Posted on 6/11/13 07:02 AM
"I'm gonna finish him like a cheesecake!"
I feel I was a bit unprofessional in my original review of this film, since it was like the second review I ever did, so I'm gonna make a new one. Like I explained in the original review, I first heard of Pitch Perfect from a friend in school. He was asking everyone if they saw Pitch Perfect, the new movie. I was an avid user of Rotten Tomatoes, even back then. So of course I heard of Pitch Perfect. To me, it was just a movie with that girl from Up in the Air and 50/50 and was Certified Fresh. When I saw the all the positive feedback it was getting, I got a little interested. Up until then, I didn't know what this film was about. I admit it, when Pitch Perfect was first announced at RT with a trailer, I thought it was all about a heist of some kind. But only because I remember thinking the thumbnail for Pitch Perfect's trailer on the main page had Anna Kendrick wearing a black ski cap and black clothing. That's what I remember thinking, but I don't think that's what was actually on the thumbnail. Also, the caption on the thumbnail (the one typed with small, yellow letters) only had "Pitch" on it, so I also thought the name of the film was only "Pitch". But later on, I found out it was Pitch Perfect and that can't be a heist name. Then I saw Pitch Perfect on the news as part of the opening films that week and they showed like 4-5 seconds of the film. That's when I figured out what the plot was. Just a bunch of college kids singing together in a group against a bunch of other people singing together in a group. That's when I lost my interest. Okay, now I'm getting a bit negative here since that synopsis is probably the worst way to present it. But no matter how amazing a summary of this film can be, I still wouldn't really be that interested in it. But I never suspected it to be bad, whether it wasn't interesting or otherwise. So back to guy from school. By then, I've already had the tendency to hate things that are overhyped by people. I would think that a person, whenever he hears a good song or sees a good movie, he would like it. But when that song/movie gets really overhyped, he gets annoyed a bit by the hype, but he would still like that song/movie. But unfortunately, I'm not like that. Once something gets overhyped, I'm done with it. I automatically don't like it, even if I started out liking it. Like Gangnam Style. Anyway, isn't one person at this one school talking about this one movie not exactly considered as "overhyping"? That question was strictly rhetorical. One guy talking about a movie isn't overhyping at all. But as it turns out, Pitch Perfect became one of the most talked-about films in my school for the next 3 months. So, as I said before, I started hating it really badly. Every day, first thing I hear at school are the tapping of plastic cups on tables and really bad singing. I've seen a thread in the Pitch Perfect RT page saying that Pitch Perfect was awful. I haven't watched the film yet, so I had no say in the matter. So despite I cursed Ms. Kendrick and the director of this film with my everlasting breath for the spell it cast onto the people I see everyday, I still went on and watched it just so I can talk all sorts of trash about it. But that's not what I'm gonna do.
There was some toe-tapping, sing-along fun to be found in this movie. There was some, but it wasn't really worth to sit through the whole movie just to see some of that. Like the auditions for the cappella groups. Or when Becca watched The Breakfast Club. Parts of those scenes were pretty funny in their own way. It was funny at what it was supposed to be: a clever college-themed musical film. Lots of laughs, bit of drama, scenes upon scenes of popular modern songs being sung on the silver screen. For the rest of the movie, I got what they were going for, but for me they didn't actually succeed. There was another moment I liked in the film. That one moment, I forgot when it was, but it was when a song was played. It wasn't a covered song, but it was a song in the background and it was played during a sequence of some sort. It was "Starships" by Nicki Minaj. I'm not really a big fan of Nicki Minaj or her music, but it's not a song that I hate. I mean, if I was listening to the radio and Starships just played on, I wouldn't throw the radio out the window or try to rip off my ears. But when I heard it in Pitch Perfect, it was when I actually enjoyed hearing a song on screen. The reason for that comes later on. But the thing I liked the most about Pitch Perfect was the quirky, fun mood of it all. I like most of my films serious and dark because I guess I grew up liking movies that way. Memento, Taxi Driver, Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight Rises. They were all amazing, mostly because my taste unfortunately sides with that kind of film. But there is a reason why I liked The Dark Knight and The Big Lebowski from most of those. They had their own balanced moments of humor. The Joker brings this gleeful feel to mix with the gritty and brooding masterpiece that was The Dark Knight, and The Big Lebowski, of course, is the funniest film I've ever seen. I didn't like it as much as The Dark Knight because it lacks at least a single scene that contains a serious or suspenseful tone that The Dark Knight had in almost every scene. Other films that I completely loved just because of the energetic and/or comedic mood were Boogie Nights (the opening sequence at the nightclub was mesmerizing), Django Unchained ("Goodbye, Ms. Lara") Pulp Fiction ("I shot Marvin in the face."), Snatch (this film is probably the epitome of sarcastic comedy) and most animated films. Even Seven Psychopaths and Shaun of the Dead had their own brutally and darkly comedic moments. Even for animated films. Even if they have humor intended for children, adults can also find something in those films because they're clever. I haven't watched Hairspray, but for the short bits of the film I see, I feel that Toy Story and Monsters Incorporated-esque clever and humorous mood that is intended for children. So I also thought Pitch Perfect's mood and the actual film itself would be humorous and clever in a way Monsters Inc and Hairspray was, albeit with curses and more adult humor trying to target older audiences. The film did have curses and adult humor that I didn't really like, but it has that cleverly humorous and quirky mood. The mood of the film made and still makes me want to like that film because the mood was supposed to remind of the similar yet milder mood of the animated films I loved to pieces. It made me want to like the film, so I'll give it that.
