To cap off a long, strange day, my husband and I took the kids out last night to see Pitch Perfect 3. The first Pitch Perfect is a firm favorite in our household, the kind of movie we end up watching when we can’t agree on what to watch. We’d been waiting til we all had a night to see the latest one together, so we made a night of it and went out for some dinner, too. I even had a Coke. The sugary kind. This was a big night, people! So we were all in high spirits and I entered the theater excited to see some good music and have a good time.
I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece, but I also wasn’t expecting to be blasted in the face with ninety minutes of blatant war propaganda from the United States Department of Defense.
Documents Expose How Hollywood Promotes War On Behalf Of The Pentagon, CIA, & NSA "The documents reveal for the first time the vast scale of US government control in Hollywood, including the ability to…"
Before I go on I should mention that a group called Insurge Intelligence published a report a few months back on thousands of military and intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act which showed unbelievably extensive involvement of US defense and intelligence agencies in the production of popular Hollywood movies and TV shows. Just from the information this group was able to gain access to, the scripts and development of over 800 films and 1,000 television titles were found to have been influenced by the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA to advance the interests of the US war machine. We’re talking about big, high profile titles you’ve definitely heard of, from Transformers to Meet the Parents.
So it’s an established fact that these depraved agencies of destruction and domination are balls-deep in Hollywood production. You can understand my discomfort, then, as it became evident that the movie I’d sat down to watch with my family was set on US military bases for no reason whatsoever. There was nothing about the plot of Pitch Perfect 3 that required this; any music tour of any kind would have worked just as well. The antagonist had nothing to do with the military, the protagonists were a civilian a capella singing group, and the general conflicts and resolutions of the film were entirely uninvolved with anything related to the armed forces of any nation.
Indeed, the film looks like it was initially written to have taken place in a civilian setting, then after many rewrites and the involvement of God knows what agencies managed to force itself onto US military bases. As Insurge Intelligence noted in its report, once that happens the war machine is granted what amounts to total creative control of the film’s production, up to and including the ability to cancel production altogether by withdrawing support.
Sure enough, retired Army lieutenant colonel Thomas Lesnieski, who was involved with the production of the film, says that in order to “make sure that the way the military is portrayed is done right,” changes were made to the script of Pitch Perfect 3 after the film enlisted “DoD support”.
As far as the film in question is concerned, “the way the military is portrayed” could not have been more propagandistic. The heroines were constantly drooling over the handsome, sexy servicemen, there was nonstop saluting, flag-waving and patriotic “thank you for your service” lines, the lead cast did an entire number dressed in camouflage, a lesbian character said she wanted to enlist “now that they let gay people join,” servicemen were portrayed as charming heroes and protectors of women, and life on a military base was portrayed as a fun party where you get to go to awesome concerts and have a great time. You could not possibly pack more glorification of the US war machine into a movie if you tried.
Air Force Captain Meredith Kirchoff, a public affairs officer at Dobbins Air Reserve Base where the film was shot, gushes over the movie for the way it “humanizes” (read: normalizes) the human resources used to power the American war machine while US civilians are deprived of the basic social safety nets accorded to everyone else in every other major country on earth.
The US Department of Defense was given a “special thanks to” line at the tail of the end credits.
Again: there was no discernible reason for this film to be set on military bases. At all. Anyone who gets involved in filmmaking for love of that artistic medium loathes the involvement of any outside influencer putting pressure on them to change their script and produce their movie in a certain way to advance their own agendas, but this film deliberately sought that influence out. From top to bottom, a sequel to a popular movie about an all-female singing group was built to normalize the globe-spanning war machine that is closely approaching a trillion dollar budget and recruit teenage girls into its ranks to be used for slaughter and destruction.
I love Pitch Perfect. It’s honestly one of my favorite movies ever. It’s an effortless romp of a film about the joy of delightfully unique individuals not overcoming those differences but enthusing about them in each other, enjoying them, embracing them and collaborating together to create something beautiful, inspired, healthy and new. It speaks to my heart about what we have to do as a species to create utopia and avoid self-destruction. To take that and twist it into another advertisement for the blood-thirsty, child-killing, empire building war machine was all kinds of heartbreaking to me.
When we came home and the kids were out of earshot my husband and I started angrily fuming about what manipulative, disgusting, art-killing parasites these people are, then remembered we have a podcast now so we hit record before we ran out of rage:
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