Thursday, February 05, 2015

My personal cinematic history: Pitch Perfect.

First of all, stop judging me.

Second, I am personally a sucker for movie in which there is (a) singing [viz: The Sound of Music], especially (b) ensemble singing [viz: "So Long, Farewell" from The Sound of Music], and (c) plucky heroines, especially if they sing [viz: Mary Poppins].

I saw Pitch Perfect after it had come to the dollar theater. That's because I was a little Oh, I don't know about the movie when it hit the more-than-a-dollar theaters, because the reviews were meh and maybe no one in this house was too fired up to see it [viz: the historian]. I figured I'd catch it one way or another, probably later on television. But my daughter was in town, on break from LSU, where they actually filmed a great chunk of the movie. Honestly, I can't quite remember how the decision got made. But my daughter, my son, my friend, and her daughter ended up in the dark with popcorn--I'm sure there was popcorn--and we watched it with great pleasure, so much pleasure.

Later that night, over enchiladas, the historian and I were talking over our movie options and somehow, we ended up seeing the plucky singing girls competing to win it all! at Nationals! again. Again, on the very same day. I love movies--I'm saying l o v e--and there aren't very many movies that I've seen twice in the same day (viz: The Last Waltz, Cabaret, The Way We Were). I also will not fully confess how many times since that I've re-viewed Pitch Perfect, except to say...quite a few.

Why does this movie so do it for me? There are many passages that are really only passable, if that. I don't know if you can even quite call this movie-making, even, except that someone thought of it and scripted it, and out of a pastiche of charm and some excellent character acting--well, pretty good character acting--and wonderful if only that were a real thing singing and dancing, and one of the most successful impressions of improvisation of all time--out of all that came a movie that is as consumable and, to me, addictive as a delicious snack. Viz: popcorn.

I said to my musician son, I wish the riff-off could be real.

He said, I know. That's how it is in movies: they make something that would only be possible with wizardry and a ton of practice seem effortless, improvised, and in the moment. Like this:

Pitch Perfect - Riff Off by class_freak

One might say the pleasure of watching this film was in excess of its merits, except why? Why say it? Who can count the merits of this:

(oh, how adorable are they? Skylar Astin with his jacket quite literally kills me, every time.)  Or this, which I have not reached the end of enjoying myself with:


I was talking with my friend Ron the other day about the movies you can't really defend that you will nonetheless watch again and again. I've written about this before, the great pleasure of the re-view. There are some movies that have become ingrained in my family's history, so much so that they are almost as much our story as things that actually happened to us. This movie I shared with others, but I will watch it happily alone while I'm doing other things, pausing to give it my full attention at pretty much every musical piece. It still lifts my spirits, it still makes me smile. Tonight, when I was doing leg presses at the gym, the Barden Bellas' final medley came on my shuffle. I listened to it twice.

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