At this point, during my cinematic journey back to college, I paused and considered the films that I had already watched. I had watched three films about campus political activists and one film about a college tennis team and the results had been mixed. How, I wondered, could it be that watching none of these films, with the possible exception of R.P.M., was as much fun as actually attending college?
And then it occurred to me that a huge part of the problem was that I really couldn’t relate to any of the characters in the previous films I had watched. Political activists bore me to tears and, for that matter, so do jocks. So, for my next college film, I decided to take care of that problem by re-watching a movie that I actually could relate to — 2012’s Pitch Perfect.
I was recently shocked when a male acquaintance of mine told me that he loved Pitch Perfect. Don’t get me wrong — I love Pitch Perfect, too. But it’s never really struck me as a film that guys would like.
“Really?” I said, “I love Pitch Perfect! What was your favorite part?”
“The shower,” he said.
And suddenly, it all made sense.
In Pitch Perfect, alienated college student Beca (Anna Kendrick) is taking a shower at her dorm and, thinking she’s alone, she starts singing. Earlier in the day, she had turned down a chance to audition for an all girls a capella group, saying that she really couldn’t sing. However, as this scene shows, she actually has a wonderful voice.
However, one of the members of the a capella group — Chloe (Brittany Show) — is over in the next shower stall and, as soon as she overhears Beca singing, she confronts her with, “I knew you could sing!” and she and the reluctant Beca end up singing Titanium together.
(And, of course, they’re both naked while doing it, which I imagine is the reason why, whenever I mention Pitch Perfect around any guy, the shower scene always seems to come up. Of course, none of them ever mentions my favorite part of the scene, which is when the cute guy who was taking a shower with Chloe pops up and tells the girls that they sound really good.)
Even though I’ve never been invited to be a member of an a capella singing group, I could relate to that scene, if just because I also sing in the shower and, during my first year at college, I lived in a dorm with a communal shower as well. Every time I took a shower, I would sing — not to be obnoxious but just because that’s what I had always done and, when I was living at home, nobody ever seemed to have a problem with me singing.
And, like anyone who has ever spontaneously broke out into song, I guess there was always a part of me that hoped it would inspire a complete stranger to tell me how talented I was. I didn’t necessarily want anyone to interrupt my shower but there was a part of me that always hoped someone would say, “I knew you could sing!”
So, one morning, I was down in the Bruce Hall cafeteria and I overheard two girls who lived on the same wing as me talking.
“Oh my God,” I heard one of them say, “did you hear her singing in the shower this morning?”
“Oh my God,” the other replied, “she has got the worst voice I have ever heard. I’m just like, ‘Bitch, will you shut the fuck up?'”
Now, I’d like to say that I stood up for myself and told both of them off, because that’s what would have happened in a movie like Pitch Perfect. Unfortunately, however, I wasn’t in a movie. I was in the real world, I was 18, I was insecure, and I was living away from home for the first time. So, instead of turning around and challenging those two mean girls to a sing-off, I went back to my room and cried. Then I got mad and said “Fuck them!” Then I cried some more. And this went on for a while.
Finally, my roommate Kim got tired of watching me pace back and forth, alternatively crying and cursing. Standing in front of me, she said, “Lisa, do you like to sing?”
“Yes,” I replied, in between sobs, “and how dare they–”
“If you like singing, then sing!”
To this day, those six words make up some of the best advice I’ve ever been given. As soon as I heard them, I felt better. And yes, I did take Kim’s advice. Every time I took a shower, I would sing. Of course now, I made it a point to sing as loudly and as with much twang in my voice as possible. If I couldn’t be the best, then I was happily going to embrace being the worst. The important thing is that I enjoyed singing so that was what I was going to do and if they didn’t like it, that was their problem.
But anyway, this review is supposed to be about Pitch Perfect and what can I say other than it’s one of my favorite films of all time. The plot is predictable — of course, Beca joins the a capella group and of course, she, Fat Amy (played by Rebel Wilson, who is like a hilarious force of nature in this film), and a bunch of other unlikely singers go on to compete and win. And yes, in the end, Beca also gets a really cute boyfriend.
Pitch Perfect really is pretty much Bring It On with a capella replacing cheerleading. But, who cares? The music is great, the cast is full of good actors (and Elizabeth Banks has a hilarious cameo as a commentator), and it’s just a very likeable and enjoyable movie. If you’re not happy after watching Pitch Perfect, then there’s probably no hope for you.
In other words, it’s a movie that makes me want to sing.