Summer Movie Musings: Pitch Perfect 2

pitch2-top I had the pleasure of watching Pitch Perfect 2 last week, the sequel to the awesome smash hit original film from 2012. While this sequel succeeds on many fronts, it stumbles in others making it good movie but not a great one.

We pick up with the Barden Bellas during their senior year. With graduation on the horizon and winning streak behind them (and an unfortunate embarrassment that endangers the Bellas forever), they head to a worldwide a cappella competition to save the group for the future and try to be the first American group to win the global title.

The newest major addition to the cast is Hailee Steinfeld as a new student, Emily, to Barden and a legacy Bella. She melds in well with the established ladies of the group, and provides a future for the franchise if they so choose (they probably will). All the favorite cast members from the original pop up in one way or another. Beca (Anna Kendrick) is the lead of the Bellas now and still gets a majority of the screen time alongside Rebel Wilson's Fat Amy. Another new addition to the Bellas that is one of the low points of the film is Flo (Chrissie Fit) who is a Guatemalan student. Her one-liner jokes fell completely flat for me and even bordered on racist stereotypes. The bits were stupid, low hanging fruit that felt a bit below the rest of the film. I appreciate their attempt to add more diversity to the cast but she added nothing to the story and the rest of the movie would have been better without her unfortunately.

The music is on point, as always. We have all new songs from the Bellas, the Treblemakers, the new foe of the film: Das Sound Machine, as well as others which show up during a fun new a cappella battle and the worldwide competition. While I'm honestly not as huge into the music aspect of it all, it's definitely of a high caliber again in this sequel.

I really appreciated the story beats they hit toward the end of the film especially. With all of the core cast graduating and moving on to their new lives, Steinfeld's Emily finding herself at college, and understanding the value and beauty of a sisterhood like the Barden Bellas, it was an awesome way to capitalize on the deeper meaning that can made from an already simply fun movie. These films have been original, fun, fresh, and great female led movies for a generation of young women that I'm proud exist.

I definitely recommend seeing Pitch Perfect 2 if you can. If not, it will be definitely worth a rental to check out down the line. It's a good time at the movies and it's very worthwhile to support movies like this versus something like Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. That's just my opinion.

Check out my other summer movie review for Avengers: Age of Ultron!

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Streaming Media & The Democratization of Content

streaming-media-concept-video-35638709 I consume my fair share of streaming content. Between Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, Pandora, Songza, Spotify, and YouTube, I get a lot of my entertainment this way and rely on it every day. It's the way of the future with new original content coming out on some of these services as well as them being an important tool for discovering different content that would otherwise go unnoticed. This is why I'm a big supporter of these platforms. They democratize the consumption of content, allowing for more people to enjoy more awesome things whenever they want and however they want. I see that as a pretty positive thing. Unfortunately there are some critics out there and especially with death knells like net neutrality lingering out there which threaten the thriving ecosystem of the Internet, I feel now is as good a time as ever to reinforce the positives of streaming media services.


As I mentioned before, people are now able to enjoy whatever they want, whenever they want. This could mean that I can watch news on the train, silly videos in bed, or listen to podcasts when I work out. This empowers people to be more informed, relaxed, and makes things like commutes or long drives more enjoyable and bearable. I don't see anything wrong with that! Obviously we all can't binge Netflix all the time, but we now can consume quick bits wherever we are so that we stay connected to what is important to us.


With the wide open access of content available currently, it is amazing the incredible diversity of content that is out there. Small, independent music, television, and podcasts can reach a wide audience or even just simply connect with their niche of fans. Whatever the topic or genre of content, there is sure to be an audience for it and there isn't an establishment saying that it doesn't track well with the mainstream. We can all be our weird, fun, uniquely authentic selves and it's okay!


A big part of this that I enjoy is the community I see online around YouTube channels, Spotify playlists, or even niche television shows (like Community, House of Cards, Sleepy Hollow, Orange is the New Black, Arrow/The Flash, or even Scandal) where every piece of new content is an event and is talked about, shared, and remixed, mashed up, or fan art is created inspired by it. It's great to see passionate people come together to connect over their mutual love of something. It can be huge for a lot of us lonely geeks and nerds out there who may feel like we are alone in enjoying whatever we're into. It's important to find others to geek out with!

Streaming media services are here to say, regardless of what people like Taylor Swift say or hopefully whatever comes of the net neutrality decision. Support your favorite independent content, share awesome stuff you find with friends, and keep streaming my friends!

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What I'm Geeking Out About This Week - 08/29/14


Welcome to another episode in my life of geekiness!

I'm still pretty busy this week but this should be the end of it, as the students move in here to Husson University this weekend so next week will be the beginning of classes and some semblance of a more routine flow in my life. I feel bad for not having the brain power or energy to devote to new blog posts but I also wouldn't want to interrupt my usual weekly series so I'm whipping up something quick for you all to let you know I'm thinking of you! Enjoy!

I've expressed my love of coffee a few times before. I think I've also mentioned that Starbucks is my usual weapon of choice, either by my own coffee maker or making a pilgrimage to a store. Especially during chaotic weeks like this past one, getting my signature grande vanilla iced coffee with soy always helps me keep chugging along with energy and enthusiasm!

