meg" Pryor in the television series American Dreams (2002-2005) and has guest starred in series like Nip/Tuck, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Gossip Girl, Mad Love, and Ben & Kate. 

(6) Rebel Wilson has acted in films like Bridesmaids (2011), Bachelorette (2012), This Means War (2012), Struck By Lighting (2012), What To Expect When You're Expecting (2012), and Pain & Gain (2013). 

(7) Alexis Knapp has acted in films like Couples Retreat (2009), Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lighting Thief (2010), and So Undercover (2012).

(8) Christopher Mintz-Plasse has acted in films like Superbad (2007), Year One (2008), Kick-Ass (2009), Fright Night (2011), Movie 43 (2013), The To-Do List (2013), and Kick-Ass 2 (2013).  He also provides the voice of Fishlegs Ingerman in the animation How To Train Your Dragon (2010), and again in How To Train Your Dragon 2 (2014). He has also voiced Giuseppe in Marmaduke (2010), and Alvin in ParaNorman (2012).

(9) Elizabeth Banks has acted in films like Spider-Man (2002), Catch Me If You Can (2002), Daredevil (2003), Seabiscuit (2003), Spider-Man 2 (2004), The Sisters (2005), The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Spider-Man 3 (2007), Definitely, Maybe (2008), Zack And Miri Make A Porno (2008), W. (2008), The Hunger Games (2012), Man On A Ledge (2012), What To Expect When You're Expecting (2012), People Like Us (2012), Movie 43 (2013), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), and The Lego Movie (2014). She has also acted as Dr. Kim Briggs in the television series Scrubs and as Avery Jessup in 30 Rock. She has also guest starred in television series like Sex & The City, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Without A Trace, and Modern Family.

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks... Pitch Perfect will do to a cappella what Bring It On did for cheerleading, to totally change the perspective people have of a cappella. I mean, a cappella is not easy! Neither is cheerleading! On top of that, Pitch Perfect delivered a film that reminds you to  enjoy your school days and create memories that will last a lifetime. And if you just like it because of the awesome a cappella performances in the film, well, why not. It's a good reason to like it. (4.8 of 5)

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  1. I soooooo love this movie & especially the pitch perfect songs! Old and new songs with a twist on their renditions. Totally aca-awesome! :) Utkarsh is my crush <3

    1. I love the music in the film too. Here's a treat for you:

      It's Anna Kendrick's Cups MTV. =P