Pitch Perfect 2

Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) by Elizabeth Banks

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Waiting for this movie has been torture. Watching trailers and clips has been torture. Two and a half years of torture. And then it came out and I’m not in Berlin anymore and can’t get my hands on an original copy and have to watch it in German – worst TORTURE!

pitchperfect2.5I’m over this now. So let’s look at what it’s about:

The Barden Bellas (among them Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Ester Dean and Alexis Knapp are banned from competing on a collegiate level because of a mishap involving the president of the U.S. and Fat Amy’s (Rebel Wilson) vagina. But since they’re reigning national champions (for the third time in a row), they are invited to the World Championship. If they win it, future generations of Bellas can compete again. But the competition is great and the reigning World Champions, an intimidating German team, are not going to give up their title without a fight. Gay things happen and the Bellas win.

Sorry for the spoiler, but you didn’t actually think they wouldn’t, right?

Is this movie as good as the first one? No. Is it bad? No, far from it, actually. It’s a lot of fun; it is pitchperfect2.7 pitchperfect2.4entertaining and well-timed. Love the music. But there are a couple of things that are off. Namely, why are the Trebles still in the big picture? Why is Beca still with Jesse (well, I think they’re together despite the fact that their relationship feels like an awkward brother and sister-thing)? Why did they have to make every other Bella a one-line joke (honestly, most fanfictions have better character development)? And why does Chloe behave like Aubrey at times (minus the throw-up)?

I’ll be writing about these things on my other blog. I’ll probably write about PP quite a bit again. But here and now, let me tell you: just seeing the Bellas together again, is heart-warming. I missed these girls; most of all Beca Mitchell who is still a lovely, sometimes awkward character who can be a dick sometimes. The music numbers are great, even those who are over the top. You can see that the actresses worked their butts off and it still looks effortlessly in the end. The chemistry is still there. Not just between Beca and Chloe – which is, of course, the heart piece of the Bellas as a group – but between Amy and Aubrey, between Stacie and Cynthia Rose and Jessica and Ashley. They brought most beloved characters back for the sequel, and I honestly only missed Donald, because the Trebles lost all their cool without him.

So, yeah, I enjoyed Pitch Perfect 2 – not so much the German version, and let me also add how pitchperfect2.2embarrassing it is for every German to have a group called DAS Sound Machine, when it is grammatically incorrect and you could hear it repeated and whispered throughout the theater whenever someone says it on screen. It could have been better, yes, but, oh boy, it could have been so much worse!

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Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect (2012) by Jason Moore

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(Okay, I decided to do this new thing – snapping pics of my tix and posting them with the review [these are only this year’s Pitch Perfect-tickets; I have another one from last year]; just for fun, y’know. And yeah, I’m aware that’s an ugly background, it’s my carpet; I will try to find a new one.)

As you can see, I haven’t been to the movies lately – money is hard to come by these days. But I didn’t want the world to end without having watched Pitch Perfect, so, this was the first movie since July I indulged in (I’m not especially sad to have missed most of summer’s blockbusters). As so many others I watched the trailer and just knew it was good – and for once, I am able to say that I was not disappointed by the product that was put out.

Is the story innovative – hell no! But who cares:

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Beca (Anna Kendrick) is pressured by her father (John Benjamin Hickey) to attend college although she would much rather move to L.A. to become a DJ. Her roommate Kimmy Jin (Jinhee Joung) hates her, and the only person paying any attention to her is this guy Jesse (Skylar Astin) who obviously just wants to get into her pants. Campus has four a cappella groups, among them the all-boys Treblemakers and the all-girls Barden Bellas. They are declared enemies but as life – or Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet much?) – has it, Beca ends up with the Bellas, while Jesse joins the Treblemakers. Hilarious ensues, the girls get their shit together and finally win the nationals, everybody wins – and Jesse gets into Beca’s pants (it is indicated, fortunately, we only see them kiss).

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As I said, the story isn’t really innovative, the love story’s kinda boring but it’s not the center of attention which is good. The main attraction is young people singing a capella and trying to be cool doing it. Yes, it leans heavily on Glee but it also makes fun of the show (the shower scene with Beca and Chloe wasn’t only hilarious, it was professedly gay – and a female rip-off of all the times the gleeks sang in the shower).

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Anna Kendrick is a wonderful lead, she is talented, she is captivating, she rocks this movie – and so does her cleavage (and if you tell me you weren’t as distracted by it as I was you’re lying). And then there’s Rebel Wilson playing Fat Amy. How do I explain Rebel Wilson – she is flawless… if you haven’t seen her in anything yet make sure you watch her in Pitch Perfect – she rules this movie, she is badass, and I am saying this with the utmost respect for her and all her abilities. She’s funny.

