Tag Archives: Anna Kendrick

Pitch Perfect 2: A Sociological Perspective?

A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to see Pitch Perfect 2. In fact, it was the first movie I’ve been able to see in the theatre since becoming a parent and I have to say, I’m glad that it was one like this. If you’ve been reading the things I’ve written, you know I like to take a look at things in the grander picture. (In fact, I didn’t realize this until I started writing this post, but I wrote something about Pitch Perfect a couple of years ago.) Anyhow, the grander picture.


I should warn you that I plan on talking about elements of the movie that may spoil it for you, if you haven’t seen it, so either stop reading and go watch Pitch Perfect 2 right now (and then finishing reading when the movie ends) or read on with the knowledge that you may have part of the movie spoiled. If you’re reading on past this point, you’ve been warned…

The portion of the movie I’d like to discuss is right near the end. The Bellas are at the a capella World Championships and their nemesis — Das Sound Machine — has just given a great performance. Halfway through the Bellas performance, I’m thinking to myself, there’s no way the writer(s) could have written something that the Bellas could do to top what Das Sound Machine just did and the first half of this performance is proving that. At this point, it’s looking like the Bellas are ‘toast’ as they’ve begun singing an “original” song (is that a no-no in a capella competitions?). And then all the lights go out on stage and the singing stops momentarily. When the lights return, we see more than just the Bellas on-stage, we see Bellas from previous generations! Women that have long since graduated from Barden University have returned to help the current Bellas in their time of need.

Of course, that was enough to convince me that the performance was worthy of being deemed better than their opponents, but the more important part for me was the symbology of these previous generations of women who had come back to help the current generation of women. Forget for a moment that this is ‘simply’ a singing competition — this competition means a lot to these women. They’ve put their heart and soul into this and they really want to win. Their desire is no different from athletes who really want to win the championship in their sport of choice. So, seeing the previous generation of women come back to help the current generation was a very touching moment.

As a “white male,” I feel like don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to talking about the experiences of any minority (women included), but just the image of these mothers (and grandmothers?) who were doing what they could to help out the young folks was heart-warming. It feels like in today’s society, there’s a greater collective awareness of the plight of women. In fact, the first bill that President Obama signed into law was the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Even with this greater collective awareness feminists alike will tell you that we’ve still got a long way to go before there’s parity between the genders. With that in mind, I enjoyed seeing a movie that starred, was produced and directed by, women.

Disruptive Innovation… in Music?

Pitch PerfectOver the holidays, I had the chance to see a number of movies. Most of them were with the intention of enjoying awards shows, but some were meant to just be, well, fun. I had heard really good things about one movie in particular and I enjoyed one of the actresses (Anna Kendrick) in another movie (Up In The Air), so I thought I’d give it a chance. The movie I’m talking about: Pitch Perfect.

This is a movie about a couple of different things, but I want to focus on two aspects of it. The first, is that Beca (Anna Kendrick) wants to produce music. The second, the a cappella group, the Bellas, sing. The plot of the movie centers around the second point, the Bellas, and their attempts to makeup for their embarrassing showing at the prior year’s championship. Beca gets recruited to be part of the Bellas and comedy ensues.

While singing for the Bellas, Beca has lots of great ideas for how the Bellas could be better, but because of the dictator-like leadership style of the person in charge of the group. Towards the end of the movie *spoiler alert* the leader of the group and Beca have a reconciling of sorts and Beca is able to infuse the group with her ideas. Naturally, this allows the group to impress at the championship and finish in first place.

There’s nothing immediately out of the ordinary about this plot, but if you look closely, you’ll see that there’s a bit of disruptive innovation happening. That is, Beca, with her off-the-wall ideas and new style, brings a dash of flavor to the group’s old ways of doing things. As a result, the group has a wowing performance because no one had ever heard those kinds of sounds mixed together or seen someone perform in that way (in a cappella). The key part of that last sentence is — in a cappella. Sure, people have been mixing music for quite some time in other areas, but no one had seen it before (at least in this movie) done in a cappella.

So, why is this important? Because some of the best solutions to problems usually don’t come from within the field. There usually has to be some kind of cross-disciplinary flavor to the solution. Disruptive innovation is everywhere today. Your idea may just be a million-dollar one… but you could be applying it in the wrong field.