Thursday, October 18, 2012

"Pitch Perfect"

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This weekend, I rounded up 10 of my closest sorority sisters to see Pitch Perfect. I knew from seeing the trailers that this could go either way: a couple of hours of mindless fun or of me constantly checking my watch to see if it was almost over.

The plot is paper-thin, but I'll explain it anyway. Punk girl Beca is starting her freshman year at Barden University, but what she really wants to do is move to Los Angeles to become a music producer. Her father, who teaches comparative literature at Barden, has secured a scholarship for Beca and says she can drop out if she sticks out the year but finds college isn't for her. Part of the bargain is that Beca has to get involved in at least one club on campus.

Beca goes to the student activities fair and is recruited to join the Barden University Bellas, an all-female a capella troupe that hasn't updated their set list since the '80s. Barden, it turns out, is home to 3 other a capella groups: the coed High Notes (stoners), the all-male Treblemakers, and the coed Bu Harmonics. Beca thinks the Bellas need to shake up their routine a bit if they want to have a prayer of landing in the national finals. She also breaks one of the Bellas' cardinal rules when she falls for Jesse, a member of the Treblemakers.

It definitely succeeds as a comedy; my sisters and I could barely stop laughing. Fat Amy and the quiet Asian girl absolutely stole the show. Not to mention the Treblemakers deluding themselves into thinking they were genuinely cooler than the fraternities and athletes. That isn't to say I'd turn down a date with one of the a capella boys from my school.

As a former high school choir nerd, I found an element of Pitch Perfect that related closely to my own experiences. Sopranos at my school, like the ones in the Bellas, tended to be VERY snobby and rude to anyone not in their section. Beca is singled out by the lead soprano, Chloe, for bullying just because Beca is an alto. I could commiserate with that. I was listed in all our concert programs as an alto, but I was also a "utility voice." When we only had 4 boys in choir for our Christmas concert, I sang tenor on a few songs; if we were short on mezzos (soprano IIs), I was drafted by my teacher to fill in.

I was inwardly cheering that altos were featured so prominently in the movie. When I was in choir, we tended to be ignored. For the most part, we were stuck singing the same 4 notes while everyone else's parts were a little more challenging.

If you enjoy musicals in general, you can't go wrong with Pitch Perfect. The cast is very talented. Expect a lot of modern pop and rap. There's spectacular versions "No Diggity" and "I'll Make Love to You" during an a capella "riff-off."

FUN FACT: My college actually does have an a capella troupe called The Treblemakers, only ours is all-female.

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