Pitch Perfect – Fuck This Movie

Hello everyone!

Due to a massive amount of sickness I got hit with this month that smashed apart any plans I had, there won’t be a new episode of Brain Food or Voices of Dissent this month. It’s just the way things go, sometimes.

However, before we left this month off, I did want to do a short review on a musical comedy released last year that completely flew over my head (a side effect of living so damned far up North despite Internet access) and that’s Pitch Perfect. Now, from the header you can pretty much gather that I was not a fan of this movie, and here are the reasons why.

1. White People Singing And Dancing

The plot revolves around the Bellas, an all-womens group of singers in a form of music I’ve never heard before called Acopoco. It’s where you all sing and add in the backbeats and tone and rhythm without any instruments. This type of movie also belongs to a genre of entertainment that RVCbard, in a conversation with me regarding this movie, called “White People Can Sing & Dance Too.”

And my answer, after seeing the movie, is that no, they can’t. WE can’t! I literally sat with my face in my hands during ANY of the singing segments because it was so damned embarrassing. I was playing Kingdom Rush on my iPod while watching this movie, just trying to get through it!

Watching those segments of the movie was like watching people fail in their auditioning for Canadian/American Idol, it was gut-wrenchingly bad. It’s like they’re trying to prove they’ve got rhythm SO BAD…

2. Diversity

Lets look at the poster for this, shall we?

So, out of that group of white women, we have one black woman, and one Asian woman… and that’s about it.

The plus-sized white woman is called Fat Amy, played by Rebel Wilson, and it’s a title she gives herself and isn’t ashamed of, and the movie does do good in depicting her as an actual character whose sole interest isn’t food, although there are a fair amount of food jokes in it.

The black woman is Cynthia Rose, played by Ester Dean.

She’s also a lesbian, and one might think “Hey, a woman of colour who is also gay and not the Hollywood Ideal Shape with some awesome hair! Great!”

Well, I did too, and then after her introduction, the rest of the movie happened. See, her being a lesbian is played up as a joke half the time and the behaviour she exhibits is problematic, to say the least. She acts in ways that would be considered lewd and rude from men, but the movie plays it off for laughs. She feels up the straight women, she scopes them out up close, at one point nearly shoving her face into the cleavage of the member of the group who is promiscuous (and which the film labels as a slut and also plays that up for laughs).

There’s also a scene near the end before the final championship match, contest, whatever Acupulcola Sugar Free music singing does, where the Bellas are sharing their darkest secrets, and she admits that she has a gambling problem. Fat Amy makes some stupid snide remarks about her ‘coming out’ and even though Ester Dean plays Cynthia Rose as someone who is confident in their sexuality and without guilt about it, the movie itself is again making fun of her, and the whole thing came off as homophobic and racist.

I should also mention that the leading characters of Chloe, played by Brittany Snow)

And Chloe (played by Anna Kendrick)

Were supposed to be gay and get together, but that was written out.

Oh, and Chloe was a redhead…

Then we have Lily, played by Hana Mae Lee.

Her ENTIRE character is that she’s a Shy Girl who speaks so softly almost no one can hear her… and she’s a pyromaniac, too. This ties in too much with the Shy Asian Girl stereotype, and Lily grows none whatsoever throughout the entire movie. Her character is a one note joke at the start of the movie, and it’s a one note joke at the end of the movie.

3. Nice Guys Always Win.

Once more, the nice guy wins and gets the girl, despite being a creeping, passive-aggressive shithead and despite the two having Negative Chemistry together.

I am talking about Jesse, as played by Skylar Astin.

This guy all but stalks Beca from the start of the film, is generally annoying, has almost no charisma, and wins her over by constantly harassing her at work in the university radio station they both work at, coming over to her room, and by showing her movies and acting shocked and mortified that she hasn’t seen the ending of the  ‘greats’ like The Breakfast Club and other stuff.

This is some nice guy heteronormative bullshit here, and I wanted Beca to slap him, drive him out of her room, and get with Chloe. At least those two had some chemistry together.

And speaking of Beca, we come to my final complaint about this movie:

4. White Middle Class Privilege

Beca is attending a pretty damned good university FOR FREE since her father, a tenured professor there, is paying her way… her entire way.

But she doesn’t want that as she wants to go to Los Angeles and become a DJ and remix music.

Now, I like Beca, I do, but good lord if her whining over having to attend university for free didn’t grate on my nerves! A free ride through university in terms of costs?! Hell, what I wouldn’t give for that now, considering that I myself am going back to school for further job training.

It’s not to say that I didn’t have help from my parents, because I did, and I’m eternally grateful for everything they’ve done for me in terms of the support, be it food or money or lending me a vehicle after mine was smahed in an accident, and love, but Beca acts like a spoiled brat at the beginning. Post-secondary education is expensive up here in Canada and, from what I’ve heard, really expensive down in the US, so I doubt that she came off as sympathetic to those who are struggling to pay the costs of attending university, either currently or afterwards. Hell, I’m still paying off student loans!

The last few years have shown especially the gap between the upper and middle class growing, and even more people becoming lower class and the working poor, as one report called it, and that has always had a huge effect on people of colour, yet Beca is complaining about having this free ride! The movie ends with her staying in university after the first year, but hell, who’s to say she couldn’t pursue her love of music? She’s literally soaking in her white, upper middle class privilege and it really made me shake my head and sigh.