First of all, this movie had some good jokes. Jokes I would normally laugh at. There were performances that would usually consider really good and really fun, but by that point, I was too tired of watching this film to care. Also, I didn't really like how they presented Rebel Wilson's character in the film. Yeah sure, her performance was like Eddie Murphy's in Tower Heist or Jack Nicholson's in Batman (1989). A performance that stands out and overshadows all the others. But her character was, in my opinion, one of the weakest parts of this film. In any film, and I'm not just talking about some college-themed musical dramedy, there almost always has to be a comedian or the lunatic. The wisecracker or the psychopath. Someone who has to be the person the audience most certainly pays attention to. Someone who stands out whenever they are on the screen. Someone who's not necessarily the main character, but whose face is on every production image and poster for the film. I don't normally like those characters because the studios shove them down our throats hoping for those kinds of characters will make will make us laugh and make us care about them. But they just end up being loud and obnoxious. I like characters like that if they are subtly presented like John McClane or Christopher Walken's character Hans in Seven Psychopaths. John McClane was first presented as an average cop with the distant wife and he cares about his kids and all that. I didn't suspect him to be anyone out of the ordinary, mostly because for me, the people around him were more obvious and stranger than him (Argyle, Hans Gruber). But when he was faced with all the danger and stuff, he didn't see any reason not to show that he really was a tough and enduring man who will talk trash about his enemies to his final breath. For Hans in Seven Psychopaths, sure, he seemed a little odd with his timid manner and weird clothing, but he was still an old man. But later on, he show the audience the strange, deadpan psychopath that lived underneath his peaceful self. In Pitch Perfect, Rebel Wilson, once I saw her on screen, with the British accent and the large build, the director might as well have put a giant red sign that says, "I'm this film's comic relief!" written in frilly white letters on her. Also, I like those characters that aren't overly comedic. Like Sam Rockwell's character Billy in Seven Psychopaths, Christoph Waltz's character Dr. Schultz in Django Unchained, or Brendan Gleeson's character Sergeant Boyle in The Guard. They were all already presented as the comic relief the second they were on screen, so they weren't exactly subtle. But what still made them really good characters was that they weren't telling jokes and wisecracks during every scene because that just gets annoying. No, they all had their dramatic and dark moments and also had different personas. Billy was not only an unpredictable psychopath, but also a caring friend to Marty and Hans. Dr. Schultz was a cunning bounty hunter, and also ended up caring about Django and Broomhilda. Sergeant Boyle only had his wisecracking persona, but he also had a soft side for his friends and especially his family. Now I might be a little unfair to Wilson's character since a dramatic character isn't really what a college-themed musical film needs. We have Ms. Kendrick's character for that. But like I said, the film should've had Rebel Wilson doing something else besides the jokes and wisecracks in every scene she's in because it gets irritating. Also Kendrick's character kinda annoyed me. I'm not trying misogynistic here, but she was a little too strong-minded. She didn't want anyone to help her and she wanted to be on her own and stuff even if she did need help. I felt really sorry for Skylar Astin's character who just wanted to help her. Finally, I'll explain the reason why hearing Starships as a background song was a positive thing. It's because the song wasn't sung by any of the cast members. It was sung by the original singer. Let's take a song from the film. Any song. Let's say, "Party in the U.S.A" by Miley Cyrus, which Becca and the whole group sang on their road trip. That was a song that I didn't consider good because, well, Miley Cyrus. I didn't like the original, and someone else singing it or a group of people singing it won't make it better. But if I had to choose which is better to listen to, I would pick hearing the original song sung by the original singer instead of a person or a bunch of people singing it the same way. I know the film is supposed to be covering different modern songs and should let us, the audience, hear those songs in the voices of the film's main stars. But it's just another reason I don't like this film. I just don't like its style of taking songs from pop culture and just making the stars sing what I've heard countless times before. Wayne's World did that, but they didn't overdo it. Acceptable substitutes of films that take songs from the modern world and making the main stars sing it in the actual film are movies like The Big Lebowski or movies like Les Miserables. The Big Lebowski, Pulp Fiction, Magnolia, Jackie Brown, Reservoir Dogs, Goodfellas. What do they all have in common? They all have songs taken from the modern world of its time and put it eclectically into the films. But the songs are played in the soundtrack in its original version and sung by the original singer. That's good. Now how about Les Miserables and Sweeney Todd? What do they have in common? They're both musicals. They both have songs that are sung by the people starring in it. But most importantly, the songs the cast members sing are original. Sweeney Todd and Les Miserables were based on stuff that were created long ago when the people who plays didn't have a Bieber-esque public musical figure to get their songs from. So when they created Sweeney Todd, they created songs just for the occasion. And these songs were catchy and most of them had the dark and brooding mood so they could be fit perfectly into the play. Creating a catchy song is better, in my opinion, than just lazily taking a song from modern pop culture. So when that one moment when the original version of a song was played, even if it was a Nicki Minaj song, all I thought was, "Finally, I'm enjoying myself." But it lasted all too briefly. And also, like I said in my initial review, Pitch Perfect was actually a decent-ish film. But this film being decent-ish only made me hate it even more because it got so much hype and praise even if it was just decent.