  • Music

During my late nights in the office and just plugging in during the day to get work done, I've been listening to a lot of music via the cool streaming services, some of which I've talked about before, namely Songza and Spotify. Their respective playlists always connect to whatever mood I'm in and saves me the grunt work of figuring out something to listen to. I've discovered a lot of cool new music through these methods too, which is great! I know I'll keep maximizing this flow when I'm in my office regularly during the academic year.

  • Students

This one is another sort of broad, general one. I've been working with and getting to know my student staff members over the past two weeks. I just have to gush that they're a great batch of folks. I know everyone says that about their students but I would certainly not lie if I wasn't feeling it. I look forward to getting to know them better and work with them to make this a great year! I furthermore am looking forward to students being here on campus. It's been a quiet summer and I always appreciate the pulse and energy of a college campus when it is in full bloom. That's why I'm here after all!

Thanks for stopping by!

What I'm Geeking Out About This Week - 08/01/14

Geek-and-proudHey there!

Welcome to another week in my life of perpetual geek outs. Check out what I've been into lately:

I'm surprised I haven't highlighted Songza here before, but I wanted to give it a shoutout since I have been jamming to various playlists a lot lately due to my new job. I enjoy some soft, easy listening music on in background while I plug into a project. For those who are unaware, Songza is a free music streaming service whose cool, unique feature is having a "concierge" service that serves up music contoured to your current context. Having a lazy Sunday morning? Songza gives you a few different choice playlists for that particular occasion. It is so spot on and awesome that I have been utilizing Songza pretty exclusively as of late. I also discover some great stuff through them too. Definitely give it a try whenever you need something to listen to next.

I just got turned onto this podcast by a friend of mine and I've listened to a few choice episodes from their library so far. I love their casual, fun feel (which is what I always enjoy in podcasts) as well as their classic informative, engaging, NPR sort of vibe. They have a solid slate of episodes so far that should connect with anyone's specific geekdoms, be it space, technology, science, or film. I particularly enjoyed their episode with Richard Linklater about his recent movie, "Boyhood". I'm always about sharing great podcasts with the world so here is one more for you all!

The other day, I had two very diverse things I wanted to get; a new business card holder for my desk and an anniversary gift for my partner. I was able to get these two things in original, awesome forms that I know I couldn't have found anywhere else. I don't explore Etsy nearly enough for stuff and this experience furthered my commitment to change that. Etsy is great since it is a storefront for anyone to post up a shop with their handcrafted goods to sell online. There is everything from jewelry to clothing, trinkets to art. I highly recommend it, especially for the next time you are having difficulty find a gift for someone. You'll find something really cool on Etsy, I guarantee it!

Thanks for stopping by!

Why I Love Scott Pilgrim, The Books

scott_pilgrim_box_set_poster_by_whoisrico-d2zvrh6Last week I shared my love of the Scott Pilgrim movie, this week I want to give a shoutout to to the great books that inspired that great movie. The story, split into six books, covers Scott's trials with Ramona's seven evil exes and his journey toward finally growing up and accepting the failures of his life. The book is drawn in a great "manga" sort of style and the dialogue is great. It is very referential to all the sorts of things I know and love and it has that sort of geeky augmented reality that those of us that play video games for far too long can easily relate to.

The Scott Pilgrim movie, when compared to the books is a sort of loosely adapted cliff notes version of the books, glossing over some of the nuances and tightening the story for what makes for an awesome film that has a great pace and still captures the spirit of the books. I enjoy both in their own ways, and was inspired to read the books after watching the movie. It gave a more fleshed out world to dive into and allowed for all the characters to be featured more and the whole experience was fun, readable, and engaging read.

I have this awesome box set that I got as a gift a few years ago that comes with a cool poster too (pictured above). For anyone who loved the movie or just loves great comics, check out these great books, which are now also being re-released in full color!

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What I'm Geeking Out About This Week - 07/18/14

Geek-and-proudHey there!

Hope all is well with you! Here's what I'm geeking out about lately:

I just started watching this acclaimed HBO series since it is now all streaming on Amazon Prime (click above). The series is a cop drama based in Baltimore and I've heard about how great it is for years so I'm really happy I am able to dig into it now and see what the hype is all about. I will say, so far, that the characters on the show are portrayed really well and for it having debuted in 2002, I think this show was really ahead of its time and modern "golden age" of television we've been experiencing of late.

A friend of mine on Twitter recommended this podcast to me, and as an avid podcast listener, I wanted to check it out since I knew one of the hosts, Jason SurfrApp, from another podcast episode I recently listened to and enjoyed. The premise of this is that it is a show for those of us that don't have set offices and/or office hours, create things, and are essentially just creatively minded professionals. The show is casual, fun, engaging, and informative so it is the perfect style for me. Hopefully you enjoy it if you're into it and check it out, They just started posting episodes and have a few on some great topics so I definitely highly recommend it.

I worked with a member of this new indie alternative folk band when I was back in New Jersey at Rutgers. I am a fan of their unique sound and support my friend so I wanted to give them a shout-out here as they work to put their work out into the world. Here is a quick link to all their music on Soundcloud. They're all over social media so you can connect and follow them there and if you're in the greater New Jersey area, they're playing live shows around there. I wish them the very best of luck!

Thanks for stopping by as always! Have a great weekend.