The trailer for “Pitch Perfect 3” makes it look and sound like a comedy, which puts me in the unfortunate position of announcing that it is nothing of the kind. It’s a tragedy in four-part harmony.
The latest in a once-appealing series of movies about the joys of female friendship, campus rivalry and vocal percussion, it’s a coarse, ugly, pointlessly action-packed reminder that every modestly sharp and amusing property must eventually be converted, by the commercial logic of Hollywood, into a soul-killing cash grab.
I won’t dwell on the details. The laziness with which this movie has been slapped together can’t really be described; it can only be emulated. Beca (Anna Kendrick), an aspiring mixmaster who’s just quit her unfulfilling record-label job, finds herself thrown back with her old gal pals from the Barden Bellas, a spirited if erratic a cappella group.
Post-college life is rough, and so the Bellas join a United Service Organizations tour to entertain American troops around the world and also to compete with several more seasoned, instrument-wielding bands for the chance to open for DJ Khaled. (The credits note that DJ Khaled played himself, but he couldn’t possibly be this dull in real life.)
The awful, corrosive thing about “Pitch Perfect 3” is that what’s bothering the Bellas — their anxiety that their glory days of fun and fame have passed — becomes the movie’s unintended subtext, and the actors’ as well. Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Hailee Steinfeld, Ester Dean and Hana Mae Lee are back but not exactly better than ever, trapped doing wan variations on past shtick.
In an exclusive clip celebrating the digital release of Pitch Perfect 3, the cast, crew, and Wilson herself share some insight on just how hard the actress worked for the final installment of the franchise.
“I’m doing a lot of running back and forth,” Wilson joked, downplaying the rigorous training she did for the film. “I mean, I have to run at least ten steps in this scene. I’m loving the cardio.”
“In Pitch Perfect 1 or 2, I maybe just like, slapped Bumper,” she continued. “But this time it’s full-on choreographed fight scenes which are very similar to doing the dancing, actually.”The 37-year-old added, “The stunt coordinator, Jennifer, said I was tougher than Tom Cruise. Maybe I’ve got a career as an action woman.”All jokes aside, producer Max Handelman says that having Wilson’s character get physical was all part of the plan.”We were excited about the idea of literally making the Bellas action heroes, especially Fat Amy.”And that they did! In the hilariously entertaining flick, Wilson not only fights off villains, but she completes a 20 foot free-fall jump alongside her co-star, Anna Kendrick.
“It was so much fun,” Wilson revealed during an interview with Seth Meyers last year. “I did my own stunts and I fight off a lot of bad guys in the film when the rest of the Bellas get kidnapped. It was really cool.”
While Wilson isn’t one to gloat about her hours spent in the gym, her co-stars were blown away by the dedication.
“I am so impressed by Rebel’s bravery at all times,” Elizabeth Banks said in the clip. “In this movie, she’s been training and she’s been so brave and just so game to go for it.”
The film’s director, Trish Sie, agrees. “Rebel’s doing tons of stunts. I mean, [she] basically turns into an action star in this movie.”
Sie added, “She’s so physical, she’s really strong and athletic, and she’s just so funny. No matter what she’s doing, she stays in character.”The 8th annual Guild of Music Supervisors Awards was “the Season Kent and Kier Lehman show,” according to GMS president Thomas Golubic, acknowledging the multiple trophy winners at the group’s Thursday night ceremony at the ACE Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
Following a rousing opening number by U.K. rock band Yungblud, Kent took the first award of the evening for best music supervisor for television drama for “13 Reasons Why,” while her husband, Kier Lehman, won best music supervision in a television comedy or musical for “Insecure (Season 2),” and also took top honors in the television limited series or movie category for “Quicksand,” performed by SZA for “Insecure: Episode 208 ‘Hella Perspective’.”
Apple was another multiple winner, picking up best use of music by a brand, and best use of music in a single advertising spot for Peymon Maskan, TBWA/Media Arts Lab spot “Apple Stroll.”
Julianne Jordan and Julia Michels won the big feature film award for “Pitch Perfect 3,” besting work on “Beauty and the Beast,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Coco” and “The Greatest Showman.” among films budgeted at more than $25 million.Somewhat controversially, “Baby Driver” wasn’t nominated due to the lack of a credited “music supervisor” (since director Edgar Wright chose the music). But Trailer Park music mastermind Bobby Gumm picked up the trophy for feature trailers for his work on the project, and was another multiple-honoree, also taking top honors for television promo (with Michael Paquette) for “Stranger Things Season 2.”
Kenny Loggins received the GMS’s first Icon Award and delivered a rousing set that got the crowd bopping, while Becky Mancuso-Winding earned the Legacy Award for a career that spanned decades and included music supervision for soundtracks from “Urban Cowboy” to “Footloose” (which had a little help from Loggins). Mancuso-Winding was presented with her award by longtime friend and composer Hans Zimmer, whose first collaboration was “Backdraft.” Ironically, Zimmer had to make the tough call to abandon his home while his neighbor’s house was ablaze to make the Thursday night show.
“Music supervisors are a very important part of the musical process,” Zimmer told Variety before the show. “As composers, they have our backs.”
This March, the Wells High School Select A Cappella Choir will travel to New York City to participate in Total Vocal, a contemporary a cappella music concert. Under the direction of Bailey Smith, the group of 14 girls will join groups from all around the world to perform seven numbers live at Lincoln Center.
Smith was inspired to apply for the opportunity after the choir traveled to Pennsylvania last year to compete in the Music in the Parks competition, along with other members of the Wells Music Department.
“They did great. They brought home first place and they kind of got the bug,” Smith said. “So over the summer I started researching what else is out there that we could do this year.”
Total Vocal caught her eye because it is hosted and directed by Deke Sharon, often referred to as the father of contemporary a cappella. Sharon is known for producing “The Sing-Off,” and serving as music director and vocal producer for “Pitch Perfect,” “Pitch Perfect 2,” and “Pitch Perfect 3.” Past Total Vocal events have even included surprise performances by movie cast members.“He’s big in our world of a cappella,” said Smith.