Pitch Perfect: A Tribute to an Infinitely Rewatchable, New Classic Not-a-Sport Sports Movie

Stephen Douglas

Pitch Perfect ended its first run on HBO Friday night. If you have not seen it yet, find a way to watch it. Buy it. Rent it. Do something.* I’m not sure what will become of Pitch Perfect next, but wherever it lands, I will watch. And so will a lot of other people.

In the tiny corner of the sports blogosphere that I inhabit, I have happily watched Pitch Perfect go from a secret guilty pleasure to a legit favorite sports movie since the movie premiered on HBO two months ago. As people saw Pitch Perfect (over and over again) they slowly and quietly realized they weren’t alone. Pitch Perfect is a cinematic earworm that sneaks up on sports fans before they know what happened. It follows a familiar sports story structure with a lot of humor and even nails some realistic college kid situations… You know, if everyone you knew in college could sing and dance professionally.

It starts quietly when you catch it on HBO when nothing else was on television. You assume you’ll change the channel, but you recognize Adam DeVine from Workaholics and see no reason to turn away from Anna Camp and Brittany Snow. And early scenes do kind of remind you of the time you moved into the dorms as a freshman.

You don’t hate the first viewing. In fact, you kind of liked it, but you don’t want to say anything because its a movie about singing. It had some laughs, but you don’t want people to think you like Glee, right? Then you’re flipping through the HBOs a few days later and you catch a couple random minutes in the middle. It starts to grow on you. Before long, you’re saying things like, “I’ll just watch to the Riff Off.”

Next thing you know you’re live-tweeting the movie on HBO Family at midnight on a Wednesday. It has happened to the best of us.  #top100underratedpitchperfectline

Accidental Athlete, Big Game, The Big Race, Career Ending Injury, David Versus Goliath, Down To The Last Play, Game Breaking Injury, Huddle Power, Opposing Sports Team, Picked Last, Put Me In, Coach, Redemption Quest, Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, Second Place Is For Losers, Slow Clap, Super Ringer, Super Coach, Team Spirit and Training Montage. There’s even an unlisted sports movie trope – the announcers.

(Aside: I hated John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks’ characters at first. And second and every subsequent viewing, but around the 40th time I saw the movie Stockholm Syndrome has started to set in. They’re still the worst part of the movie, but I’ve learned to live with them. A necessary evil that comes with sports movies. Why does Eden Hall have a kid play-by-play announcer for the Freshman-Varsity game in D3? I like to think Higgins and Banks are like the kid in Wet Hot American Summer talking into a microphone that isn’t plugged into anything.)

A quick look at IMDB and you’ll see all the wonderful women involved in Pitch Perfect. Most notably, Anna Kendrick. Oh, Anna Kendrick…  Kendrick is the main character in this great ensemble cast and she effortlessly plays the girl with the glasses and amazingly scary ear spike who was beautiful the whole time. She’s the romantic and comedic lead and the star athlete. Anna Kendrick became the best so slowly that I don’t think anyone noticed until she showed up in GQ last week. Whatever your feelings about the Twilight movies (I haven’t seen them), her IMDB is basically flawless. Kendrick was great in Up In The Air, 50/50, End of Watch and (momentarily) in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Another great new non-really-a-sports-movie sports movie.).

Pitch Perfect is a celebration of Kendrick, her ability to hit cups and great comedic timing. And Kendrick isn’t the only female to excel in Pitch Perfect. This movie destroys the Bechdel Test. It also proves that it is impossible not to sing Party in the U.S.A. (Miley Cyrus is more than twerking.)

The rest of the cast is equally wonderful.  There are too many great characters and lines to try and name them all. The rival team, the Treblemakers, are great foils. They at once are the “bad boys of a capella” and completely self-aware that they are singing nerds. (It is OK to root for the bad guys in this movie. Even if one of them is a love interest for Anna Kendrick who reminds you of Dane Cook. There are a lot of things to deal with.)

Aca-scuse me while I gush. Pitch Perfect is one of those infinitely rewatchable movies and unlike many of our favorite movies, it’s good-good. Not bad-good. Good, enjoyable, well-acted GOOD. Watch it. Love it. Own it. Unlike the movie, I don’t have a great ending so I’ll just leave you with this…

*This post originally ran on Friday before HBO’s final airing of Pitch Perfect. I edited the first paragraph to the post remains as timeless as the movie.