In short, fuck this movie. What little good it has is outweighed by the bad, and you can find better movies elsewhere to watch that have a richer, more diverse cast of characters who are deeper and more developed.

My new shit

I recently completed a draft of my new play, Encanta. I like to describe it as Kirikou and the Sorceress meets Moonstruck on the island from The Tempest.

The story itself is pretty simple. Penzima is a pirate who washed ashore after a storm sank her ship. After making fast friends with best buddies Armando and Carlos, she soon meets Katrina, a powerful sorceress feared and hated by everyone. Sparks fly, and Penzima is immediately smitten with Katrina, who is in turn drawn to the charming, witty Penzima. Penzima vows to show Katrina that she is worthy of her love, but will that be enough?

What really excites me about Encanta is that it’s a play about the magic of love, lust, and romance that focuses on LGBTQ people of color. All the characters are Latin@ or Afro-Latin@.

I don’t want to give away the ending, but aside from being a joy to write, Encanta breaks the mold for “acceptable” narratives for LGBTQ people and people of color. You know the ones: the pain porn, the stereotypical bullshit, the Sassy Gay/Black/Latin@ Friend who has no live of their own. You get the idea.

Encanta is all about people who are being silly and crazy and in love and using magic who just happen to be LGBTQ people of color. Too often, we only get to suffer because it’s “inspiring,” and we only be funny when who we are is the butt of the joke.

Fuck that shit. I want my escapist fantasy too. I want passion and romance too. I want my happily ever after too. And since the powers that be seem more interested in not scaring off straight people and white folks, I made Encanta for myself.

Brain Food – Episode 20

Hello everyone, and weclcome to the 20th episode of Brain Food, wherein I review the comic book La Brujeira!

It feels good to have done as much as I have, and I am happy for those who watch this series. I like to believe that in doing this series, it helps to make me a better person and that I will become a better person still in examining bigotry, racism, and sexism, as well as other woes, in writing and recommending works of writing that go beyond stereotypes and show even a part of the full spectrum that makes up human beings.
Plus, I just love reading!

Brain Food – Episode 15

Well, there’s been much sickness, injury, and ill-health keeping me from my video-making duties, but I’ve finally broken through the other side and in full health, I’ve gotten around to reviewing Issue #16 of Life With Archie, which celebrates the marriage of celebrated war hero Kevin Keller to physical therapist Clay Walker. It was a great little comic to read and I hope that everyone gets behind this series.

For more information on One Million Moms and their idiocy, take a look here.

Brain Food – Episode 11

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first video of the new year! Apologies for this one coming out so late, but I’ve been pretty busy.

Nonetheless, I bring to you the latest episode, wherein I review the graphic novel Birth of a Nation, written by Aaron McGruder and Reginald Hudlin, and drawn by Kyle Baker.

Brain Food – Episode 11

I hope that everyone enjoys it… I even added in a small blooper reel at the end.

Brain Food – Episode 10

Hello everyone, and welcome to the tenth episode of Brain Food, wherein I review Bitter Girl, by former DC editor and full time cartoonist and illustrator, Joan Hilty!

I hope that everyone enjoys it and follows me along as I continue to make these videos. I owe a lot to the people who watched my videos and offered their input as well as books for me to read. So long as I can find and read books, then I am going to make these videos and boost the signal on authours and books that should be read.

Web Media

I’ve come to the belief that web media is the future of entertainment. With each passing day television is getting more and more irrelevant, especially with the continued subpar storytelling and whitewashing which has alienated countless fans. Web media is also more efficient as you can get a full story in an episode or short film which on average runs between 3-10 minutes. That’s ideal if you’re at work and between meetings or waiting to pick up your kids from school.

While I don’t think televisions should be getting thrown out of windows just yet for being obsolete, web media has definitely put the entertainment industry on notice. We’ve witnessed this with many television shows now being shown on the web and more than a few web shows getting network deals.

Web media has also come a long way in such a short amount of time. In addition to Sanctuary and Web Therapy, I’ve also discovered some excellent gems such as Sorority Row, Pink the Series, and It’s A Mall World among others.

We’ve also seen the unprecedented success of shows such as the Guild and Doctor Horrible.

Now while most web shows are far from perfect, one has to give credit at what these storytellers have accomplished with virtually no budgets or resources in comparison to Hollywood media.

When my buddy Ankhesen Mie forwarded me this recent article from Racialicious, I was immensely excited to discover there was quite a number of POC-centric web series out there, many of them sci-fi/fantasy.

For the past few weeks I’ve researched many of these shows and upon doing so I learned about many others. I then learned about some LGBTQ web shows that also caught my attention.

Some of these shows I previously knew about, others I learned through research, others I just happened to hear about in unrelated paths in passing over the last week or so. Of course at this point in my life, I don’t believe in coincidence.

So why did I compile the seemingly never-ending POC/LGBTQ web media post?

  1. It’s fun.
  2. I’m a firm believer in supporting marginalized media.
  3. I want to create a library for others who are also searching for quality marginalized and progressive media as well.

And here we go:

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