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With so many women packed into one group, gay ensues. I wasn’t entirely happy with the obviously gay character Cynthia Rose (Ester Dean) (and it wasn’t a surprise that with all the white girls in the Bellas, she was one of the few women of color) but then there was the chemistry between Anna Kendrick and Brittany Snow. And it’s not just about the shower scene, the first time these two meet, Snow is eye-sexing Kendrick so obviously that even I saw it. And it wasn’t the only time either. With all the things being said between these two during the movie, I actually scratched my head at the end of it when Beca kissed Jesse – I had quite comfortably leaned back into my head-canon and assumed that the two girls would end up together. Well, Hollywood says no and all the fans start writing BeChloe fanfiction.

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Update: I have now watched it four times and that’s only at the movies – and it still rocks. I’m actually rather obsessed with it and count myself as one of those fans who write BeChloe fanfic… what can I say: I love those awesome nerds.

It’s called a genre, dude: Musicals

The draft for this is almost one year old now but I always wanted to do it because, genres are a good way to categorize one’s likes and dislikes (there should, of course, always be exceptions to any rule), and also because I LOVE MUSICALS!

I am not even sure when it started. I have a feeling that Barbra Streisand had something to do with it, then again I loved Judy Garland before I even knew there was Barbra Streisand (and yes, my cd-collection looks very gay).

There always seems to have been musicals around. I remember watching “Grease” with the whole family on a Sunday afternoon. I remember getting up in the middle of the night because some channel or other showed a classic musical at 1 a.m. (and by classic, I mean a Warner Bros. from the 30s or an MGM from the 40s). I bought The Wizard of Oz on video after seeing it once on tv – it was one of my first videos ever (I still haven’t got it on DVD, though, shame on me).

What I like most about the genre is the inhibition with which the actors (singers, dancers) erupt into song and dance. By the way it is almost always taken for granted by everybody around that people should sing and dance on the street. I love musical numbers because they tell a story, they tell us how a person feels, they have an artificiality about them that is almost always sappy but heartfelt. And what great songs have been written by people like Rogers & Hammerstein, Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, and, of course, Cole Porter. Don’t think, I don’t know more but these for me are the best (I hate men from Kiss Me Kate comes straight from the heart…).

(I just read that Kathryn Grayson died about a year ago. I bow to her talent, she made musicals colorful. I really loved her Katherine Minola.)

Strangely enough, I have only four musicals on dvd that I constantly watch and rewatch and they are not the classics one might suspect. I don’t know why these in particular, they are neither the best musicals ever nor are they very similar to each other. I enjoy them because they are fun, and trashy, and have great actors in them (some of them are not even good singers). They are not my favorites, they are just the ones I have around and cannot get around:

The music is good, the actors are good, the film is fun… and I love the message, especially in a world that sometimes denies that racism still exists or where it is just glossied over, this is important. But the main attractions of it are:

Exhibit A.

And exhibit B.

And then there’s:

And there is, of course, no question why I love this so much. It’s queer. It’s so 80s. It’s about AIDS (or HIV) and yes, I still think that’s an important topic and another one we should not be silent about. And it’s got lesbians in it (and it’s a bonus that they are played by Idina Menzel and Tracie Thoms.

And:

Oh, the music! It’s brilliant, though not conventional. And Johnny Depp has not the worst voice ever, and Helena Bonham Carter… well, she is one of my all-time favorite actresses, she’s simply devine in everything she does. I am fan.

And here’s a woman who can really wear those sun-glasses… the movie also has some other Potter-Alumni: Rickman and Timothy Spall. And it has in an absolutely insignificant role: Anthony Head (that’s Sir Giles to you!).

And last and probably least:

Yes, I am the one person you know that is over 17 and admits to having High School Musical on DVD (only the first on, mind you, the second was bullocks, though I will probably own the third one at some point).

It’s not really anyone in particular but I really like Sharpay (that girl’s got sass) and Taylor (she’s got all the brains of the group, how could I not love like her). Also, I like that the girls have already been together in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody (and no, there is absolutely nothing I feel embarrassed about having watched andam  sometimes still watching).

Musicals make people feel good. And, what is more important, it makes me feel good. Sometimes I pretend I live in a musical and sing along with my MP3-player but people tend to look at you somehow irritated when you do that… not that it stops me but… hey, it’s just music. I know, I am no Barbra Streisand but hell, Yentl is one of my favorites.

So, this is musicals (which has little to do with Bollywood and/or Andrew Lloyd Webber!). Sing and dance on!

Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire

Eleanor Powell (we share a birthday)

Judy Garland & Gene Kelly

Bill Bojangles Robinson.

For me the best dancers Hollywood ever had…