Hello, my name is Evan and I'm an aca-holic. It's been 6 days since my last arrangement.
I was really scared to see “Pitch Perfect” because I wasn't sure it could live up to what I wanted it to be. It did.
Here is a list of ten things about the movie that surprised and/or delighted me.
10. All the familiar faces and voices. I’ll leave it at that; no spoilers here!
9. They tried to make "fetch" happen. Aca-wha?
There is certainly a jargon in our ever-growing aca-verse but sometimes the aca-verbs are used too aca-often.
8. The characters and the actors who play them.
From "Dodgeball"-esque announcers who simultaneously lighten and intensify the competitions with a snark that would offend The Muppets' Statler and Waldorf to Fat Amy and Tommy, the character writing and acting is above outstanding.
Side note from PopCultureBrain blogger Alex Rabinowitz: "If you pay close attention to movies and comedy you might already know Rebel Wilson. If you don't, prepare to know her. The Australian actress steals the movie as 'Fat Amy,' escalating every single scene she's in. And she can sing. If she wasn't a household name before, after her turn in 'Pitch Perfect' she will be. The only person who gave her a run for her money is Adam Devine ('Workaholics'), who too brings a lot of the funny."
7. Pitch Perfect is NOT "Glee: The College Years".
It certainly succeeds where "Glee" fails. “Pitch Perfect” has a kind self-awareness that is both accurate and funny. Everyone in this movie knows their role within the world; they are huge and bombastic and acknowledge how ridiculous they can seem. Plus, they don't say "regionals" very often.
6. How this movie really makes you miss/want to relive the undergrad glory days.
While this movie works for the college-bound and alumni alike, I think that it accurately represents what we remember instead of what actually happened. The past-their-prime group who sings in the lobby (you'll know what I mean) hit a little too close to home though.
5. Any and all scenes where people sing.
The auditions, rehearsals, performances, and especially the riff-off scene delivers the awesomeness of a cappella that we all know, love, and need to spread.
I’m so glad the riff-off was included since it’s the epitome of every aca-gathering.
4. It’s a “journey” movie, too!
This movie has all the elements of a great cult classic except that it might be too good. There’s the music, the hilarity, and sheer aca-mazing montages that all good “journey” movies need. The characters do grow but is justice served?
3. They got a lot right.
Rabinowitz of Popculturebrain.com remarked, “No there aren't any announcers at an ICCA show and it's almost impossible for one school to send two groups to the finals, but the camaraderie and the feeling of being in a college group is precisely rendered on screen. From the effort of rehearsals, to the down time and socializing, to the tense, nervous, and exhilarating feeling you get before, during, and after performances -- it's all there. I was expecting an over the top, extreme stylization of the world of a cappella but having gone through it all, I was taken aback how true to my experiences the film felt.
2. The heart
Alex Rabinowitz wraps it up nicely: “So it's funny, and the music is excellent, and the acting is great, but by the end of the film you also may find yourself unabashedly rooting for the characters. Not only does it bring to light the struggle and persistence of all-female a cappella, but it manages to tell a human story of growth, finding where you belong, and finding the people who will help you through it. Even the love story, though not the central part of the story, is solid and touching.”
1. This movie was funny. Like really funny.
I expected ”Pitch Perfect” to have great arrangements (which it totally does), for the mixes to thump throughout the theater (another tip of the hat), and I even expected the bittersweet nostalgic excitement it evoked. But I found myself genuinely laughing out loud for more than half of this move.
On a final note:
I bet that a large percent of moviegoers have not been in an a cappella group but a lot of "Pitch Perfect"’s audience very well may have. This movie understands that perfectly and runs with it. I brought a non-aca friend to the screening just to get a different read and he might have liked it more than I did. Probably not.
["Pitch Perfect" opens nationwide on October 5]
NOTE: CASA's founder, Deke Sharon, was an arranger/music director on the film.
About the writer:
Evan Feist has been composing, arranging, writing, teaching, managing, and singing a cappella music and vocal percussion for over 10 years. He has his Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Composition and Arts Management from the SUNY Purchase's Conservatory of Music and is currently finishing his 2nd Master' Degree in Music Education at Columbia University, Teachers College. He has created and managed many successful groups, such as the A Cappella Innovations’ honored Choral Pleasure, SUNY Purchase Soul Voices, and the Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK Honors Choir and has performed with these groups in venues such as Lincoln Centre, The Bitter End, and Carnegie Hall. Evan is the founder and president of Oven Feast Productions, and the general manager of Stacks of Wax Records, currently based in NYC, Woodstock, and Westchester, NY. During business hours, when not producing and composing, he teaches voice, piano, vocal percussion, music production & business. Evan is currently available for workshops and clinics specializing in writing/arranging for a cappella groups, vocal percussion, group and solo improvisation as well as managing a sustainable group. Please feel free to contact him for help and guidance for all your musical endeavors. bit.ly/evanfeist_acarrangments bit.ly/evanfeist_dropbox