I myself feel I'm a little too unfair. If I liked this film, and this was someone else's negative review, I would think, "The guy writing is a complete idiot. It doesn't matter if he liked The Dark Knight, Taxi Driver, Ed Wood, Memento, In Bruges, or any other film I also liked. Saying Seven Psychopaths was better than Pitch Perfect is like saying Django Unchained was better Reservoir Dogs." That was I would say because Pitch Perfect had the potential to be really, really good. If I actually enjoyed it, if it was actually a good movie overall for me, I feel as if I'd like it so much I'd like it better than Seven Psychopaths like how most people liked Reservoir Dogs than Django Unchained. But like I said, I'm being too unfair because I was influenced to give Pitch Perfect a negative review. All the hype it got was ruining the way things worked around my life and the impression the movie gave me of itself became lower and lower everyday. But I guess that's just how it goes down. The impression this movie gave was bad, and therefore I hated it. I can't change anything about it. Also, the movie toned down the good impression I originally had for The Breakfast Club. It toned it down real good. I'm not really looking forward to seeing it anymore. Okay, maybe I feel that because it was used in Pitch Perfect. You see what this movie is doing? My hatred for this movie is bringing out a feeling that I didn't know I had before. Thank God they didn't feature Jaws or Rocky or else I might've found out that I'm not really into predator movies or that I don't really like sports films. I feel a need to put a disclaimer, so here you go: This review in any way isn't meant to offend or degrade fans of this film. I would say to myself, "Why am I apologizing? Pitch Perfect wasn't some Oscar-worthy film that would be considered one of the best films of the 2010's and/or of all time. Who cares if 1 or 2 or 25 people hate this review? You do not apologize for your opinion. You're not hating on The Godfather. You're hating on a movie that is a complete and total waste of time." But as I said, if I put myself in a Pitch Perfect fan's shoes and see a good movie getting trashed, I'd be mad. So I'm not gonna say that anyone who liked this film was a 13-17 year old screaming, annoying One Directioner who has posters of Big Time Rush and the Jonas Brothers on their bedroom walls. I'm gonna say anyone who liked this film is a normal person who just happens to like these kinds of movies. And I'm okay with that. Everyone has their tastes. If I were to pick a movie I loved so much that I would loathe anyone who hates it, it would obviously be The Dark Knight. If someone gives The Dark Knight 70% or below, that guy is dead to me. I'm sure lots of people have movies like that. If anyone hates on it, all respect for that guy is automatically gone. I'm sure some people even have lists of movies like that. If Pitch Perfect is one of those movies, I'm sorry. If you loved this movie and hated this review even after I apologized, that's probably the time when I don't care if you hated it. But if it makes you feel any better, I'm not even gonna say that Pitch Perfect was a complete waste of money and time or a movie for epileptics or anything like that. What I'm gonna say is that overall, in my opinion, Pitch Perfect was a formulaic yet flashy and entertaining movie. With that remark, I'm not sure what it wants to be. Does it wanna be a formulaic, saccharine, melodramatic, sentimental, obnoxious, shamelessly offensive, overly (albeit unfunnily) comedic movie that unabashedly disgraces cinema with undeserved hype and tired themes? Or does it want to be a toe-tapping, energetic, unique, spectacular, moving, uproariously funny, over-the-top, perfectly made film that proves to be a milestone and at the same time a revival to the school-themed genre? When I watch this film, I see those two sides fighting each other so much that I start not caring and I get up and walk away. Eventually, the two sides rip this film in half. Everything I considered good became bad, and everything I considered bad became worse. The two sides upset the established order until everything became mediocrity. This film is an agent of mediocrity.