If you know me, you know that I perpetually quote Pitch Perfect — Fat Amy, specifically. I loved Pitch Perfect the first five times I saw it. But by the sixth time, I started to get a little upset. The movie focuses on a battle between acapella groups for supreme reign on campus. Although this may seem a slight variation from the classic frat-star/sorority lifestyle portrayed in so many other movies about college, it is still chock-full of big university references — it was filmed at LSU, and features countless cliques, groups, clubs, and divisions. When Anna Kendrick gets into a squabble with her crush and best friend, she doesn’t see him fifteen times a day in the dining hall, the Hub, class, TNC and the library, making it incredibly aca-awkward at any given time.
Where is my movie about small schools? Why has no movie franchise capitalized on the awkwardness of a place with close quarters like CMC, a place with awkward run-ins, overlapping friend groups, and the radius of a bicycle wheel? We are like MTV’s The Real World, just a tiny bit bigger.
The Real World is MTV’s longest running show for a reason. If you want drama, you put a small number of hormone-driven, diverse strangers in a condensed area and give them catalysts like, I don’t know, an abundance of alcohol and the prospect of internships and jobs on the horizon. Add in the confusing “we’re all one campus but we’re not” 5C mentality and you have peoples’ interest. Then have Jim Nauls make a cameo – the audience is sold.
It isn’t just Pitch Perfect. Animal House probably has more extras than we have students at our school. The characters are constantly meeting brand spanking new people. People show up to parties at their house that they may not even know?! We need a movie where everyone knows everyone at a party. Imagine the possibilities:
You have the people that were best friends freshman year and haven’t spoken since, the people who have taken seven classes together and never actually exchanged names, but always say hello, the exes who aren’t quite sure how to interact, the best friends, and the teammates. As a filmmaker, you wouldn’t have to introduce the characters to one another, they would already have plenty to talk about, and could delve right into the hard stuff; right into the gossip, the drama, and the good, hard questions.
Take Legally Blonde as another example. I’m tired of sororities and fraternities getting all the love. When Elle Woods goes to law school, the sorority celebrates. What about a college where everyone is driven, where everyone is fighting tooth-and-nail for a chance to impress this recruiter and that alumnus, and throwing Toga parties rivaling John Belushi’s in Animal House? (Okay, not quite, but you get my drift.)
The CMC lifestyle is perfect for a movie or a reality TV show, so CMC movie-makers, I present the challenge to you. I understand the benefits of a scene in a fraternity house or a huge rivalry football game, but imagine if the football teams ate dinner in the same dining hall before their games. The Ath could double as a frat house, anyway. And have you been to Pirate Party? I can see it now… A single closing shot of a dove flying slowly over champagne showers, off into the distance so majestically accompanied by “Young, Wild and Free,” or “Can’t Hold Us,” or if we truly dare, “Party in the USA.”